Metal Outfit Nachtmystium Banned from Scion Rock Fest, Branded as 'Nazis'
Over the weekend, the not-quite black metal outfit Nachtmystium was forced to withdraw from the Scion Rock Fest, in Atlanta, which for a car-company sponsored festival had drawn a shockingly large amount of quality acts: Mastodon, Neurosis, High on Fire, Boris, Converge, Kylesa, Krallice, etc. Nachtmystium were on the bill, too, until their past caught up with them and word got to the corporate sponsors that the band could conceivably be said to have had NSBM--that is, neo-Nazi--ties. And the band's first record did indeed come out on Unholy Records, an unapologetically National Socialist record label out of West Virginia. Frontman Blake Judd's statement:
- "NACHTMYSTIUM has sad news today with a once-again recurring issue surfacing from the wake of our past. We've been forced, at the request of the promoters and the folks at Scion / Toyota, to pull out of the Scion Rock Fest, scheduled for Saturday, February 28. This news came to us just this past Tuesday and was very disheartening to say the least. A troubling, and unjustly-applied notion that we are, or ever have been, in any way, a 'Nazi' band or a political band on any level, is completely absurd and we are disgusted that there is someone out there who really believes we are of this ilk. It made it as far as the sponsors of this event's desks, and now we are forced to pull out of it after some political threatening on the part of these ridiculously uneducated person/people who have caused this ruckus.
"We'd like to make light of at least one aspect of this situation and use the opportunity to once again clear the air -- we are, IN NO WAY, a 'Nazi' band. We do NOT support such groups, political beliefs or bands that are affiliated with that world. We have canceled tours in the past and dodged working with bands and people BECAUSE they had these ideologies and we never wanted to be affiliated with it. Yet, here we are, a metal band whose members are more like hippies than your typical leather-clad metal maniacs, and we're being falsely accused of this association once again. We will be taking legal action against the people who slandered us in this situation, and in the future will file defamation / slander charges against any person or organization who attempts to prevent us from performing anywhere, especially in the United States. We are as offended by this as someone might be at the notion of a Nazi band playing a big corporate-sponsored festival. So -- let it be known loud and clear for the LAST TIME, we ARE NOT a Nazi band, ARE NOT political, are certainly NOT racists and DO NOT support that world or any band, person or business affiliated with it.
"My deepest apologies to all of our friends, fans and people who have worked on and supported us being a part of this festival, we are sorry for these awful circumstances and you can be certain this will not defeat us."
A 2006 Decibel feature did in fact go a long way toward debunking Judd's NSBM ties. Wrote J. Bennett at the time:
- It is important to note that Nachtmystium has always been an apolitical band, and guitarist/vocalist Blake J. (AKA Azentrius)'s more recent musical endeavors--specifically with black metal supergroup Twilight and his own label, Battle Kommand--are not even remotely affiliated with National Socialism or White Power. "In the past, we've had some indirect ties to labels and bands that are part of the NS scene," Azentrius concedes. "At one point not too many years ago, it wasn't uncommon for NS labels or bands to trade and work with non-politically motivated bands and labels because at the end of the day, we're all trying to promote, release, and be involved with music--all politics aside. Today it seems like there's less of a connection, at least for me and my label. We don't oppose people's right to be 'NS' or whatever--that's a personal choice, and if you live in the USA, you have the right to that opinion. Even though I personally, my band(s) and my label have absolutely no interest in being a part of that scene, I will ALWAYS take their side when it comes to their freedom of speech being imposed upon."
Still, there are many people who will take a certain satisfaction in throwing Judd's blasé attitude about having had very real dealings with some very bad people back in his face, and that's what the Scion thing was about, most likely. The inverse point--that black metal has a complicated relationship to 'NS' stuff that doesn't reduce neatly down to the PC dictates of, say, indie-rock; and that this fact is what keeps it dangerous and real to whole large group of people who do not otherwise consider themselves to be racist in any way shape or form--is a common one in the USBM scene.
The irony of what's happening here is, even as Nachtmystium are being derided as hateful demons by Toyota et al, they've been called pussies and worse for far longer by a scene that can't stand posers. Nor, as Bennett slyly points out at the end of his Decibel feature--totally mandatory reading for anyone who cares about black metal in the slightest--does this reflect well on the Nazi fucks with whom Nachtmystium are being associated, which here might be the silver lining. Bennett quotes a particularly virulent Canadian racist and black metal aficionado, Vjohrrnt V. Wodansson:
- "You cannot go to war with your BC Rich guitar or your Vic Firth drum sticks, can you?" Wodansson continues. "The PFV firmly express that the armament of its members by 'all means necessary' is a duty to all true revolutionary fighters. And I am not talking of swords, battle axes and fantasy daggers here. When the ZOG raid your house to look for hate propaganda and discriminating anti-fed-governmental evidence, do you really think they will be frozen with fear at the sight of a corpsepainted kid in black holding [a] fake sword?"