Metal, categorized as a heavier form of rock music, is losing the one thing that made it such a great genre of music. Which are educated fans that are not afraid to publicly voice their opinions.
Some of these fans are being replaced by Neo Nazis, white supremacists and bigots. There are still great fans out there, but there is a toxicity to metal that has been slowly, but surely growing.
Metal started with “Black Sabbath”, and ensuing bands such as “Led Zeppelin” and “Deep Purple” in the 70s. It was and to some extent is one of the major counter cultures. Counter culture goes against the social norm. With music, this was always easy to do.
Metal and various subgenres of metal are not very approachable to a person who does not like aspects of it. I have heard many times, “If I cannot understand it, I do not want to listen to it.” I have heard other things as well, such as, “That is very offensive,” or, “That sounds like devil music.” The last one is favorite of mine, since I only know of five or ten actual satanic bands. There are more, those are just a few that I like.
Regardless of why most people stay away from metal, there are still legions of fans. For a long time, this legion was active in various things. Such as civil, political, or religious protest. They exercised their rights as American citizens and did what they believed in. They evolved beside metal.
As metal was getting heavier and faster or slower and sludgy, fans begun to change as well. At first it seemed mild. People knew bands were just going for shock factor. Which is, “what will offend the most people the quickest?”
Many bands did just that and stayed like that for the entertainment that it created. “Cannibal Corpse”, a death metal band from Buffalo, New York, has always had what can only be described as disgusting lyrics.
Another band that went for shock was “Napalm Death”, but they did it in a different way. They played fast, aggressive, and brutal. All those words being vast understatements.
If you took the time to read the lyrics for bands like Napalm Death, political protest would greet you. Two more modern bands do this today, to protest against animal cruelty. They are called Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer. Both bands are adamantly against all forms of animal cruelty and they write lyrics that show that.
Three of the four mentioned bands are all a part of a genre of metal called grindcore, a contemporary of the genre hardcore. I do not like hardcore for a good number of reasons, but I liked what a lot of them created music about.
Now, however, I have been exposed to the filth that is white supremacist, neo Nazi, and bigoted metal. As much as I hate to say it, this type of metal exists and it is spreading hate across the hardcore scene and it is getting into metal as well.
There are always going to be fringe bands trying to promote hate and suffering to their fans. What scares me is that there are some bands gaining commercial success off racist, anti-sematic, and hate speech music.
One label that is letting this happen is Profound Lore. They have a lot of great records that they have put out, do not get me wrong, They are the label for Pallbearer, which I love. But they also released records from bands that have community-viewed neo-Nazis in them. The band in question is Disma with lead singer Craig Pillard being the alleged Neo-Nazi. Disma was kicked off of the Netherlands Deathfest festival in 2015.
The festival promoters are put out a statement regarding Disma’s ejection from the festival, stating, “This is the first time in 14 years of putting on festivals that we’ve been put in such an awkward situation, and in the end, just like a member of Disma who recently quit the band, we’ve decided to distance ourselves from the drama surrounding the band lately.”
Upon further investigation, I found out what the controversy was. What I found out is that the lead singer of Disma, Craig Pillard, has a side band called Sturmfuhrer that blatantly promotes Nazism. The release of their album Ich Kamfe, which has the album artwork being Adolf Hitler and their record Niemals Vergessen, pictured above, has a swastika as the cd graphic. I believe this to be clear evidence that Pillard has some Nazi views.
Also, a simple google search of Craig Pillard brings up some questionable content. The first hit is the story that Metal Injection covered about the Band, Disma, being kicked off of Netherlands Death fest, as mentioned above. In this article there is a link to an interview done with Pillard that makes me assume he is at the very least, sympathetic to Neo-Nazis. A link to the article can be found here: http://www.mourningtheancient.com/sturm.htm.
With all of the controversy coming from metal nowadays, it is hard to really believe what newspapers and websites are saying, but I have presented the evidence very clearly. I have used Metal Injection as a source, which I believe to be a reputable source for all metal news. I think Nazism is in metal now and I know in my heart that it needs to be stopped.
We all as humans have the capacity to see horrific things and know that they are wrong. We need to stop this from continuing. There is no excuse anymore. Bands such as Marduk, Mayhem, Inquisition, Sturmfuhrer, and many others are spreading hate speech across metal.
We as a community need to look at ourselves and really consider what we are showing the world. Bad news gets more coverage and sooner or later this bad news is going to make it harder to enjoy the music we love. Listen deeply to the music you love, look at and read the music as well, be mindful in your consumer habits. Most of all, in the words of Ronnie James Dio, We Rock!
Updates to the content were made to the article on 4/15/2017.