Is metal still counterculture?

This question has headlined a handful of articles I’ve read over the past year or so, and it’s a good one. You’d have to be living under a rock to have not noticed the mainstream’s appropriation of metal culture in recent years. Vogue magazine even wrote an article in March of last year on, ‘The Rise of Metal Iconography in Fashion’, detailing the use of metal logos and fonts by some of the world’s biggest brands, designers, and celebrities.  

The reason this is a good question is that it has a subjective answer. It comes down to opinion, an opinion most likely formed because of the sub-genres within metal that you choose to listen to. So, is metal still counterculture? If you’re asking me – which in this case you are – the answer has and always will be, “yes”. You see, when I want to listen to “heavy” music, I most often choose to listen to extreme and/or underground metal. Your deaths, blacks, dooms, and grinds. You know, the type of metal that’ll never be anything but counterculture.

Which brings me to this column, and what you as a reader can expect from it on a weekly basis. I love extreme and/or underground metal for the same reasons the vast majority of people don’t: it’s violent, ugly, beautiful, and challenging like all good art should be. It also exists because it must. It’s cathartic expression performed out of need and passion, and it does not get the coverage it deserves from the places and people who most have the ability to influence.

So, to cut a long story short, this column exists because I love something and want to share it with you. Every week I’ll be bringing you the best in extreme/underground metal, whether that be new release tracks, album highlights, or in-depth features on a specific artist or band. Next week, I’ll be keeping it simple, and sharing with you three of 2017’s best extreme metal albums so far.

Until next time, enjoy this track from San Francisco newcomers, Succumb, whose self-titled debut album is my death metal pick of the year so far; but more on that next week. Stay tuned!