Grymm KittyI’m sure by now you all know that your favorite artists don’t exactly live the lives they write about. Slayer‘s Tom Araya is a devout Catholic and a proud family man. Similarly, W.A.S.P.‘s Blackie Lawless gave up fucking like a beast for Jesus. Glenn Danzig loves his cats and Morbid Angel‘s Trey Azagthoth is a gamer and Sailor Moon fanatic. In other words, it’s not all that often you encounter a musician (or band) that lives up to the extreme lyrics they pen. They’re just regular, mundane human beings like you and me [Except Manowar. They live and die for metal.Steel Druhm].

But sometimes, you listen to a band and enjoy their work significantly, until you find out something horrifying about them. Yes, it’s true: some of your favorite musicians and bands are major assholes, and I don’t mean “Dave Mustaine/Ted Nugent” level assholedom, either. I’m talking about the level of questioning your own belief system after said revelations.

A few years ago, I had a co-worker who was a pretty convincing metalcore screamer. His lyrics were very engaging with a powerfully positive message. I asked him who his biggest influence was, and without any hesitation, he said, “Dude, that’s easy… Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying.” Well… needless to say, stuff happened. Really, really bad stuff. My co-worker was so disgusted that he questioned his path as a musician and even his own beliefs as a Christian. Thankfully, after a good long talk, he came to his senses and, to my knowledge, still practices his craft on the side.

And that’s not an easy thing to do, as I too have struggled with my own core values when listening to certain music. I accepted an assignment for a 20-year anniversary piece on Emperor‘s In The Nightside Eclipse last year; an album that I love, but also knew that right around the time of the album’s conception, drummer Bård “Faust” Eithun murdered a homosexual man in cold blood near Lillehammer, Norway. As a gay man, you don’t think I didn’t have any self-conflicting issues with that? Still, it was an important, influential album that deserved recognition, despite my own personal views on what Faust did. Same with listening to anything by Dissection for similar reasons, as I would be foolish to not, at least, acknowledge that both The Somberlain and Storm of the Light’s Bane were incredibly powerful, well-written melodic black metal albums. And even though what Blake Judd did was incredibly shitty, I can at least listen to Nachtmystium‘s “Every Last Drop” still, due to the fact that he may or may not have had a hand in any of that song’s conception save for his vocals, and it remains one of my favorite album closers to this day.

Danzig with cat

Of course, there are bands that I won’t go near, no matter how much praise is sung their way. Burzum, as influential and powerful as some of Varg Vikernes’ music is, won’t even make it to my hard drive. And as an added note, I want to say that it’s disturbing and somewhat disgusting that people will call for the heads of Blake Judd for being a drug-addled thief (which, in hindsight, I am guilty of and will own), and Liturgy‘s Hunter-Hunt Hendrix for being a pretentious-yet-ultimately-harmless affluent “transcendental black metal” pioneer, and yet give Vikernes, who is an actual murderer and a Nazi sympathizer, a free pass. Priorities, guys and girls.

I love my black, doom, and death metal, but as soon as the word “Ukrainian” is thrown in front of it, I’m on their Facebook and Encyclopedia Metallum pages, looking for anything remotely resembling a sunwheel, swastika, Hitler mustache, National Socialistic viewpoints, etc. In fact, even with their “changing of viewpoints,” I’m still leary of how sincere Nokturnal Mortum are with their recent change of hearts. I will shut off Malevolent Creation quicker than Phil Fasciana can say “Yoo-Hoo!” Needless to say, don’t engage me on Arghoslent, either. Yet, despite all this, people have no problems separating any of the aforementioned with their crimes and/or viewpoints.

Ultimately, who you listen to and, more importantly, who you give your hard-earned money to, should be researched carefully. I’ve said my piece on the subject. Now I’m curious as to what you have to say in the comments section. Thank you for reading.

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  • Darren

    Luckily (as far as I’m aware, at least) the bands and artists I like listening to haven’t done anything to make me have to disown them.

    I definitely find it harder to listen to music from artists who have ‘questionable’ morals / actions. I guess I’m lucky that I prefer the fluffier end of the metal scale – only dragons and personal demons get slain.

    • Hulksteraus

      And Unicorns?? There have to be Unicorns… ;)

      • basenjibrian

        Are SPHERES associated in any way with questionable views?

  • Whiskeyjack

    I totally agree with you on the Burzum front, but then I’m a hypocrite with my Deathspell omega fanboyism. I know full well that the DsO vocalist, Mikka Aspa’s solo project “Clandestine Blaze” is as racist as they come but I can’t stop listening to DsO. I have a black fiancée and a mixed race son and I feel slightly guilty about liking them so much, when I’m pretty sure I would loathe the guy if I met him. Maybe if i contribute to an anti racism charity with the same amount I spent on their albums it will balance out the Karma?

    • Grymm

      I contend with the same thing with Drudkh, as many of its members shared time with Hate Forest, an NSBM band.

      • Whiskeyjack

        I didn’t know that about Drudkh! Thanks, now I’ve got another band to feel guilty about! ?. Do you think this aspect of a band should be addressed in reviews and promotion? Just from reading the comments here, it seems it might make some people hesitant to purchase music if they know their hard earned cash is going to ignorant nutters!

        • Grymm

          That is a very good question, and it does need to be addressed. Personally, I feel that forewarned is forearmed and I would definitely make a conscious effort in the future to include such information.

      • Darren

        Forgive my ignorance, but what does NSBM stand for? I’ve never seen or heard this initialism before.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          National Socialist Black Metal.

      • To their credit, by keeping their projects separated at least partly acknowledge that the general public may not look kindly at their most extreme political views.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Disappointing to hear that about Death spell omega, I need to verify that…:(

      • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

        This is new to me too, as I’m a big fan of theirs.

      • Whiskeyjack

        I tried posting the link to the interview, but it has to get approved by AMG. In the meantime you can google “chronicles of chaos clandestine blaze” and the top result is an interview which shows his Anti Semitec/Racist views.

        • Whiskeyjack

          As i said in the original comment, I only know this about Mikka Aspa the vocalist, nothing is really known about the other members of DsO, for all I know the reason they dont do live shows is because their weekends are spent doing bake sales to raise money for Stonewall. :)

          • Grymm

            I would pay damn good money to see DsO selling cookies during a Pride weekend.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          will check this out…with a heavy heart…

    • basenjibrian

      Yeah.
      On the other hand, the racism isn’t really dominant in the DSM lyrics, which cater to MY misotheism and Gnosticism. That’s what I focus on, to be honest.

  • I can’t listen to any band that doesn’t eat meat and dairy.

    • Oh really? So that means Carcass is out. And so is Cattle Decap. Shame.

      • Yeah, Carcass loss cuts deep.

      • Grymm

        And Heaven Shall Burn.

        • Converge, Between the Buried and Me….

          • Converge? really? I would have never pegged Jacob as a vegan. In hindsight it makes sense though.

        • Ingvar Árni Ingvarsson

          And Porcupine Tree and everything by Steven Wilson.

      • Gonzalo Salazar

        Or any of the Vegan Black Metal Chef’s projects.

    • IamRipper

      I agree. Keep the PETA crap out of my Metal.

    • Neil Withe

      Probably the dumbest comment I’ve seen on this site.

  • T.A.R.

    I was dicussing this topic in work today. (In relation to Paul Gascoigne) A man who has had more second chances than many a alcoholic or addict

    Yet still idolised by many due to his past.

    I really don’t look into the source often enough, I should when departing with money though.

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    Sometimes the art is just too good to give up on, even if the artist is evil. Case in point: Wagner (virulent anti-semite), but who can live without Tristan und Isolde? I can’t.

    Everyone will have to decide for him/herself which way the scale tips if an evil person creates great art ….

    • Gabriel PérezMolphe

      I was just going to comment about Wagner. In my view point, as long as the music itself don’t have I message a reject, its fine.
      I also think that people normally give more pass to Wagner than they willl ggive to a metal musician.

      • That’s because he had more influence on all of modern, Western music than all of the heavy metal musicians you can name combined.

  • Grilo do Demo

    I had a dilemma with this. I used to feel “dirty” by listening to certain bands, especially Nokturnal Mortum, because it’s the only one I really like which is problematic in this way (I also love Emperor, but I associate Emperor with Ihsahn directly and mostly and as far as I know, he’s clean). I eventually decided that by listening to their music, what I was listening to was exactly that—the music. The exact same music with a different concept would still be great, and the same concept in different music wouldn’t interest me. I prefer to think the (little) money they may get from me will go to the next recording, which is the most likely thing anyway. Maybe not in the case of Burzum, though. I don’t think he spends in recording as much as he earns from old albums.

    Concerning Nokturnal Mortum’s ideology though, even though they are very clearly far-right, it can be clearly seen that their straightforward neonazi period was from Nechrist until Weltanschauung, with all the EPs in between. Since then, the anti-semitic topic was left aside and they deleted all the symbols in later re-issues. I was also surprised to see someone writing jew-hating stuff recently on their Facebook page and the band responding negatively to it, as well as to hatespeech on Russians.

    I think this is a debate in which one side will never convince the other. I can’t stop having NM as one of my most favoritestest bands ever, no matter what ideology they have or how far it is from mine. It would be a huge loss (musically speaking) for me to stop listening to them. Or to Emperor. But I never really considered Emperor in this group of “actually evil bands”.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I’ve had misgivings about Inquistion after reading Islander’s article “The Inquistion Inquisition” on No Clean Singing. I think most know what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t: back in 2014, the group was rumoured to be racist and have neo-nazi leanings. Islander says he doesn’t feel their music celebrates such vile beliefs, but he also admits, that, like me, he really likes their music and is probably prejudiced in his view. I can’t say I’ve carefully read through all their lyrics.

