The Rising Tide – Fascism in Extreme Music – Conquest of Dread

The Rising Tide – Fascism in Extreme Music – Conquest of Dread


[Music] [Music] [Music] [Music] nobody thinks the Nazis can rule well you better believe it, I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t there was a *CENSORED* that tried to stop the Nazi wave he ain’t around no more KEEP TALKIN’ WHITE TRASH! Kia ora whānau and welcome to Conquest of Dread my new series where I analyze the things that cause me existential dread and hopefully provide myself and you the viewer with some means to overcome that dread. Now this is a video I’ve been planning on making for quite a while now, not only because it’s something that I’ve come up against numerous times but also because when I have looked for videos about fascism in heavy music before it’s generally just apologetics or in the case of NSBM videos that seem to just straight-up endorse it or attempt to downplay the actual fascist elements of the music, the two main questions I want to attempt to answer with this video are one how do you identify and avoid these bands through their aesthetics and two what can we do to support the groups opposing them most of the time when people show up to a gig openly flaunting their shitty ideology they get removed from the venue one way or another but these days Nazis aren’t always wearing their swastikas on their sleeves and it can be hard to tell if someone is legitimately a racist or just bought a gnarly looking shirt from a band whose logo nobody can read anyway so to an outsider it can be extremely hard to tell which is why ANTIFA get a lot of pushback from the extreme music community because even though they rightly shut down many fascist gigs and venues there have been incidents of mistaken identity and innocent bands getting caught in the crossfire now a lot of this could be avoided if bands would just outright condemn Nazism and fascism, and many bands like Mysitifier and Unleashed have come out over the years to make definitive anti-Nazi statements but many bands refuse to confront these accusations head on claiming to be apolitical or just avoiding the question whatsoever, which in itself could be viewed as a political act [Music] it’s pretty ridiculous really, like if you don’t want to be called a racist maybe don’t make Nazi salutes at your concerts or hell, I don’t know maybe don’t say in an interview that black metal is for white people and that you’d like to slit the throats of all black people in the world! the wild thing is that it would be easy for these bands to come out and say “hey look we said some bad stuff when we were kids but we were wrong and now we denounce all forms of fascism etc etc” but instead they prefer to remain silent so even if they do disagree with that stuff now unless they come out and tell us otherwise what are we supposed to think? Now most of these attitudes are extremely uncommon in most genres but others are particularly rife with bullshit, like in black metal it’s been going on for so long that even the people that don’t consider themselves racist still just think of it like it’s an edgy joke! “nice stuff should get some infos about that band… what they’re jews!? goodbye! what they’re black?! goodbye!” time and time again artists get caught spreading regressive, harmful ideas and time and time again they’re given a free pass because it’s easier for people to separate the art from the artist then admit that guys like Phil Anselmo and Keith Warslut are massive shitlords. Now that doesn’t mean that you have to throw all your old Pantera records on a bonfire but I definitely think it should influence who you choose to give money to and support going forward. Personally if I know an artist has said some terrible stuff I have a hard time enjoying their work, but I also know that when people experience any kind of art they attach their own meaning to it. For example I have Maori friends that have told me songs like Pantera’s walk help them hold their head up high when faced with racism in their own lives and they felt that it empowered them to fight back against it but they also support Phil Anselmo shows being cancelled in New Zealand because of his numerous racist outbursts. So why is it that these outsider communities are so prone to fascist infiltration? People have speculated in the past that it is something to do with the loud aggressive nature of the music, which to the average daytime talk-show viewer probably sounds about right but I think the real issue has less to do with the sound of the music and more to do with the social aspects surrounding these scenes. [Music] White supremacists have always preyed upon outsider subcultures for recruits and with so many bands using lyrical themes of alienation, justice for perceived wrongs and the rejection of the status quo it’s easy to see why heavy music has been an ample feeding ground for those looking to exploit vulnerable young people. Fascism in heavy music goes back decades, debuted via groups like England’s Skrewdriver and Poland’s Lord of Evil, despite their regressive politics some of these acts were actually considered quite influential musically so a lot of young kids