Since President Donald Trump stepped into office, musicians have shared their fears, launched anti-Trump songs, protested, and taken full advantage of the first amendment. We even have a collection of Donald Trump tweets as an emo song within a month of him being in office. Political tension is currently dividing America causing several protest groups fighting in several directions.
It’t not just politics that we’re divided about, however. Anti-fascist organizations (Antifa) have been campaigning against black metal, particularly any that might have any connection to NSBM. Last year, they successfully campaigned to remove Peste Noire from Canada’s Blastfest, and allegedly threatened those attending the festival. They’re struck again, as on Friday (17) Oakland, CA’s Metro Operahouse decided to cancel the scheduled Marduk show for tonight (18) due to everyone’s safety. This cancellation is disappointing especially since many anticipated this tour after Marduk pulled out of their tour last fall due to visa issues.
Oakland Metro Operahouse made the following comment on their Facebook page:
“In the last week we have read interview after interview with Marduk spanning over the last 20 years and found no statements indicating the band are white supremacists, nationalists, or anti-immigrant. That being said, we don’t want to subject our security staff, venue staff or the public to violence. Our staff is almost exclusively POC and/or LBGTQ and they have all expressed the desire to work, but as we are getting threats, we just can’t risk it. So, in the interest of safety, and because the Oakland Police Department would have insisted anyway, we have canceled the Marduk performance on Feb 18.
The Oakland Police Department has decided in the interest of public safety that the Marduk show on Saturday, February 18 at the Oakland Metro Operahouse be cancelled. Refunds at point of purchase. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
They attached a photo from the police:
A few days prior to the announcement an organization called Anti-Fascist Action Bay Area made the following accusations about Marduk:
“Heads up: The Oakland Metro Operahouse has scheduled to host Marduk, a black metal band with known white supremacist ties from Sweden that profits off of glorifying Nazi imagery and songs about Nazi SS officers and anti-semitism, on Saturday, February 18th.
Marduk has just kicked off a tour in the U.S. called Frontschwein North America 2017 tour. ‘Frontschwein’ is the name of their latest album which is entirely about the Third Reich. The term ‘Frontschwein’ (meaning Frontline Pig) refers to the nickname given to Nazi field marshal Walther Model because he preferred to lead from the front and was known for his abuse and crudity.
One of Marduk’s album is called ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ (referring to the Nazi armored tank division in WWII). Another Marduk album, ‘Warschau’ (the site of a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust), uses photos of Nazi tanks rolling through the rubble of Poland as cover and booklet artwork. The album sleeve of ‘Iron Dawn’ and album cover of ‘Here’s No Peace’ also show pictures of Nazi tanks. The title on the cover of “Here’s No Peace’ is arranged in such fashion as to resemble an honorific cuff band, a type of distinction badge which the German Wehrmacht allowed individuals who were serving (or had served) in some elite units (Grossdeutschland division, named Waffen-SS divisions) or who took part of renowned campaigns to wear (North African campaign, assault on Crete).
Marduk’s entire discography is full of songs like “The Hangman of Prague”, “Night of the Long Knives”, “Deathmarch”, “To the Death’s Head True”…etc. The song “The Hangman of Prague” is about Reinhard Heydrich, a high-ranking SS officer and Holocaust architect (“The Hangman of Prague” was a moniker of Reinhard Heydrich – second in command of the SS – in his capacity as the de-facto Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia). They also have a song called “The Blonde Beast” which is also a reference to Reinhard Heydrich, the infamous Hangman of Prague. The term “Blond Beast” is often implied as referring to the Aryan Race stemming from the intentional misreading of Nietzsche instantiated by the Nazis. Their song “Afrika” is about a high-ranking Nazi general Erwin Rommel aka “the Desert Fox” who was in charge of the Afrika Korps.
Morgan Steinmeyer, the guitarist and founder of Marduk, who is a former housemate of Varg Vikernes (the white supremacist murderer and hate crime convict behind Burzum), had this to say about Vikernes having been convicted of hate speech against Jews and Muslims in France in 2014: “It’s strange that it’s illegal to dislike a religion. I find it really strange that you can’t have certain views.” http://www.metalblast.net/…/under-a-black-sun-an-interview-… (Vikernes originally drew the attention of French authorities after receiving the manifesto of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian man who killed 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage in 2011. Vikernes wrote a blog post about how he agreed with much of Breivik’s views, but suspected that the mass murderer was actually working on behalf of a vast Jewish conspiracy. Soon after that, Vikernes’ wife Marie Cachet purchased four rifles, which led the police to arrest the couple as a pre-emptive measure before they could carry out any attacks.)
It’s worth mentioning that Incantation, another band on the bill as part of this tour, has a previous association with white supremacists. Incantation previously featured a neo-Nazi vocalist Craig Pillard whose projects include Sturmführer (a play on the word “obersturmführer,” a military rank in the Nazi party) who releases their albums on Elegy Records, a National Socialist Black Metal record label based in Clifton, New Jersey that was started by two former members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, Robert DiSienna and Greg Pillard. One of Craig Pillard’s bands Disma (also based out of Clifton, New Jersey), has been banned from Maryland Deathfest, California Deathfest, Netherlands Deathfest, and Chaos in Tejas fest for Pillard’s neo-Nazi, anti-semitic associations.
The information detailed above was originally sent to the Oakland Metro Operahouse’s contact email address back on January 3rd, 2017 but no response of any kind has been received. The promoter of the show, Numbskull Productions, has also been contacted via email but no response has been received either as of this writing. Local activists have since been reaching out and communicating directly with members of Oakland Metro without getting any real answers.
In these times of “alt-right” white supremacists attacking artist spaces in Oakland and elsewhere following the tragic Ghostship fire, and Breitbart’s neo-Nazi troll Milo Yiannopoulos having recently attempted to kick off his campaign against sanctuary campuses at UC Berkeley targeting undocumented and trans students with the blessing of the Trump regime before being met with resistance, it would be a huge insult for all affected communities to allow a “crypto”-Nazi band like Marduk with known white supremacist ties to come to town and profit off of their glorification of Nazis. We ask everyone at this time to demand Oakland Metro to cancel the show and in the event that the venue refuses, come together as a community to shut it down.”
It wasn’t too long ago when an Antifa member was seen at a Taake show spraying pepper spray into the crowd out of protesting. Secondly, this isn’t the first time Antifa removed a band claiming anti-semitic lyrics when in 2015 Disma was removed from California Deathfest. Ironically, Mayhem, one of the most controversial black bands, performed their pivotal debut album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas a week earlier at the Social Hall in San Francisco, just over 10 miles away from the Metro Operahouse.
European bands have a long history referencing history that traces back generations, especially since it’s a recurring issue. Many bands, artists, and films are infatuated with current issues and history, resulting in artistic expression. Using shocking lyrics can only help listeners making sure history doesn’t repeat itself. Writing about Nazis doesn’t make a band Nazis, and if so, then Slayer and Motorhead are as wrong as Marduk is.
If there’s anything defensable about Oakland’s Metro Operahouse cancelling the show, it’s that the riot at Berkeley by protesters might have had them on edge, and if you’re not actually examining the facts, a far alt-right guy like Milo Yiannopoulous and a neo-Nazi band (which Marduk aren’t) don’t look that far removed from each other. At any rate, there’s quite a conversation going on on the Bay Area Antifa page, and most of it is pro-Marduk and anti-antifa.
Metalblast thoroughly examined this issue, depicting Antifa’s accusations, sharing their research. It’s an in-depth piece, you can view the blog post here or see the video below.
Secondly, late last month, Metalblast mentioned how Antifa nearly ended a festival.