    My background is in English, where a popular literary theory states that we should never expect that a great, noble work of art must, of necessity, be the product of a great, noble “soul”. A related theory states that mining an author’s personal life for “hints” about the “true” meanings of their works is useless. Such theories take the ownership of meaning from the hands of the “noble” author and the select few professors of English educated enough to understand such works — as had long been assumed — and places meaning in the hands of the reader. With that said, I’m with Grymm in regards to Burzum. And if Inquisition were to write clearly racist lyrics, I would abandon their music.

    It’s strange how time sometimes paints over the prejudices of artists, as the works they’re remembered by grow in fame and their personalities fade into history. I’m thinking foremost of Wagner, a notorious anti-semite. Many people in Wagner’s time refused to listen to his music because of his views, jews and non-jews alike. How many nowadays refuse to listen to Wagner’s music because of the composer’s views? And does his music actually sound anti-semitic or pro-fascist? Some have pointed to jew-like characters like Alberich. Famously, Thomas Mann, a long-time Wagnerian, eventually turned his back on Wagner because, as he said, every time he heard the overture to Die Meistersinger, he saw Nazi flags waving in the breeze.

    Then there’s Caravaggio, responsible for some of the most beautiful paintings ever. And yet, according to an Art prof I knew, he was a rapist, thief, and murderer.

    I’ve gone on too long, am stuffing too much into a small space, and am probably somewhat off-topic. I’ll stop now.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Inquisition have strenuously denied that to their credit. The rumour as I understand it from an interview with the band was started by a disgruntled roadie who the band barely knew.
      My recollection of the story and sorry I don’t have a link (It might have been a steel for Brains interview) is that they were driving and one of the inquisition guys noticed on a pit stop that the roadie had a swastika tattoo they had a brief uncomfortable chat about it…This then became the basis of the they’re Nazi’s story.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Looking more into it, it seem it’s like what you say. Still, the article on the blog shamelessnavelgazing, to which Islander refers in the NCS article, states this: “It is a known fact, however, that the band has associated with the white supremacist Antichrist Kramer, commissioning him to create artwork for the 2010 reissue of their first full length album Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult. Kramer has been deeply involved in the National Socialist black metal movement, putting out music by openly white supremacist and/or anti-Semitic groups on his label Satanic Skinhead Propaganda”.

        I’m not arguing for or against Inquisition, but such associations, if true, are troublesome to me. Still, who knows what all the facts are: on the Internet, rumours are a dime a dozen and the truth sometimes hard to track down.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          They used Kramer for Ominous Doctrines…as well. Kramer’s a distinctive artist though, and groups like Vasaeleth and Pseudogod commission him for covers too. I’ve not seen accusations of racism leveled against them, for what that’s worth.

      • No, it was more than that. There was direct evidence of one of the guys from Inquisition posting on a board a lot of anti-semetic comments (nasty ones).

        I for one do not feel they “strenuously denied” it. They danced around it and talked about how uncomfortable it was for them to have a roadie with overt Nazism on their skin and that they don’t judge people and understand how people can get involved with the wrong crowd, etc. etc.

        Truth be told, if I was on that bus, and I was in charge, and I found out some roadie had a swastika on their body and admitted they were a Nazi then I would politely ask them to get off the bus at the next available stop, make sure they had enough money to safely get home, and leave it at that.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          The guy with the swastika was the bus driver I believe, and you need a special license for that in Canada (where they were at the time), so they’d be SOL if they kicked him off, as much as I like your approach.

          In Dagon’s follow-up interview, I got the feeling the guy was walking on eggshells trying to not slip up whatsoever and have his life destroyed. I know it came after, but look what happened to Sir Timothy Hunt. The guy fought cancer through research, and that didn’t prevent one slip-up from literally ending his career. The guy was knighted, actively helping humanity, and made an ill-timed joke. Dagon is in an awesome black metal band and got accused of Nazism. The odds would be stacked *very* high against him should push come to shove. Sad state of affairs, honestly.

          • I hear you. However, the question you still must ask yourself DiM is *why* was he walking on eggshells? Why? If someone randomly accused you for instance as a Nazi, I doubt you would have to “walk on eggshells” to defend yourself. He could have said exactly what you stated above; something to the effect of, “Yeah, the guy was a Nazi. We were shocked when we found out but needed a ride. I mean we really didn’t want to get stranded in the middle of no where and then drown in maple syrup (or worse, be forced to get involved in a random pickup game of hockey). After the tour was over, we parted ways and that was that.” That’s not what he said. For more investigation, check out his 88MM solo project and some of the family friendly material on that.

            Note, I don’t think Inquisition the band or the music is anymore than great black metal with really no political or social agenda (other than the usual black metal stuff). But the guy has issues and I’ll leave it at that.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I remember him denying the “88=HH” implications up and down, and saying the rest was shock value, which I don’t doubt a bit. He came across as a guy really interested in WWII and having a morbid fascination with Nazis to me. People were already calling bullshit in advance on an explanation that would mirror yours unfortunately, and a flat denial with no explanation would lead to endless “he’s protecting his career” accusations and whatnot, and the accusing fellow basically said that in the interview anyway. That’s why I believe Dagon, and I’d wager why things seemed to dissipate quickly after that went up and why many are back to thinking that Inquisition rules; he didn’t pretend to be perfect, but he did tell us all the important bit: “I’m not a Nazi”. Gallant also had a personal vendetta against the band, claiming that he’d been “going after” them for years and got his 15 minutes of anyone giving a damn about him from the fiasco which is another reason why I’d believe Dagon.

          • I so hope you are right on this one! :-)

          • Chigo

            I am extremely offended by your prejudicial attitude toward hockey, sir. I may no longer be able to visit Metal Fi due to its associations with your anti-hockeyist views.

          • Look, if Grymm has taught us anything it’s that you got to separate the blogger’s personal hockey views from his or her website. Please.

            What’s so sad is I was a big Blackhawk fan when I was a wee lad (Belfour/Roenick/Chelios) and only when I no longer really follow sports that the team finally wins a Cup.

          • Chigo

            Alright, duly noted…I will separate blog from blogger. I’m with you anyway; I don’t really follow hockey anymore either. The games go like, an hour with no one scoring, and the puck is just so damn small!

          • Think this thread has probably ended and don’t want to distract from the main points of the discussion but just on the Tim Hunt issue, it’s not really the case that he made a stupid joke so was sacked. He’s a retired scientist who was asked to step down from some honorary positions (UCL, incidentally, explicitly stated this was nothing to do with Twitter but was a direct response to the comments themselves), and he is still affiliated with the new Crick Institute in London, and my previous workplace OIST (probably other places too but those are the two I know of). He is still a Fellow of the Royal Society, but was asked to step down from a committee. His “joke” was initially demeaning and apparently not obviously a joke; he then effectively doubled down by saying that he was just trying to tell the truth. The twitter response was mostly gentle ribbing in the form of the #distractinglysexy hashtag. So I don’t think he’s a particularly good example, even though some parts of the media have painted this as a “great scientist destroyed by Twitter mob” story.

            That said, you are obviously quite right about the frequent negative effects of online mobs and how they can ruin people. Jon Ronson has written a whole book about this called “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” – haven’t read it yet but it he interviews several people whose lives have been destroyed, sometimes over completely fabricated stories. So I can see why some bands would be very cagey about their views, even if really they aren’t horrible.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Didn’t know that about Hunt (a lot of coverage left that out), thank you for that! Still a bit disappointed with UCL’s decision, as really it wasn’t a terribly vile statement, but nonetheless that makes a difference. You’re right though, the two minutes hate thing on Twitter/Tumblr/elsewhere is getting out of hand, and as interesting as the book looks it’s quite sad that it needed to be written.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Yeah I’m a bit hazy on the details of their response it’s been a while, though I was sure they categorically denied being Nazis or being politically fascist …
          I agree with you I don’t think I’d last long on a bus with a Nazi either … one of us would be getting kicked of…
          I really like inquisition and would hate if they were so dim witted as to be Nazi’s (I mean seriously) saying nasty stuff on a chat room that could more be a drunken troll / jerk behaviour rather than any real reflection on his character…I hope…

  • Worldeater

    Great and thoughtful article! I can remeber back in the 90s talking to a friend of mine about Dissection and Jon Nödtveidt and he was all “no way, i met him after a gig, he was a really nice guy!” and i was like “what the hell, he is a convicted murderer?!?”. In the end I couldn´t listen to Dissection any longer.

  • It’s highly probable I’m too idealistic, or that these are just bigger extremes we’re talking about. I’m super not okay with casual racism and/or homophobia and/or misogyny, but there’s a very rare chance I’m willing to let it go.

    When it’s an intentional version of that, it’s out. And I mean, there isn’t really even a “viewpoint” on murder. There’s nothing to debate there. You hate-murdered someone, your ass is out.
    (It does help though that I was never a serious fan of black metal.)

    Ultimately, there are thousands of great bands out there, and I could never listen to all of them, so burdening my conscience with something like this is just pointless.

    I have a similar difficulty with other art forms, but somehow, with musical artists I find it even harder to separate art from artist than with authors or painters. Music is just too out there.

  • MPC

    The same thing can be applied to non-metal bands like Kiss, for example. I like their no-brain, simple rock (especially 70’s stuff until Dynasty), altough as a band they are unbelievably greedy. And Gene is a capitalist elitist asshole.

    I also get the hate against Burzum and Varg (everyone and their moms agree that the guy is a complete racist fucktard), but how one can hate albums like Filosofem? Music is stronger than it’s creators, I guess…

  • DeathShrike

    I just refuse to give money to assholes and genuine pieces of shit, so I steal their essential albums online, and refuse to purchase merch, go see their shows, etc. That’s how I end up with Dissection and Burzum albums. However, if the music is actually actively promoting something I find hateful, I avoid it all together.

