The footage in the above video shows a Canadian faction of Antifa (Anti-Facists) shutting down a Graveland concert at a local club in Montreal. This incident occurred just over a month ago in tandem with the creation of the Facebook page entitled “Antifa Against Black Metal”, and has been circulating in the metal underground through social media ever since. It’s safe to assume most people reading this have heard something about it. Many diehards in the metal underground began voicing their opinions. Disdain for Antifa has run rampant in the metal scene amongst both liberal and conservative leaning metal enthusiasts. It’s not difficult to see why.
Still, no one within the black metal underground has attempted to explain to Antifa how laughably inaccurate they are in their assumptions about the genre. People have only dismissed their arguments or resorted to name-calling. Bands like Imprecation have waged war against Antifa, which is positive, but still have made no attempt to explain to these anarcho-fanatics why they’re wrong. It’s not as if I think explaining black metal to Antifa will change their minds about black metal, as SJW’s are allergic to reason and hate the inconvenient truth, but it’s worth it if only to highlight the futility of their efforts.
First of all, a good majority of the bands Antifa is rallying against aren’t even racist or nationalist. The list of banned bands is exhaustive and contains some of my favorite artists. Be prepared to start scrolling; here is a link to their list of racist bands to avoid.
Arkona? Darkthrone? Marduk, Mork Gryning, Kroda, Naglefar, Dissection, Sargeist??? These bands have their differences but one thing they have in common is that none of them even remotely promote racism. Celebrating Russian or Scandinavian culture isn’t any more racist than celebrating African culture. Just being Western European doesn’t make you a racist and this kind of rhetoric needs to stop. Bands like Nokturnal Mortum and perhaps Temnozor do promote slightly nationalistic ideology but the majority of their lyrics talk about European history and myth.
While a decent majority of the bands on this ridiculous list do not promote racism, there are a few bands on the list that are known to be NSBM. Band’s like Goatmoon, Hate Forest, Satanic Warmaster, Dub Buk, and M8L8TH profess to have white nationalist beliefs. Obviously, Varg Vikernes is almost laughably racist. But is that really even a problem?
I explained in an earlier post that black metal is outsider art. What does that mean? Part of being an outsider is not conforming and even being deliberately offensive. More extreme black metal musicians seek to embody all things reprehensible. In the early second wave, while racist propaganda was floating around in underground circles, identifying with Satanic doctrine or death sufficed. Waging war on Christianity, the ideology that desecrated their once proud pagan lands, was viewed as extreme and black metal musicians burned churches and stuff.
Later, as the Western world grew more and more secular, and more and more politically correct, being a religious heretic was no longer extreme. Racism and homophobia are looked upon with more disdain than Satanism or paganism. It kind of makes me wonder if many of the bands who claim to be NSBM actually belive what they are espousing or they simply reached the conclusion that there’s no better way to spread hate than to wear a swastika.
When you break it down, black metal is about hate. I know, hate is bad, but remember, without darkness you couldn’t see anything. Penny Rimbaud from Crass said that in his book Shibboleth. Of course, some black metal musicians are racist. They are not the kind of racists anyone needs to worry about, however. The thing with metal in general, is that the music pretty much always comes first. Aside from extreme cases, like Varg Vikernes (who is often mocked, I might add), most metal musicians are far removed from politics. They make fun of protesters, think all politicians are crooks, don’t vote, and lead relatively private lives. Their shows are about the music. One thing you’ll never see at an NSBM show is someone being barred from attending based on their skin color. In this way, metal is very different from punk. Not many black metal musicians are trying to shake up the system. They’re just normal dudes with full-time jobs, musical instruments, and sketchy beliefs. There are no plans being made to start a race war. Black metal musicians enjoy solitude too much to even get involved in such things. And there are no riots breaking out at NSBM shows.
So if there haven’t been any indents of hate crimes or rioting breaking out at black metal shows, what are Antifa rallying against? Thought.
Sure racism is gross but when you start regulating thought and demanding legislation be put into place that limits free expression, you tread on dangerous, Orwellian ground. Simply boycotting racist bands is fine and your right, but shutting down events that pose no serious threat is not. See the distinction there? It’s also not the way to change anyone’s mind about racism. It only further exacerbates it. If you want to know how to break through to a racist, watch American History X. Derek changed his mind about national socialism because of an eye-opening experience with an African-American man. People only change their mind about a certain “out group” when they have a positive experience with a person of that group.
But these bands are perpetuating racism, right? Actually no. Given the amount of Hispanic metalheads who love black metal and often share videos of said racist bands on social media, I’d say these artists’ lyrical content is of little importance to most black metallers. Metalheads are known to be free thinkers, meaning we aren’t impressionable. Also, black metal is not seeking any sort of mainstream success. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Black metal actually aims at scaring off the weak minded. Because of this, they wouldn’t even have the means to start any sort of movement. So, in the end, is this really what you want to focus on, Antifa? At a certain point you have to pick your battles. This is a stupid one.