Losing your trve hesher status isn’t an easy thing to talk about. When your metal cred is suddenly stripped from you, it's hard to imagine life without it. And it could happen to anyone at any time. You might hear a song you like over the PA between sets at a concert, only to discover it was ‘Rise’ by Disturbed. Or find yourself defending Creed because Mark Tremonti is a “riff beast”. Or–just maybe–you will hear the latest from UK djent-rappers Hacktivist and think, “I should hate this...and yet I don’t.” To guide you through the complex emotions you may feel while listening to Hacktivist’s latest album, we present The Seven Stages of Grief for Trve Heshers Hearing Hyperdialect For the First Time:
Upon hearing Hacktivist, it’s normal to feel a sense of disbelief and denial. You may find yourself saying things like, “this is just another annoying djent-core band,” and “even if I did like rap, these rhymes aren’t that dope”, and “didn’t we learn everything we needed to know about rap metal from Limp Bizkit and Machine Head?”
You may find listening to Hacktivist unbearable and feel like you are letting other heshers down by even attempting to make sense of it. Thoughts like, “Djent bands that aren’t Meshuggah or Animals as Leaders can piss off”, “maybe if I’d listened to Defenders of the Faith harder and louder, I wouldn't have a void in my life that needed to be filled by Hacktivist”, and “how can I look myself in the mirror knowing that the chorus to ‘Lifeform’ just gave me Gojira-level chills?”
After getting the chorus to ‘Armoured Core’ stuck in your head, you may lash out, telling Satan you’ll don one of those black robes with the pointy hoods and ritually sacrifice a goat, if he’ll just compel you to stop listening to Hacktivist. You may attempt to strike deals with the devil, promising to only listen to the dopest tracks on Hyperdialect, like ‘Anti Emcees’, ‘Hyperdialect’, and the aforementioned ‘Armoured Core’, while straight-up dissing the rest of the album.
At this stage, you are starting to accept that you actually do like most of Hyperdialect, but you may be struggling to cope with the loss of trve-ness that comes with that realization. You should expect to experience dark thoughts like “I’m in no position to tell anyone their favorite metal band is false if this is the kind of metal I enjoy”, or “what was the point of painstakingly stitching my battle vest with dozens of obscure 80’s thrash metal patches, only to end up loving a djent-grime band in 2021?” This time of reflection is a normal and necessary stage of grief. Let it wash over you while krumping to ‘Dogs of War’.
Finally, the fog of pain and depression has lifted and you’re beginning to see how your love of Hacktivist can fit into your life as a metalhead. You’re remembering how tired you were of the endless sea of grindcrust and funeral doom the metal zines were pushing on you. You were craving something different, and it’s hard to deny just how refreshing and effective Hactivist’s mashup of grime, djent, and dubstep is. Songs like ‘Luminosity’ that were initially so confusing, suddenly make total sense, and you find yourself popping and locking to ‘Turning The Tables’ when no one is looking.
This is a time when you can begin to move past the shame and guilt that held you back in the earlier stages. You can evaluate the album on its own terms, seeing its strengths and weaknesses. You can say with a clear mind that you wish Hacktivist leaned into their grime influences just a little bit more. That you actually find their dalliances with groove and deathcore less interesting than their use of downtuned djent riffs as the twitchy, low-end foundation for their sick bars. You can also imagine that Hyperdialect would be stronger if it ended on ‘Ultima Dies’, as the last three tracks don’t offer much that wasn’t done better on the album’s first half.
While you may never truly “get over” the loss of your trve hesher status, it is now possible to see how much of your life remains open to you, especially with an exciting young band like Hacktivist thumping on your soundsystem. You look forward to hearing more music from them, and when any haters get you down, you get in your car and blast ‘Armoured Core’ as loud as you can until you're ready to take on the world again.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to experience grief. You may jump straight to stage 7, only to find yourself stuck in stage 4 weeks later. Perhaps hearing Hyperdialect won’t be traumatic for you at all, but only because you never really confronted the metal cred you lost years ago when you fell in love with Babymetal. Whatever the case may be, help is available from other former card-carrying heshers in the comments section at Firesideometer A.D on Facebook and Instagram.