who grew up in these scenes went on to form their own bands and even if they never bought into the racist rhetoric some of these groups still occupy a soft spot for a lot of people, making them that much harder to dethrone. Now it’s easy to focus our attention on the obvious targets the douchebags with Nazi imagery stitched onto their army surplus jackets or the anonymous Twitter accounts with fascist dictators as their display pictures but these people don’t exist in a vacuum, upstream from them we have the middle managers of fascist movements, the seemingly educated and charismatic local leaders who invest time and resources on introducing these ideas through the production of media and the organization of events and actions, these middle managers attach themselves not only to musical scenes but have begun grassroots movements in the worlds of weightlifting and combat sports, scenes that also already have a significant crossover with extreme music. One of the core tactics of these recruiters is to initiate a dialogue with alienated individuals and suck them in with all this talk of fulfilling an unrealized potential, maybe through the realization of personal goals or maybe through revenge against an unjust system. Now personal development is a healthy thing and of course the world is full of unfair systems but instead of turning these new recruits onto real issues, they sow disinformation and blame society’s ills not on the broken framework of capitalism, but instead they scapegoat immigrants, indigenous people, the queer community or the nebulous specter of “Cultural Marxism” and the “International Jewry” on top of this, these groups are able to provide people that feel like outsiders with a feeling of camaraderie and community which by itself would not be a negative thing and it’s what generally attracts people to these subcultures in the first place but this camaraderie is based around the idea that their shared white ancestry is what connects them as opposed to shared musical interests, now don’t get me wrong you can totally get together with a cultural group to celebrate your shared heritage, which is something you see everywhere there are large immigrant populations, but you can be super proud of your ancestry without having to shit on all the others. More recently there has also been an influx of fascist groups who idealize a form of modern masculinity based on what they believed was practiced by their ancient white ancestors, often misappropriating nordic imagery and modeling themselves after Viking heroes, despite the fact that it’s probably more likely they’re descended from the English villages that Viking raiders were notorious for preying upon and even if they are part Scandinavian not everybody from that region is descended from Vikings. These particular groups have thrived recently by piggybacking on the success of TV shows like Vikings and the Last Kingdom with white nationalist groups tailoring their promotional materials to match the aesthetic of the show these guys are even cutting the hair into Viking styles and braiding their beards, now this isn’t to say that every dude with an undercut and a beard as a fascist some people are just legitimately psyched on that look which is fine, the ideal goal would be to untangle the fascist rhetoric from Viking imagery so that Scandinavian people can go back to being proud of their heritage and celebrate it without worrying about Nazis showing up to their axe throwing parties These groups flood social media with photos of them in the forest conducting self-improvement rituals of weightlifting and combat training and despite having strict rules about no photos or videos of these events with group leaders even banning talking about group matters online, it only takes seconds of searching under #Viking to find people also tagging groups like Wolves of Vinland, a white nationalist American group and Norway’s own NRM the Nordic Resistance Movement. Despite their claims these groups don’t actually care about Scandinavian history or ancestry welcoming in anyone with white skin as if a white European culture is or was monolithic in nature as opposed to thousands of separate ethnic groups, each with their own distinct history and traditions. In fact many of these groups actually operate under extremely anti-viking ideologies opposed to the egalitarian social structures of the real ancient Scandinavians who enjoyed cultural and economic exchange with groups from not just other nearby civilizations but were even visited by Muslim traders and scribes from the Middle East whom they treated much kinder than they did some of their white neighbors. Which is why it’s such a surprise to see modern groups particularly in NSBM, the National Socialist Black Metal movement who have thrown in their lot with Christian conservative movements to specifically target Islam, having bought into the violent anti-immigration propaganda peddled by reactionary media outlets, these same groups have even started spreading the work of thoroughly debunked race realist figures like Stefan Molyneux, Lauren Southern and conservative self-help guru Jordan Peterson. However, white supremacy isn’t the only a