    • For most “message” music promoting something is subjective, I think. There’s a distinct possibility that “Nazi Lesbians” can write a song called “Kill all Jews” and it’d be taken as satire. It’s in poor taste, sure. But we all know national socialists hated gays/lesbians. :)

      Now if the band espouses the nonsense outside of their music and it mirrors their music, it’s not satire or shock rock. Provided it’s not a character or persona….

      There’s a ton of musicians who have a stage persona that makes you want to strangle them, but they are genuinely just acting for the applause (and cash.)

  • I could never give my money to modern day Metallica.

    • Grymm

      Fucking Lars!

      • Kalsten

        Are you into that kind of guys? Shame on you. You should have higher aspirations :P

        • Grymm

          Dude… Eww. :-P

  • Lord Gronbuske

    My biggest problem with this is quite the opposite, I really do hate when a band is too correct. Like doing stuff for charity and such, hate that kind of kiss assery.

    I’m buying pretty much everything Burzum makes, even the books and the movie. I also follow his blog and youtube since I really do like reading whatever he wants to say, old european mythology is a big interest to me and he is quite knowledgable. The murder is really far back in time and he has been in jail already for it so I don’t let that impact anything and I don’t really care about his nazi sympathies, I don’t judge people at all because of political tendencies.
    Also, Ukrainian Black Metal is the best black metal of all at the moment, especially Nokturnal Mortum, White Tower is one of the best Black Metal songs I’ve ever heard.

    • “The murder is really far back in time and he has been in jail already for it so I don’t let that impact anything and I don’t really care about his nazi sympathies,”

      Funny enough, if Adolf Hilter ran a blog about old European mythology you could use the same argument to justify financially supporting it.

      I find that disturbing and sincerely hope one day, you do too.

      • I totally dislike Vikernes as a person (what I know of him) but I don’t think this comparison makes sense. The crime he was in jail for was not an ideological, hate crime; Hitler had the deep belief that a certain kind of people had no right to exist and did everything he could to ensure their lives lost all dignity, when there were lives left at all. Vikernes may have the same belief, but never did anything by it, as far as is known.

        • I wasn’t tying Varg’s crime to his idelogical beliefs. I was merely pointing out that Lord Gronbuske’s criteria for financial support, which does not factor in a past heinous crime and the person’s current ideological beliefs, would have him pledge Hitler because they share common passions for old Euorpean mythology, i.e. he set the bar ridiculously low.

          Again, I find that disturbing and sincerely hope that one day, he does too.

          • Lord Gronbuske

            It’s not my job to judge crimes, there’s courts for that. I also don’t think a murder should destroy the life of the murderer as well, if that was the case they should just use the death penalty directly, everyone should have the chance to get back in society after prison. I don’t mind sponsoring criminals, they have to be able to get by as well.

          • DeathShrike

            I find Lord Gronbuske’s view to be highly typical of the fans of these bands. The ones that don’t come right out and say they are racists, at least. You’re either one or the other I guess if you have no problem giving money to dicks.

        • Martin Knap

          Vikernes has some strange beliefs about non-whites, i.e. that they are another species. If they are another species, then they are not fully human (or at least much less worthy), – what implications has this for their human rights and justice towards them? I think it’s pretty disturbing.

    • Grymm

      “My biggest problem with this is quite the opposite, I really do hate when a band is too correct. Like doing stuff for charity and such, hate that kind of kiss assery.”

      It IS true that U2 absolutely suck now…

      As for the rest, just… no. Good GAWD, no.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      So basically you don’t care about his politics you just really want to read hear everything he has to say…and you don’t like to judge someone for political views you just really like listening to incredibly judgmental political views…You know theres so much information about Norse mythology out there thats not being presented by a twisted ideologue with mental health issues.

      • Lord Gronbuske

        Actually, I’ve read pretty much all there is to read but the only one actually rethinking it is Varg and more recently some universities have started thinking a little bit in his direction. I do care about his politics, they are interesting as well, but most interesting is his other beliefs, he’s not throwing much politics at his blog anymore since he got suspected of terrorism. Now it’s pretty much only about his role playing game and his thoughts on mythology. When it comes to his politics I think he’s free to think what he wants about it and it’s nice hearing more than the voices of the main stream and I’ve not seen anywhere that he has mental health issues.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          and I read playboy for the articles :)

          • eloli

            Greatest reply ever. :D
            Too bad the reference will be surely lost on anyone under 30, since a) nobody reads paper magazines nowadays and b) Internet has made nude photos so ubiquitous that buying a magazine to glance at a pair of famous breast sound ludicrous.
            But seriously, you made me laugh out loud. :D

        • “…and I’ve not seen anywhere that he has mental health issues.”

          Because that is considered a matter of fact.

          • Lord Gronbuske

            I’m pretty sure he was even tested and found out to have no problems with mental health so that is just some stupid argument people throw at people when they don’t agree with their views.

          • basenjibrian

            “Mental Health” is such a vague term. What does it mean to be mentally healthy? I mean, I think it is insane (and cruel) to strap one’s dog onto the roof of a car in a carrier…or to seriously believe that anyone in the 90% of the population not in the spreadsheet diddling industry (investment banking) is subhuman is far crazier than anything Varg expresses in his various “hobbies”, yet Mitt Romney got almost half the vote in the U.S. elections seven years ago and his crazyness is considered mainline thinking.
            I think Varg is simply “confused” about a lot of things. But he is not stupid, and some of his stuff associated with his various odd, off-kilter hobbies in intriguing (if still crazy). I do like his music, even some of the newer stuff. It is…restful.

  • Chronic-Headache

    I really like Burzum, but I feel weird giving him my cash for his music…I supposed I could pirate *gasp* it, but I like to be legit, so I usually stream it or youtube his stuff.

    Born of Osiris is one band that I really liked some of their tracks, but I then began reading into their behavior and attitudes…and the band is just a bunch of entitled, immature, douche-bags stuck in college-party mode. At least Varg has some intellegence (never said I agree with him, but the guy seems legit to his beliefs and has an educated opinion), but BoO…grow up you douches.

    And Emperor’s s/t is too awesome for me to be bothered by the Murder. Gotta accept that with the black metal scene of the 90’s I suppose

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      When I listen to In the nightside, I don’t really associate it with Faust, harder to do with a Burzum record..

      • Hulksteraus

        Yes that is true, and I do have 2 of his albums (the earlier 2) mainly because of the atmospherics that he was able to produce, although I admit that I have not listened to him for several years now.

        The reason I got his albums at the time (mid 90’s) was that I had a curiosity about his notoriety. I stopped listening to him though mainly because his music is by no means the best BM.

        I guess Black Metal, and some of the other extremities of metal is where we come up against this argument about separating the art from the artist because there are some truly awful people creating music in the overarching genre that we all love.

        I must admit that I don’t really listen to much BM these days, but the reason that I did in the first place was the atmosphere that some of the best proponents are able to achieve. I am a fan of atmosphere, and I guess that is where I gravitate to in my Metal/Prog/Rock. I also love dark, melancholic music despite me being quite a happy and positive guy….

        To be having this sort of discussion is why I love this site. It is not full of knuckle dragging sheeple, rather intelligent and thoughtful people.

        This site rocks!

        Great article too Grymm.

  • eloli

    I’m kind of on the fence on this issue.

    On one side, as long as I don’t care that much about the art, I can hate the artist without any kind of remorse or second thoughts, i.e., Burzum, Absurd, Arghoslent, the Nuge and all those beyond shitty Ukrainian bm bands.

    In fact, I actually love hating the fuck out of these racist, homophobic yokels, and enjoy to no end ripping on the stupidity of their apologists. Come on, if you actually think Varg is intelligent, or brave, you either are hopelessly naive or a closet racist yourself. :D

    Actually, I have a lot of respect towards people who admit being openly racist or homophobic and don’t have to make up byzantine justifications about their taste or opinion, as long as they don’t try to bash the head of one of my cousins, nephews or nieces, I’m cool.

    When it comes to art I care about, i.e. Megadeth, I can still enjoy the art even if the artist (Dave Mustaine) tends to says a lot of embarrassing, out of touch crap that my grandma’s really racist sisters would find too childish to utter themselves in public. :D

    My main problem with “questionable art” made by “questionable people” is that it can be really hard to explain why you own it when you don’t share the values or philosophy that inspired them.

    As an amateur black and white photographer and an advertising professional, one of my favorite movies is Triumph of the Will: aside from being a masterpiece of pacing, editing, image composing and framing, it features what may be the most gorgeous black and white photography ever captured on film, yet personally, I would never own a DVD of this particular movie since it’s glorifying an ideology that a large portion of my mum’s family went to war against not long ago, and also, it’s still an inspiration for a lot of jack booted thugs who would, given the opportunity, beat the shit out of a significant portion of my family. Also, people have a really hard time believing that you’re not a neo nazi when you have this kind of material in your house. :D

    In conclusion, I don’t really know where I stand in this debate, I just think that Varg is a racist asshole who would make the world a much better place if he drops dead right now, but if you enjoy Filosofem that much, knock yourself out, it’s your listening time.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      I think I’m on the same page with a lot of what you’ve said. It’s weird when I think about it as I make the exception in some cases and not others. I like Burzum. I don’t think he’s philosophically smart or brave, but I think he’s a great atmospheric musician. But I can’t listen to Megadeth anymore, Dave killed me on it.

      I’ve struggled with that paradox for a while, part of me feels like it’s a saturation problem, Dave has an easier time making a fool out of himself publicly, where as Varg is kinda in the shadows, you have to dig for the crazy. Or perhaps I like the music more, so I ignore it because of that.

      There’s also this inherent edge of danger for metal music. We don’t have to endorse the crazy directly, but it is interesting to see. Metallica was better before rehab. Does knowing that promote a dangerous lifestyle, or do we remove ourselves from that and view it from the outside? (A naive view a lot would say and I may agree sometimes, it’s a blurry line by any means.)

      Reading all the comments on this article is fantastic. People have brought up a few famous names but I haven’t seen Lovecraft thrown around yet. Talk about someone with a huge impact… but a pretty unrepentant racist. product of his time? maybe, doesn’t make it right. Still a brilliant author. It’s strange how awareness plays a big part, knowing where it’s coming from matters. Is ones art separate from their views, or does that even matter? etc etc etc

      • eloli

        Well, I love Lovecraft, but I don’t view him as that much of a racist, I mean, he married a jew, had personal friends and acquaintances from all over the world and his views on race mixing, which are completely unacceptable today, are undoubtedly a product of his time, he wasn’t much more racist than my great grandfather on my mum’s side was, who, btw, considered himself pretty open minded because one of his most trusted employees was a mulatto. :D

        So I guess that historical figures that had views that today would be considered racist like Lovecraft or Wagner get a past because a) the art they made is great without a doubt and b) they never actually acted out on those views, and that’s why Leni Riefenstahl has a much harder time even if she literally spent 30+ years atoning through her latter work for her involvement in nazism.

        IMO, Varg lives in a very grey area: his art, is really not that great, true, it’s significant in a black metal context, but it’s not that significant in heavy metal history, and in musical history is completely insignificant.
        At the same time, the guy talks a lot of shit, but has never really acted on his racism, I guess the thing I dislike the most about him is his cowardice and lack of intelligence, and how seemingly a lot of people take him seriously when he’s, at best, a stupid clown that miraculously managed to make some decent music long ago.

        Regarding Dave, the guy shat on his musical legacy so much and so long ago that at this point, no matter what he says, he won’t make enjoy Peace Sells, Rust or Countdown any less. In fact, my main beef with the guy is what a whiny loser he’s become over the year, the insensitively racist, stupidly conservative stuff he spits outs using his retarded, intolerant christian views as a justification is not much worse of the things I have to hear from some co workers on a daily basis. :D

        Regarding Metallica, IMO, rockstars live dangerously so we don’t have to, that’s part of their job. :D

  • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

    I’m impressed that people are bringing up Wagner, and I’m interested to see where people would draw the line. Wagner’s dead, and purchasing his music would not be funding any kind of racist agenda (unlike, say, buying a Burzum hoodie). Does anyone out there feel guilty driving a Ford truck because Henry Ford was extremely anti-Semitic? How long is “long enough” before something can be appreciated separately from its creator, if ever?

    • I was about to post something in that vein on the other thread. Wagner has been dead for more than a century now. But I guess the actual point you get to separate the creation from the creator is more dependent of the relation and influence to the current cultural context, than the amount of time passed?

      • eloli

        You’re absolutely right.

        Historical figures that had views that today would be considered racist like Lovecraft or Wagner can be separated from the art they created because a) the art they made is great without a doubt and b) they never actually acted out on those views.

        On the other hand, historical figures with questionable views that produced great art but used their craft to advance political agendas that are considered unacceptable today have a much harder time getting their art separated from the views they supported.

        Take Leni Riefenstahl, for example.

        As an amateur black and white photographer and an advertising professional, one of my favorite movies is Triumph of the Will: aside from being a masterpiece of pacing, editing, image composing and framing, it features what may be the most gorgeous black and white photography ever captured on film, yet personally, I would never own a DVD of this particular movie since it’s glorifying an ideology that a large portion of my mum’s family went to war against not long ago, and also, it’s still an inspiration for a lot of jack booted thugs who would, given the opportunity, beat the shit out of a significant portion of my family.

        Also, people have a really hard time believing that you’re not a neo nazi when you have this kind of material in your house.

        It doesn’t matter that Leni Riefenstahl literally spent 30+ years atoning through her latter work (her color photographs of Africa are incredible, or the fact she was one of the world’s greatest female cinematographers and directors at a time when the only roles women had within the movie industry were as actresses, seamstresses, make up artists or low level clerks: because of her involvement with nazism in her early films, people will always have a problem with her art.

        Now let’s talk about Wagner, who, was a German nationalist and a virulent antisemite (like most XIXth century nationalists were), but he never called for “exterminating those awful jews”.

        His antisemitism was more in line with historic German antisemitism, as in, “German jews don’t really love the fatherland and their real allegiance is with Zionism first and the German Empire second, we should limit their influence in state affairs and deporting them wouldn’t be such a bad idea”, and opinion the majority of Germans held back then.

        Years later, nazis were inspired and appropriated his artistic work, and that made his antisemitism seem much worse from association, but truth is, Wagner wasn’t that different from the average late XIXth century German in his views.

        Same with Lovecraft, who, btw, married a Jewish woman, and had a lot of non white friends, his racism was more about eugenics and racial purity (pretty common views in the 20s and 30s) than actual racial violence or considering whites inferior.

        So yes, you’re absolutely right, the actual point you get to separate the creation from the creator is more dependent of the relation and influence to the current cultural context, than the amount of time passed.

    • Martin Knap

      … or stop using predicate calculus or Frege programming language because Gottlob Frege was an nazi-sympatizer (just thought of another example :-))

      • Interesting you say that because I’m sure that with a bit of effort we could find examples all around many fields. Aeronautics and Von Braun. Medicine and some of the most depraved research in the death camps. It’s tough man ?

        • Martin Knap

          haha, yes. or all first presidents of the United States because of indian genocide and slavery ;-). I think the analogy between excellence in intellectual pursuits and excellence in artistic pursuits and their not being very connected to the author is valid ; art is not about the people who do it as such, but it’s about the pursuit of excellence and the transcendental (beauty), same for intellectual pursuits (here the transcendental is truth). I think that in the end the asshledom of artists comes back to bite them – case in point: nobody gives a shit about Vikernes’ newest creations.

      • Whiskeyjack

        Or wearing Hugo Boss clothes as he was the Nazi who designed the uniforms for the SS!

        • Martin Knap

          hell, I didn’t know that. I have a HB suit, shoes and two shirts… I think I’ll keep them, but no more HB for me :-)

    • I think the distinction here is that some things are art, but some other advancements aren’t. I don’t think cars or programming languages are art. (I can hear the faint shouts in disagreements from car lovers.) Fashion (i.e. Hugo Boss, Chanel…) I’m uncertain about, but in these cases and also Ford’s, it’s a brand name and that particular person behind it isn’t alive anymore.

      On the other hand, comes up the question that what is art? What is the point and purpose of art? I don’t really believe art is what is there for purely entertainment, and as it is, it has a certain responsibility to reflect things about human nature. If it does not, it’s simply a creation, not art. If we argue that there is a ‘meaning’ to pieces of art, then we should be conscious of what the thoughts of the creator were, even if our own interpretation or that particular piece don’t really reflect that.

    • Hulksteraus

      I am with Stephen Fry on Wagner. Despite his anti-semetic views and despite the Nazi party purloining his music for their political purposes, his music was powerful influential and well written. And yes he is dead, so your money is going to Capital Music or whoever owns the rights these days… Yay for Capitalism!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I have a lot of admiration for Stephen Fry — a great actor (comic and dramatic), writer, and philanthropist. He was great working side-by-side Hugh Laurie in Jeeves and Wooster.

    • Grymm

      How did I forget Wagner? Good catch!

    • Oberon

      Well ABBA has a connection to the Lebensborn Project, should we not listen to ABBA because of that?

      • You should not listen to ABBA period.

      • Fisting_Andrew_Golota

        No, we should not listen to ABBA because they’re disco.
        (but thanks for getting my ass over to Wikipedia to look up that tidbit!)

        • Oberon

          I’ve done my job as a half assed educator then

  • Pablo Joaquin Rapetti

    In my case, I cant Nagash from The Kovenant. After seeing the man insult a fan for asking about Aria Galactica, I am not able to listen to anything with his input.

  • I think we can separate the stupid from the music if the musician’s good and doesn’t interject the stupid into the music.

    But, that said, there are some really heinous people who no matter how good their music is, their lives have bled into the music irrevocably. I am all for free speech, and Dave Mustaine sure exercises his quite a lot, but I do like his music (I actually liked SuperCollider a bit. Not their greatest, but good nonetheless.)

    I even tolerate Gene Simmons’ nonsensical ramblings that really show he detests fans these days. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been muzzled by Paul Stanley. :)

    Ted Nugent has some shall we say, extreme views, but the music (was) good enough that I enjoyed it. Who didn’t enjoy M.O.D. and S.O.D. as campy fun heavy hardcore? Sure Billy Milano’s a bit Nugent-y at times, but he’s consistent, and his lyrics, while as crass as Andrew Dice Clay, are funny too.

    I am not interested in “message” music. I like music that doesn’t follow the pop formula, and heavy metal is that music. I mean, where else can you find a musical version of the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that doesn’t suck except in metal? :)

    Those who take their politics seriously and it bleeds into their music generally write shitty music.

    Life’s too short to worry about the small stuff. :)

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I guess a lot comes down to how much of the artist is in the art.
    For me personally I subscribe to the view that the standard you walk by is the standard you accept and I don’t accept bullying, homophobia, racism, misogyny and generally all forms of being a weak piece of shit.

    The artist that I think is getting a big pass right now is Leviathan. I won’t ever be able to listen to that guys music because, rapist.
    The metal verse dropped it’s bundle over Judd ripping fans off (not defending Judd here) with his mail order scam but seems to be largely OK and happy to just not think about Leviathan.