regressive idea these groups hold, many being exceptionally homophobic and transphobic, which they deem as symptoms of Western degeneracy instead of recognizing these biases are internalized from the conservative religious movements of relatively recent history, which is kind of funny considering many of these bands rally under the famous image of Éliphas Lévi’s Baphomet as some kind of satanic war banner, as if she’s not the original non-binary big-dicked goat queen we all know and love! Now there are many ways to identify white supremacist bands outside of their lyrical content but as an outsider it can sometimes be hard to tell for instance let’s look at the cover of this Bolt Thrower record, you might see the artwork depicting Crusaders entering Constantinople or even take note of the iron cross like design around a logo and think perhaps they might have some national socialist leanings? But you’d be completely wrong not only are Bolt Thrower completely against fascism they are well known for an incident where their vocalist Karl Willets put his own body on the line to protect a young black fan from Nazi skinheads at a concert. Then on the other side you have an album cover like this by Ohtar for the album “Human Fuel of Death” which I’ve actually had to censor for YouTube, but it’s easily found online. Here we see a bulldozer shoveling a pile of human corpses, which as horrific as it is could actually be a pretty standard death metal album cover, I mean you’ve probably seen worse on a Cannibal Corpse poster at a record store, except this isn’t from a horror movie this photo is real and was taken at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp the infamous camp where Anne Frank and her sister Margot were killed. Analyzing the logo we can also see an Iron Cross motif again, yet this one is extended to also look like an inverted crucifix, again this is a common motif and not enough to make a judgment call on by itself, but in the center of the cross we see a strange symbol that looks like some kind of Viking rune, so let’s examine that upon closer inspection we can see that the symbol is a variation of the elder futhark are known as “Odal” this particular variation is extremely popular with neo-nazis because of its use in world war 2 as the symbol of the seventh SS volunteer mountain division a special group comprised solely of ethnic German volunteers who fought against the Serbian communist resistance forces. Since then numerous other neo-nazi groups have adopted it as a stand-in for the swastika, especially in situations where using a big old swasi might show their hand. Now that’s not to say that a few decades of misuse can invalidate legitimate cultural uses of the Odal rune, it is an actual rune, canceling it entirely would be akin to cancelling certain letters of the alphabet and there are still many active pagan and Norwegian cultural groups that use the Odal rune without connection to Nazism, which is why it’s important to understand the visual language of these groups so that you can effectively organize against them all of these symbols alone to an outsider could just seem like Generic heavy metal bullshit, but when you learn to connect the dots a very different picture emerges. Other common dog whistles include the ever-popular number 88, seen here replacing the O’s in the name of Russian National Socialist black metal group M8L8TH this comes from the letter H being the eighth letter in the alphabet and these two H’s stand for Heil Hitler, they are often seen following the number fourteen, a reference to a fourteen word slogan based on a statement from Adolf Hitler’s own book “Mein Kampf” [Music] “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” this statement has become extremely popular with neo-nazi movements all over the world. Nnother common symbol with the Viking worship crowd is the Black Sun, Sun wheel or Sun cross a circular design made up of 12 rotated versions of the Sig rune the same Sig rune which was converted into the SS emblem by the Nazis in the 30s this symbol is especially popular with Nazi occultists and often touted as an ancient Norwegian shield design, but it’s real origins lie in the floor of Wewelsburg castle, acquired by Heinrich Himmler in the early 30s and quickly renovated to become the center of the SS cult. This symbol was designed and embedded in the floor of the northern tower to symbolize the Sun rising over the germanic world empire sadly the fake Viking origin story has all but eclipsed the true origins and it’s not uncommon to see the Sun wheel tattered upon the occasional innocent metalhead, oblivious to all the Nazi wizardry attached so again like the symbols on the Ohtar album, seen separately these can’t be relied upon as definitive evidence of racism but it only takes a few of these together to win Nazi bingo. However all is not lost for heavy music there is and always has been a resistance, groups like Napalm Death, Aus Rotten, Carcass, Dystopia and Sepultura have all enjoyed a reasonable level of success while never shying away from making serious, uncompromised political statements, and now with political tensions seemingly at an all-time high a new generation of extreme metal bands and artists have risen to the challenge groups that champion progressive ideas and critique the false narratives put forth by bad faith actors and positions of power bands full of radicalized queer musicians tearing apart antiquated ideas of heavy metal machismo and proud indigenous artists the world over celebrate their heritage and fight back against the specter of imperialism through the medium of heavy music. In order to stomp out the ghost of fascism we can’t just sit on our hands and offer empty moral platitudes we need to organize and we need to take action, bands need to start making definitive anti-fascist statements instead of claiming to be apolitical, in a world with fascism is on the rise silence is complicity and the refusal to take a stand is a statement in support of the fascists. It’s important for high-profile artists and labels to follow the examples of guys like Machinehead’s Rob Flynn who called out Pantera’s Phil Anselmo on his history of white supremacist rhetoric or even the women of the #KilltheKing movement standing up against widespread sexual abuse in heavy metal, if there’s a band you like but they’re on a label who also puts out bands with shitty politics, you should email them and tell them how you feel or even organize a boycott of the label until they take action. Another effective strategy is organizing and holding events in concerts that are explicitly anti-fascist, if you can raise some money for charity too that’s also great praxis, we need to be a force for change in our own communities, a great example of this is Kim Kelly, longtime union activist and organizer of “Black Flags Over Brooklyn” a wildly successful anti-fascist show that made ripples through the global heavy music scene. Now it would have been easy for me to close out on a supercut cringe compilation of all the times extreme musicians have done or said incredibly shitty things but instead of devoting time and energy to giving these guys anymore attention I thought it would be a much better use of my time to quickly highlight a bunch of incredible up-and-coming bands that are pushing back against white supremacy and other forms of systemic violence, firstly Dispossessed, who I had the honour of seeing in Melbourne years ago, if you know anything about Australian history you’ll know it’s a country founded on genocide and indigenous oppression that persists to this very day. Making their anti colonial mix of extreme styles possibly the most important thing to hit the Australian heavy music scene since well… forever? and from England we have black metal 3-piece Dawn Ray’d and their first full-length album “The Unlawful Assembly” which shakes off the nihilism of traditional atmospheric and folk inspired black metal, instead belting out furious anarchist revolutionary anthems, or if you’re into more of a discordant, doomy sound San Francisco’s Body Void explore the punishing psychological effects of gender dysphoria and the struggle of navigating society as a marginalized person through non-binary singer Will Ryan’s piercing shrieks and relentless droning guitars. For fans of hardcore and punk G.L.O.S.S which is short for Girls Living Outside of Society’s Shit where the perfect band to capture the zeitgeist, conquering what has always been a straight, white and male-dominated scene with their powerful brand of queer feminist punk creating a space for people, usually pushed to the back of hardcore shows and building a scene for them to feel at home, after a friendly and mutual breakup the band now donates all of the bandcamp album proceeds to a homeless shelter in Washington. G.L.O.S.S is the epitome of good praxis finally the incredibly titled Neckbeard Deathcamp who have been a figure of controversy since releasing their album “White Nationalism is for Basement-dwelling Losers” back in 2018 now considering how many black metal artists and fans have had a whinge about bands dropping off of show lineups when they find out another band uses fascist imagery or rhetoric it’s hilarious to see them doing the same thing when Neckbeard Deathcamp is scheduled to play a festival. On one hand we have bands refusing to play alongside people that support genocide and on the other hand we have bands refusing to play because other bands don’t support genocide, which kind of just shows you why groups like Neckbeard Deathcamp are important in the first place. I’ll post a link to all of these bands in the description, but there are many more bands and labels out there putting out great music all the time and I’m always happy to hear of more, so if you know of any bands or labels making a positive change in your community drop a link in the comment section below and help spread the word, the only way we can exorcise fascism is by putting intersectionality into practice and building larger and stronger communities than they have, so support local and international anti-fascist acts by purchasing the music and merchandise attending the shows and donating to the causes they support, and if you can’t find any of these bands in your town that sounds like a great excuse to start one! Mā te wā whānau See you next time! [Music]