    • Not that I’m trying to change your mind, but just so you know, and as far as I know, out of the dozens of criminal charges against Jef Whitehead he was only found guilty of Aggravated Domestic Battery and he got 2 years probation for that. All the craziest rumours (like the one where he allegedly assaulted his then girlfriend with a tattoo gun) were nothing but slander aggrandized by the media for the sake of scandal.

      So about him “getting a pass for rape” it’s a bit of an exaggeration.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        I don’t know man I’m a big believer in redemption (not religious) stories and second chances but he made a whole leviathan record shaming his victim.
        Courts are hard on victims and the whole process favours the perps in domestic / sexual violence. He got off a lot easier than her I imagine.

        • Oh come on. The music might as well also be an outlet for the frustration and emotional anguish of the whole situation. “Victim shaming” seems a stretch to me but I guess you can interpret the album however you want to. You of course are not obligated to believe his story and you can decide to take it as an example of the problems of the US judicial system that are of course not negligible. But having followed the trial I thought there where enough inconsistencies in her story to give him more than the benefit of the doubt. Still, you are entitled to your own stance on the subject.

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            I know a lot of people really like his music I did, but I can’t enjoy his art anymore particularly if he’s releasing it as Leviathan…
            No one outside of a few will know what really happened but one thing is for certain, it’s a mans world and victims of sexual assault are totally let down by the justice system, it’s just too easy for defence lawyers to manufacture doubt. You don’t go to court unless it’s real.

            Before his trial Whitehead enjoyed the presumption of innocence and a fan base of support, she got the presumption of being a bitch/slut and even had a record released, True Traitor True Whore that explicitly attacks her…and I think its fair to say was intended to shame and hurt her. and you would have to think did.
            She even had to deal with Blake Judd publicly questioning her credibility…

            Anyway I hope he gets his shit together and doesn’t hurt anyone else…

          • It’s not about liking the music or not, It didn’t helped his case, that’s for sure, it was most likely a juvenile attempt at lashing out. Still I understand that as an artist, there are very few avenues where you can express your extreme emotions other than your craft.

            Anyway, as someone who has had a very close acquaintance thrown in jail for a while by a false accusation of domestic abuse I may be slightly biased to believe against the man’s world notion and the fair dispensation of justice, and most of all, against the black and whiteness of actual life events. And still everyone will believe what they want to believe and make peace with it as they will.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Grymm, excellent write-up. Lots of thought-provoking stuff here in the comments too! I don’t think this will be a popular take, but it’s my two cents on the issue. I’ve found feeling “guilty” about enjoying things like Burzum to be a largely unnecessary conflation of the personal and political. It’s ludicrous to assume that endorsement of the art implies a total endorsement of the artist’s personal life and beliefs. Putting ideology/people before music is something I’ve never done and will continue to not do.

    Arghoslent is the best American melo-death band by a wide margin. Yes, their lyrics will offend a whole lot of people, but listening doesn’t mean endorsement. That’s another conflation of the personal and political, and seems like a strange position; many of us can agree that “The Bleeding” is a tremendous death Metal record, but I don’t think we condone violating women with knives nor force feeding anyone broken glass. Liking Arghoslent doesn’t make you a racist, being racist does. It works on the other side of the coin too: liking Castrator’s “feminist death metal” (which is boring to the point of malice) doesn’t make you enlightened or a good person, reading books and doing good deeds does.

    Finally, I take umbrage with people who have to loudly decry Arghoslent, Burzum, and even Inquisition when that was a thing at every chance they get. Don’t like the bands or the people? Great, don’t listen to them and buy other stuff instead. But unless you have unlimited funds and spend your days buying up all the metal you can find, you’re choosing to not support other bands who write inoffensive lyrics too. Loudly declaring “I’m not buying this because I don’t like the people in the band on a personal level” reeks of moral grandstanding and patting oneself on the back for doing virtually nothing. I should note that this isn’t directed at the awesome dude known as Grymm or any of you good folks in the comments section here, so don’t take anything here as a personal insult, because it isn’t. To restate, this is my general take on the issue and my reasonings for it.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      One thing is certainly true that it takes real skill to make political statements with music, personally I tend to to be less interested in ‘political’ bands … Arghoslent are a bunch of racist fucks…If you’re buying their merch or music you are supporting that, doesn’t mean you’re racist but you are supporting it… and why would you support it ? Plenty of good death metal out there.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        I’d argue the art/artist distinction still applies. Arghoslent’s stuff is released through a label, so anything spent on their music would go to paying back the advance they were given to record and release an album. Contracts in the industry from what I’ve seen prevent the artist from getting a cent from CD sales unless they sell quite a few, and I doubt Arghoslent is cracking the Billboard 100 anytime soon. If one buys an Arghoslent record, they give that money to Drakkar (the label) and whatever distro they buy it from; the band would see pennies at best.

        I’ve never seen an article about them doing any sort of racist political activism or rallies, and while they tend to be on the unpleasant side most of their songs tend to come across as an incredibly callous view of historical events rather than a contemporary racist screed. I don’t look to musicians for politics or morality, so whatever they say really doesn’t bother me as that’s not what I take away from it or even look for going into it. I look to Arghoslent for top-tier melodic death metal with a heavy NWOBHM influence that nobody has managed to capture as well as them. Hopefully that clears a bit up!

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          hmmm maybe,
          Arghoslent write songs in ridiculous olde timey speak about the joyful and righteous murder of jews and blacks. Their songs aren’t about historical incidents, they’re political and purposefully written to shock with racism.
          These guys are either straight up racist fucks or cynical pieces of shit using racism as a marketing tool to attract attention to their crappy music.

          How Argholest release their music is really irrelevant if you buy in you are supporting it.

          Getting back to Grymms piece I cant separate the artist from the art here…because there is so little depth to what these guys are in my view.
          BTW I’m not having a go at you here just ranting a bit ;)

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Don’t take this as me defending the lyrics, but saying there’s no historical content is an outright falsehood. Ancient Greece, World War I, historical Egypt, and 16th century Russia are covered in some of their songs, although their main focus is definitely on colonialism and the slave trade. Lyrically there’s a lot of abhorrent stuff (you’re not wrong with the shocking angle), but there’s a conscious focus on how awful we can be to our fellow men that runs throughout their songs. Again, this doesn’t make it all in good taste, perfectly fine, and fun for the whole family, but I think it’s worthwhile to bring up. I’ve never gotten a political message nor a sense of joy out of them either, in all honesty.

            To answer the inevitable question as to why I’ve read over their lyrics, it’s a case of having an inquisitive mind. I heard outright disdain for their lyrics before I heard the band, and I’m not content having others make judgments for me. Controversy interests me (as it does most people), and when I saw people getting very upset with Arghoslent’s lyrics, I couldn’t exactly join the conversation in good faith without seeing the source material for myself.

            I’m a firm believer in having any and all personal beliefs challenged in any way, as I believe that’s how one grows intellectually as a person and maintains a healthy and well-informed worldview, regardless of if the outcome is revision or reinforcement. That’s why I’ve been enjoying this comments section so much; yourself and many others have been posting intelligent and well-reasoned comments, and I’m thoroughly convinced such a civil and well-rounded addressing of this issue couldn’t have happened anywhere but here. Another addition to the ever-growing list of reasons I’m grateful for the tremendous community we’ve got here at AMG.

        • eloli

          Personally, I consider Arghoslent a bunch of racist cunts who don’t have the balls to act out on their racism. I don’t have a problem with people enjoying their music, but I do have a problem with people defending or justifying their views.
          Also, Internet slacktivism bothers me a lot, but I wouldn’t equate being offended with artist’s views or lyrics and being vocal about it with some kind of moral grandstanding or not being militant about a certain causes like you do.
          Racism, misogyny and homophobia are very big issues to me. Though I’m not personally a part of organizations that work on this issues, I’ve been working pro bono as a communications policy consultant for organizations of this ilk for more than 15 years now.
          Also, in my book, death metal artists with gory, misogynistic lyrics like Cannibal Corpse on a same moral plane than blatantly racist ns bands is simply wrong, since the former are simply inspired by horror movie imagery, while the latter are endorsing ideologies based on racial hatred and violence, they’re obviously not the same thing.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I don’t see how loudly saying “I’M NOT GOING TO BUY THIS THE CREATOR IS A RACIST” is anything but moral grandstanding; not buying it and not making a show of it accomplishes the same goal. Loudly decrying something on the internet is just that: writing something somewhere. It accomplishes nothing yet gives the illusion of a “high horse” position, which is grandstanding in my eyes. Being offended is one thing, and letting everyone within earshot know you’re offended is something else entirely.

            I didn’t argue for WP labels at all, so I’d hope said argument didn’t hold much water as it simply wasn’t there. I have heard of Resistance, and nothing in my extensive music collection comes from there.

            I didn’t defend Arghoslent’s lyrical leanings, but as Americans they’re free to say/growl them. Free speech doesn’t need defending if it’s stuff everyone agrees with, and I’ll never advocate for anyone to be denied their rights; the marketplace of ideas will sort it out, and untenable positions will be quickly exposed as such. Everyone’s free to not buy/listen to it as well. Arghoslent hide behind stage names and only make live dates available and known to a select group of people (of which I’m NOT one) because of various threats to their well-being. I don’t think I need to point out the cowardice and shitty behavior present there from so-called “tolerant” people. Again, not defending every word the band pens, but the sword cuts both ways.

            Finally, I’ve only said positive things about their music because it’s great. I endorse their riffs and song structures and disagree with some of their lyrics (“The Grenadier” for instance deals with a position in the French military, and is not at all racist or harmful), simple as that. I’ve said it above, but to reiterate: I don’t look to Arghoslent to influence my worldview or personal politics, I look to them for musical enjoyment. Again, the personal is *not* the political, and if one were to pay Arghoslent’s label (which isn’t WP, by the way) for their music I see no harm done. As for spreading an ideology, hateful ideology is spread in plenty of ways, and shit like Al Sharpton’s lunatic tirades have done more to set back race relations than Arghoslent could’ve done even if “Galloping Through the Battleruins” made it to No. 1 on Billboard.

          • eloli

            “Arghoslent hide behind stage names and only make live dates available and known to a select group of people (of which I’m NOT one) because of various threats to their well-being.”

            Because they’re a bunch of chickenshit racists, if they were honorable or weren’t actual wp terrorists, they wouldn’t need to hide. They don’t deserve any respect, they’re literally shitty cowards, they, and the retarded racist yokels who go to their gigs can drop dead for all I care.

            “I don’t think I need to point out the cowardice and shitty behavior present there from so-called “tolerant” people. Again, not defending every word the band pens, but the sword cuts both ways.”

            You’re actually defending the band a lot, methinks. :D

            Also, even if “the sword cuts both ways”, it tends to cut non whites, women and homosexuals a lot more than it cuts white straight guys.
            I’ll see your Al Sharpton and raise you a George Zimmerman, . :D

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            I didn’t say anything about “black people being intolerant”, you added that. Sharpton’s race didn’t play a factor in my position, but his *comments* about race do. The Sharpton/Roof comparison is a non-sequitur at best, as while Sharpton is a criminal (tax evasion to the tune of about 4.5 million dollars), he’s not a violent one; comparing the two is intellectually dishonest. He says glaringly ignorant things based around race, which is something Arghoslent sometimes does as well. Until I see criminal records showing any member of Arghoslent committed a violent race-based crime, Roof is a poor, misleading, and intellectually dishonest comparison to them as well.

            And yes, I absolutely do think Arghoslent has “something to fear”…do you not remember the Black Pussy debacle? How about the CommunismKills nonsense, when a blogger posted a limerick some “tolerant” people deemed offensive and it ended with her receiving death threats, her identity spread about the internet, her losing her job, her mother’s address and credit card info getting leaked, and plenty of very detailed descriptions of barbarity the mother and daughter “deserved” for writing words on the internet. I brought up Sir Timothy Hunt in another comment, but he applies too. So we have threats of vandalism and personal harm, violent and detailed death threats with private information maliciously leaked, and the ruination of a storied career in fighting cancer over things less offensive than Arghoslent’s music. Something to fear? Absolutely. Also, the sweeping dismissal of the American South as a hotbed of racism and White Power supporters was a nice and tolerant touch.

            To spell it out again, I’m not defending Arghoslent’s lyrics or personal positions or viewpoints, because what music I or anyone else listens to is not an inherently political statement. If I started praising the ideologies of White Power labels and listening to bands *because* they’re on such labels and have such ideologies, then I’m applying identity politics to music, conflating the personal and political, something I don’t do. What I *am* defending is Arghoslent’s right as an American band to write and perform those lyrics. You’ll note that I didn’t call for Sharpton to be silenced either, as he’s free to say what he wishes, even if some people find it harmful.

            “The sword cuts both ways” wasn’t referencing what you said above whatsoever, and your connecting it with white power arguments at worst reads as an attempt to subtly discredit my argument by implying that it’s bigoted and at best is mere strawmanning; I didn’t raise any of the points you’re arguing against, you did. Rather, it was alluding to nobody being above the law, even if some goons on the internet think they’re beyond reproach for using threats of violence to silence a band they disagree with because it’s “right” or some nonsense.

          • eloli

            “What I *am* defending is Arghoslent’s right as an American band to write and perform those lyrics. You’ll note that I didn’t call for Sharpton to be silenced either, as he’s free to say what he wishes, even if some people find it harmful.”

            I’m not calling out to silence Arghoslent either.

            “it was alluding to nobody being above the law, even if some goons on the internet think they’re beyond reproach for using threats of violence to silence a band they disagree with because it’s “right” or some nonsense.”

            Well, as far as I know, Arghoslent have been active as a band since 1991, published their first CD in 1998, and Incorrigible Bigotry, the release that made them famous in underground circles, came out in 2002, a good five before social media became preponderant and ten years before Internet mob mentality and threats became a thing, so let me be a little skeptic about the band’s true motivation towards keeping anonymous. Hold that thought, I’m not being skeptical, I actually think they have ties to violent wp organizations, and that’s the reason they choose to remain anonymous, and that they’re also a bunch of chickenshits.

            “the sweeping dismissal of the American South as a hotbed of racism and White Power supporters was a nice and tolerant touch.”

            What do Arghoslent, the KKK and Dylan Roof have in common? Hint: it’s not their love of heavy metal. :D

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            A cursory search of Metal Archives pulls up full names for most members, so I wouldn’t say that’s a high degree of anonymity. The mailing list exists for more current shows (I’ve no idea what their old protocol was for that), and is what my argument referred to. And do you have any evidence of them being linked to violent White Power organizations? If not, that’s speculation and entirely useless to the discussion as it’s basically softened libel disguised as a valid point.

            As for your final question, what was the objective? To imply the conclusion that the South is a hotbed for racism because a melodic death metal band with lyrics that are offensive sometimes, a splintered organization the SPLC puts at 8000 total people maximum, and a mentally ill young man come from there? That line of thinking wouldn’t hold up in a first year paper.

          • eloli

            No, I don’t have any evidence that Arghoslent has any link to any wp organizations, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had. If you find my speculation libelous, feel free to contact the band so they can sue me, I see it very difficult for any judge siding with the band based on the good ‘ol “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck” logic. :D

            I wonder why anyone would waste so much energy defending a bunch of racist cunts, but to each his own, I guess. :D

            Regarding my last question, yes, I wanted to imply that, since the South is the most virulently racist geographical area in the US, its not really that surprising that it spawned a terrorist organization responsible for more than a century of violence towards blacks, a melodic death metal band whose lyrics promote racial violence against non whites and justify slavery and segregation, and a mentally ill young man that kills people on a church with the intention to start a race war.

            Are you trying to contend the idea that compared to the rest of the US, the South is, and has always been significantly more racist? Because that line of thinking wouldn’t hold up on a grammar school show and tell..
            Well, that’s not exactly true.
            That line of thinking would go a long way in a lot of one of those Southern schools that don’t teach evolution, funded by a school board that wants to bring back segregation. :D

          • eloli

            Let’s stop beating around the bush for a minute and call a spade a spade: the South, is, and has been, the most racist geogrphical/cultural area in the US. The KKK is a terrorist organization, and 8,000 members willing to commit racial violence is a big issue. Dylan Roof might have mental issues, but people with mental issues on other cultural contexts don’t lash out killing black people to start a race war. So yes, I was implying that the Sout is a hotbed for racism, and in that context, it’s not really that surprising that a band like Arghoslent sprouts. That’s a pretty coherent line of thinking.

            Regarding your question of the having proof about the band being affiliated or connected to violent wp organizations, no, I have no proof, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had, and, my speculation is not really that far fetched.

            I may concur that not all wp bands (regardless of genre) will take cross the line towards actual racial violence, but it’s very naive, IMO, to deny the fact that a significant number of wp bands do, and that this is a problem, I think.

            I’m not condemning people listening to wp bands, I believe that as long as what you’re doing doesn’t harm anyone, you’re free to pursue your own happiness. Also, I’m not calling for a wp band censorship.

            But, what I can’t agree with is a) Defending wp bands and whitewashing (pun intended) their behavior, b) Denying that wp bands are not a problem within the metal scene or that because there are bigger racism issues, wp bands are not a big deal and c) That being offended by racism and being vocal about it is akin to a moral failing.

            About c), that’s what irks me the most. Personally, one of my dearest, closest friends in heavy metal is a complete Burzum fanboy, and I’m not thrashing him endlessly, or lecturing him about Varg. Also, I almost never talk about the issue of racism in metal or wp bands, unless the situation calls for it, like in this thread. I have a lot of bona fide racists within my family and coworkers, and we coexist peacefully.

            And finally, let’s get personal.
            About four years ago, I attended a gig for a local band in which a good friend of mine played guitar. The band that was sharing the bill with my friend’s band was fronted by some racist nitwit with whom I had a problem a couple of years beforehand, he insulted me for being a “race traitor” because I had brought my then girlfriend (now wife) because he considered her “too dark” for me. I know, the world is full of assholes. :D
            Well, after that gig, this asshole invited my friend to play in his new project, which was a wp band. I told my friend something along the lines “you sure you want to play with this nutjob”? and he told me something like “you know, I don’t condone racism myself, but the music’s really good, and I think I can steer the band towards a much better lyrical direction”.
            Months passed, and this new project became a very good, non ns black metal band that attained some local notoriety, enough to be the opener for a high profile (for our market) Satyricon gig.
            In the days before the gig, the “nutjob” started spewing endless anti semitic, racist tirades on all available channels, to the point my friend was kind of worried the gig would be boycotted. The actual gig was great, it went without a hitch, stupid racist between song banter notwithstanding. After the gig, I told my friend something along the lines “man, this guy’s the worst, you should ditch the band” and he told me “you’re right, but I’m not so sure, you know, the music sounds great.
            Months passed, and my friend got so fed up with this douchebag’s douchebaggery that he finally bailed on the band. About three months after this, this douchebag and the band’s bassist got involved in a hate crime, and had to leave the country in a hurry to avoid jail time.

            Now, what’s the point of my story, you may ask.

            Well, my point is that I tend to associate wp music to wp violence, and this is based on my own life experience, I’m 42, and I’ve yet to meet a virulent racist that, given the opportunity, won’t engage on racial violence.