17 thoughts on “The Rising Tide – Fascism in Extreme Music – Conquest of Dread

  1. Was literally just extolling some of the virtues of Bolt Thrower m/ Great video man, too many metalheads don't want to face the issues in the scene and there needs to be more conversaiton about it.

  2. I’m more of a casual listener of metal, but I’m glad I saw your tweet at Shaun, this was a well-done video about a topic that isn’t discussed that often in or outside of the community. I also loved G.L.O.S.S. and while they didn’t hang around long, I feel like their music will get more recognition overtime.

    Definitely subscribing and hope this gets more views.

  3. Wow, great video. As a metal head the state of the community is really disheartening right now. My relation with rock and metal has always been one linked to progressive social change and communal values, helping others, congregating with people looked down upon by society, etc… However most of the community today is overrun by reactionaries and sometimes overt fascists…

    But I totally agree with you, bands need to get together and actively work to combat this and promote more positive values.

  4. saw your plug in Shaun's thread. great work! will stick around for more – don't see many leftist youtubers discuss music that's not as popular. small note – some LGBT people don't really like to be called queer against their consent, so it'd be nicer to say LGBT instead 🙂

  5. Here from Shaun's thread, too. Self-promotion works 😁

    Good stuff, my only criticism is that I'd have been interested in you touching on the different attitudes to this stuff in punk/hardcore (more my scene and very much less tolerant of Fascism).
    Anyway, liked and subscribed! 👍

  6. Another rant you do know that the term "viking" means raider and tribes were throughout Europe. Even in Northern Spain which holds a viking festival to commemorate it's viking history. And yes not "everyone" in a region is a decendant because duh that's a logical fallacy. Viking culture is still celebrated and should be, Leaf Erikson came to America way before Columbus did and landed in California he called it Vinland "land of the vines". Vikings open trade routes, survived plagues, kept their people alive to prevent their own extinction. Be proud 💪

    Sidenote: Antifa the group who attacked a women in her car and lable anyone who opposes them a Nazi seriously this video is putting that scum as their hero??? Yeaahh no reasoning with this crowd.

  7. Fourteen words slogan was coined by David lane of the white supremacist group The order, not Hitler in mein kampf. Great video overall, lovely to see metalheads do their part in their fight against fascism

  8. Thank you incredibly for this! As a long time metal fan, while being both Jewish and Native (Mexican Mestizo Kikapú), my heart breaks for the pervasiveness of the NSBM.

    Grateful for your voice and your work! 🤘🏼😎🔥 Sub #95

  9. A really well put together video on a subject which needs to be talked about more.

    Also, I'm happy you put Wolves of Vinland/OPWW on blast.

  10. I found this channel recently you have some superb content here!

    I happen to know black metal musicians myself and I am not really convinced that banning some of the bands are doing any good.
    Many bands seems to find energy to keep going from "fuck antifa" attitude in the scene.
    Also they get media attention when this happens and they can appear as oppressed victims of status quo.
    I agree that dismantling far-right from metal community is important issue, but I am not sure how to do it… When it seems that current strategy might only increase the radicalization among the metalheads.
    Anyway, here is my shared dread. Do you have any thoughts on this?

  11. 16:52 ohhhh.
    I'm an idiot
    I thought they stood for 88 mm Flak 18/36
    I thought that was the reference to naz!sm
    welp

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