            And that’s simply why I find wp bands, and the idea of defending them so appalling.

            I don’t have anything against people who like to listen to wp bands, or think they’re automatically racist, but I really don’t see the point in defending said bands, in my book, they’re low life scum at best and criminals at worse who don’t deserve the effort people put in defending.

            My knee jerk reaction is to think that anyone that defends a wp band (not it’s right to free speech) is racist, but over the years, I have learned to give people the benefit of the doubt.

            I may hate Arghoslent and find it incredibly weird that someone should waste time defending them or justifying their actions, but I don’t think that makes you racist or that we can’t have a civil, friendly conversation.

            In this context, I’m just asking you to understand that a lot of people can be really offended by wp music and view this bands as a problem within the metal scene, and that position doesn’t necessarily have to come from moral grandstanding, it might come from people’s values, as I like to think it’s my case.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Didn’t mean to come across as a prick if that’s what you’re somewhat getting at, apologies if I did. When dealing in blanket statements as we both are, it’s nice to see a personal story emerge to give insight to one’s position, so thank you for sharing that.

            You’re misunderstanding my position on SJWs. Someone like Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. *isn’t* an SJW. An SJW is a deserved pejorative for an authoritarian bigot who attempts to use the government and/or economically coercive means to punish and silence those they disagree with. Ironically, the “what’s wrong with wanting more social justice?” line is a motte and bailey styled argument typical of that movement. Who doesn’t want justice? Bigots and bad people, of course! See what I’m getting at?

            I mentioned a few examples of silencing and ruination of lives by SJWs with Black Pussy, Sir Timothy Hunt, and blogger CommunismKills above. Note the lack of debate via immediate attempts to shut it down before it can even start. A course dealing with the SJW endorsed “white privilege” concept that’s mandatory for teachers in Oregon has had it’s content leaked, and it tells that every single white person is racist by virtue of being white (see Coaching for Educational Equity). A simple terminology switch I won’t do here will reveal how bigoted that is. Were you aware that a university in Ontario that I won’t name here has an “anything but white” scholarship worth $10k for graduate studies to ensure a more “diverse” campus? No academic requirements, no essay requirement, just don’t be white. How do I know? I applied to it (before I knew of that scholarship), and I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that this isn’t a unique phenomenon.

            The root of all this “justice” is the idea that equality must be enforced. Everyone where I am is entitled to their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is a wonderful equality and should be understood by every citizen. With SJW types, “equality” translates to “quotas” and “listen and believe”. You’ll see this in the scholarship I described: more non-whites are needed, because there’s presumably too many white people there. Not because it will add academic rigor (hence the lack of grade or essay requirements), but because there needs to be more for “equality”. Earlier I brought up Castrator and their highly praised “feminist death metal” that’s really just boring mid-aughts br00tal-core that we don’t need, ideology be damned. There’s a reason the vast majority of reviews spent about as much time on the members’ identities and ideology as they did the music within: conflating the personal with the political and moral grandstanding, another common SJW tactic. As for “listen and believe”, if you need to use the state or economically based coercion to stifle debate instead of engaging in it, chances are your theories deserve to die in the marketplace of ideas (see “safe spaces” in modern colleges, another SJW effort). Also, it assumes an inherent weakness, emotional fragility, and a lesser intelligence in anyone who could be “offended” too, which to me is more offensive than Arghoslent growling mean things over killer riffs.

            That’s my problem with SJWs. They’re more bigoted than Arghoslent. Do you not see that with the academic quotas/scholarships above they’re insinuating that those who aren’t white are so weak and helpless that they need the guiding hand of the state to help them succeed academically? Do you not see that with “white privilege” they’re treating men and women like children, saying “nothing’s your fault, blame white people for everything”? It’s creating victims, not leaders and great men and women. MLK would and vocally did resent that, I resent that, and even Arghoslent resents that. Guitarist Holocausto outright loathes “white power” types who take Arghoslent as an endorsement of their views, calling them “miserable and wretched” people. Another telling quote from the man is something we can all agree with: “A man is made within, not without”.

            Am I insinuating that you’re an SJW? No, it was a discussion of a wider issue. As for point C), I specifically said from the outset that I’m not accusing people here in the comments section of moral grandstanding, rather it’s my general take on the issue. I stand by that statement. Hopefully that clears a bit up.

          • eloli

            Well, as much as I understand where you’re coming from, I can’t deny the fact that white privilege is a thing, I’ve benefited from it all my life. Same with male privilege. I was born a boy to a white, affluent family in a Latin American country with the possibility of applying for British citizenship from my mother’s side: birth wise, that’s as close as you can get to winning the lottery. :D

            So really, it would be incredibly douchy on my part to deny that I was born with a huge advantage over a lot of people, and I find it really hard to empathize with people who can’t grasp something that’s so evident.

            Maybe the scholarship you mention is scandalous in it’s own way, but if you put it within the context of how hard is for non whites to access tertiary education, and how many scholarships whites get, it doesn’t seem so bad IMO.

            I fundamentally disagree with you on the notion that minority quotas, based on ethnic, gender or sexual orientation, create victims, IMO, they are still a very small compensation for the huge handicap non whites and women have to face on a daily basis. To me, those quotas are not a bigoted expression that “women, blacks and gays” are “lesser people” than “white heterosexual guys” who “need extra care”, they’re just a way to do something to help groups who face systemic hurdles that I don’t have to simply for having light skin and blue eyes.

            I can give you a very long list of leaders, not victims, who became relevant leaders in incredibly big social justice causes, by using these quotas and opportunities, which are sadly not enough IMO, but that would be a waste of time.

            Personally, even if I can agree that a lot of people people take the expression “white privilege” as a shorthand for “black people who blame white people for everything and forget about accountability”, I think it’s still a very powerful concept white people should think more about, since we live in a system where chances are that if you’re born white, your life will almost surely turn out a lot better than if you are born black, regardless of personal responsibility issues.

            I’m all for debating any issue, but if you think that non PC ideas are unjustly silenced by blanket statements and oversimplification, it also happens with opposing ideas that are also ridiculed, and that doesn’t help a sensible debate on issues either.

            Anyhow, I’m glad we can discuss this on civil terms, but please, no more Arghoslent quotes for me, nothing these guys do or say will make me change my opinion about them. :D

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            At this point we’re going to have to agree to disagree, which is fine; the world would be a pretty bleak place if everyone had the same opinions, and opportunities for learning and intellectual growth would be nil. It’s not that I’m not enjoying this debate (because I am), but we’ve been straying very far from the original topic and into a more strictly political realm here, which is best suited for a separate forum that covers such topics instead of what is, at heart, a site about heavy metal. I’d be happy to continue it in one such place, however, as I’m not lacking in a rebuttal, but I don’t think AMG is the place to proceed with further discussions on the topics we’re now breaching, if that makes any sense.

    • Grymm

      And i thank you for the kind words, Diabolus.

      Again , many can separate art from artist in that case. No judgment from my part, as I know you are actually a pretty cool guy on AND off of here. I just can’t do it myself in cases like that.

      Thank you so much, brother! :)

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        And I applaud you for at once standing by your convictions whilst completely respecting others in such a thorny topic. If that’s not class, maturity, and professionalism, I don’t know what is. You deserve every kind word sent your way my friend!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Well said, and you’ve made me face some ugly truth about myself. It’s very easy to rally against racism online; much harder to actually get off your ass and go downtown to an Anti-racism rally (something I have to admit I’ve never done). Thanks, Diabolus (seriously!).

  • Alexandre Barata

    Meh as an anti-communism/extreme left-wing and anti-racism guy I shouldn’t listen to anyone at all, but as I love Dali’s paintings, although he was a cunt, I love lots of bands whose ideals I simply loathe. Call me hypocrite but art is art, not the inner (or not so much) ideals of the artist.

  • Óðinn

    This is a great article, although I’m almost hesitant to say anything anymore, even in agreement. I’ve had these discussions on other metal websites, only to be attacked by the rank and file metalheads who proudly drag their knuckles and toe the old school metalhead line, which means that metal fans aren’t allowed to be educated, liberal, intelligent, political, or progressive in anyway. Regarding Hunter Hendrix, he did nothing wrong, and his writings were not an attempt at pretention, frivolous, or much different than other academics produce when studying music, film, or art theory at a serious level within an academic setting. He has harmed nobody who didn’t take it upon themselves to be insulted by the intelligence of another human being.

    Yes, Blake Judd did some bad things, but there is room for forgiveness there. I don’t believe that he (or most people) would want to be a drug addict. Not listening to his music will achieve nothing.

    I’ve had arguments that have gone on for hours about Pantera and their use of the confederate flag with those who are determined to keep the fact that the flag is a symbol of racism and slavery a secret, even in 2015. Instead they peddle the narrative that it means “southern pride”and nothing more. We all know that Phil Anselmo has held very racist views. We’ve seen his racist rants on YouTube, we’ve seen him yell “white power” and give a Nazi salute, we’ve seen his Neo-Nazi trisekelion shirts, but most of us (metal fans) give him a pass. Personally I just don’t listen to Pantera anymore. It just doesn’t mean that much to me that I will continue to listen to them. Because of the use of the gratuitous use of the confederate flag, it’s just so obvious that, on some level, Pantera did support racism. I do understand that it can be tough to align your beliefs with all musician though. I listen to a lot of Black Metal, and sometimes I just don’t want to know what they think because it might be abhorrent. It’s probably easier to ignore when I don’t understand the lyrics anyway.

    I guess we all have our limits. I won’t listen to any specifically Christian bands, ones that actively try to force Christianity. I don’t have a problem with listening to Danzig because he owns cats. I do disagree with his politics though, although I still listen to his classic albums. Luckily for me, many artists, like Blackie Lawless, recorded all of their classic material before they became born again Christians or otherwise aligned with social conservatism, I don’t listen to new Megadeth. I don’t agree with Dave’s religion or politics (now), but I haven’t really liked Megadeth’s albums since Rust in Peace anyway. Publicly endorsing Rick Santorum as a presidential candidate, I cannot abide. The same goes for James Hetfield’s trophy hunting. But again, Metallica haven’t released a good album since 1988.

  • Luke_22

    Excellent work Grymm on a really thought-provoking subject that does what any good article should in stirring up an intelligent debate and getting people to analyze and question their own beliefs. It’s also another great indicator of what a fine readership AMG has.

    Personally I try to judge purely on artistic merit as long as ugly beliefs or personalities don’t infiltrate the music or lyrics directly. Certain situations are more difficult to ignore and I was particularly disappointed about the Inquisition controversy.

  • Innit Bartender

    Great article.
    Funny thing, I’m totally with you on the Burzum thing, and for years I’ve been accused of being close-minded and not being able to separate art and artist.
    Actually, I think I’m pretty good at doing that, but still Burzum is a line I won’t cross.
    Another example, just for the sake of discussion. Do you like Caravaggio, the great painter? He’s a murderer. He killed a man and had to flee. But he made a lot of Christian-themed masterpieces.

  • manimal

    Okay, devil’s advocate time.

    A very large part of metal is deeply anti-Christian in nature. And a lot of the lyrical content fantasizes about establishing [Satanism / Neo-Aboriginal-Paganism / Fluffy-Bunnyism] as a dominant ideology above Christianity, quite often in ways that leave very little to the imagination.

    How’s that any different?

    • Grymm

      If I had the space, I would have covered that as well.

      I’m not usually one for religious lyrics, no matter what side of the fence they sit.

      • manimal

        See, now that’s a slippery slope that I find much more interesting than something like Burzum, which is a pretty cut-and-dried case.

        So any band/musician that supports a religious or spiritual ideology you deem irreconcilable with your own will go on your musical version of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum?

        To give yourself a little more wriggling room, your article (quite reasonably so) specifically pertains to people whose deeds and beliefs have a negative impact on society. We’re not exactly dealing with victim-less crimes here. However, even if none of a given band’s members did something publicly despicable, your hard-earned cash would still support a lifestyle, and by extension, an underlying ideology with which your personal values are incompatible, and which has a negative impact on society, relative from your perspective.

        After a (relatively) tolerant first few hundred years, the Catholic church felt the need to one-up the king and put its power on display by persecuting any individual found to harbor heretical ideas. In a not-entirely-dissimilar twist, the 20th century changed the focus from questions of a metaphysical nature to ones of inclusiveness and political correctness. As unthinkable as it was to blaspheme in 1000 AD, so unthinkable it is now to form a bias against any person, or group of people, based on beliefs, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. In the 21st century, political correctness is used to discern between open-minded individuals and close-minded societal heretics.

        And therein lies the point which I’m driving at, which is… discerning between actions and beliefs as wrong or right is fraught with impossibility. I’ve decided to recategorize my own belief system: if something can make my perspective wider, and enrich the experiences I had on this planet before the worms have me for dinner, then I support it. If it narrows my perspective down, then I don’t support it.

        NSBM narrows perspectives down. Vikernes narrows
        perspectives down.

        A band like Tool… I’m not big on Enochian magic, but they certainly don’t make my world a smaller place.

        And having friends of different sexual orientations have made my world bigger, not smaller.

  • De2013

    Excellent article Grymm!

    And you know that two seconds after the picture was taken Glenn sacrificed the kitten in the name of our lord and savior AMG right?

  • IamRipper

    I refuse to support Nazi/ White Power type bands. It shows a lack of brainpower which probably leads to bad music anyways.

  • Wilhelm

    Regarding Bard Faust, I’m surprised that

    1) He killed someone in cold blood (Hate Crime) and is now not only free, but back with Emperor for live shows
    2) That people are not too concerned about this

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I’ve always seen Emperor as Ihsahn’s band and the less I know about him the better. It would be interesting to know what kind of person Faust is now.

  • Arikael

    I always found the people who claim that you have to seperate music from the artist very “strange”
    How can you sepearate somebody like Varg (Burzum) from the music?
    I have no problem with somebody like Mustaine. He just has a different opinion. But there is a difference between a different opinion and openly supporting nazism. And the latest is where my support for any band stops. Even if they created the best song in the world (and not just a tribute) I wouldn’t listen to it!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Point well made Mr.Grymm. I am pretty sure that the people behind grotesquely imaginative songs like the folks from Aborted, Devourment, Deicide etc. are quite apart from what the songs may suggest. This is usually kept in mind while listening to them.
    We also have Nergal, who is a devout Satanist, as a result of which Behemoth songs can seem to wring real (well, some more than the others….especially the ones from “The Satanist”), and many people may hate him for it.But there is some truth in the fact that part of a song’s (or an album’s) ability to be great is to be convincing. And you can’t deny the fact that anything based on true experience will always come out convincing. (Case in point : Blaze of Perdition’s Near Death Revelations)
    Bottom line : You got a great album because they probably meant it.
    Otherwise the topic is quite open for discussion.

  • Slayerformayor

    I’ve never once felt guilty for listening to any piece of music, no matter how atrocious or misguided. Arghoslent is fucking awesome, and early Mayhem and Burzum is good. All day long. I don’t care about the ideology. If some racist, homophobic, psychopathic murderer produces good art, I’m going to listen to it. Hellhammer’s a fucking asshole too…but I’m not going to stop listening to his shit if it’s good. Real simple.

    That being said, I’ve always hated As I Lay Dying. And I’ve never been much of a Phil Rudd apologist.

  • Steve Castaldi

    For me it falls a lot closer to home than I’d like to accept. While it doesn’t make me question my path in anything it certainly upsets me and disgusts me. I have been in a few bands over the last 20 years and I came to find out that one of the two vocalists in a band that I spent a good ten years in was convicted of sexually assaulting and soliciting his own daughter. While this didn’t happen during the times I played music with him I can’t stand to even listen to the cd that we recorded. When I hear his voice I want to reach through the speakers and squeeze the life out of him. Now he had nothing to do with the writing of any of the music or lyrics but the fact that his voice is on there ruins the cd completely for me. It really is a shame too because the rest of the members of the band worked so hard to make a product that we were truly proud of.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    \but as soon as the word “Ukrainian” is thrown in front of it, I’m on their Facebook and Encyclopedia Metallum pages, looking for anything remotely resembling a sunwheel, swastika, Hitler mustache, National Socialistic viewpoints, etc.\

    you are a ignorant prick. note from history book, millions of Ukrainians was killed by Nazis. besides of this, neo-nazi party is existing in many countries. including the fucking OFFICIAL REGISTERED american nazi party.

  • Jeff Kent

    I was just having a similar conversation with a friend about artists who post off-music-topic rants or opinions on their facebook pages. He felt that an offical artist page should stick to music, officially. I on the other hand enjoy getting to know another side of the artist…but as you’ve pointed out, that can be a double edged sword. I know fans who (given the opportunity) choose NOT to meet their musical idols for fear of finding out they’re assholes. My run in’s via the business and doing interviews have been generally positive. Though I did exchange emails with Tim Lambesis the very day before he was arrested…who knew?

  • DeathSSpell

    sounds like a bunch of pc sensitive homo’s of modernity here….i’m no fag basher cos you molestors put no fear in my heart and physically i could take you all on! black metal is meant to be elite/intolerant! heil varg! hail burzum! he killed a communist also euronymous was is a proven closet homo making him a hypocrite plus he had child porn cops found when he died! you not listening to varg sure isn’t gonna make him cry! i know that much…go listen to gaahl then he loves dick, raping men and satan and black metal he sucks vocally though ironically he is in a band viking style and lyrically as a homo that shit is funny….if you’re gonna mention the great arghoslent you forgot the mighty GBK! also ONCE THOR’S HAMMER GREAT NSBM TURNED HOMO HANGING ON BLACK COCKS SMOKING METH AND CRACK NOW, HE WASTED HIS GREAT MUSIC/VOCALS/BANDS…FOR THE DEVIANT JUNKIE HOMO WAY….also moron judd freaking stole money for fake pre orders!!!! idiot! yeah he’s a junkie and hides like a jew rat of greed shooting heroin but point is he stole money from fans on fake pre orders!!!! WHY COULDN’T HE JUST DO THE MUSIC???? THE SHIRTS INSTEAD???? stupid!….

  • Nukenado

    Two years late to all of these comments, but since the discussion isn’t closed I’ll put my thoughts out here, since this is a really heavy subject that plays a part in my enjoyment of music.
    It’s the context of the music that matters.

    I will never listen to Megadeth’s Dystopia. I love the riffs, the songwriting and the vocals. But lyrics are a part of music. And those lyrics, at least to me, are written with anti-immigration and jingoist ideologies in mind. Mustaine has never burned down a mosque, never stabbed someone, but I can’t get behind his modern works due to the political stance the music takes.

    Lyrics are part of the art too.

    Now onto As I Lay Dying. I was huge into metalcore, and Tim Lambesis shook me really hard. But none of As I Lay Dying’s music is about murdering his wife or anything of the sort. I would still not listen to it due to the bad taste it leaves on my mouth, but in this case, the art is seperate from the artist’s beliefs and actions, and I think it’s okay to seperate art and artist while listening.

    So what’s the difference between bands like The Black Dahlia Murder and Emperor?
    In early Emperor songs, they are dead serious with their lyrics. Those lyrics are linked to the artists’ beliefs, and they are to be taken seriously. They did believe in destructive Satanism and paganism, and the lyrics are there to promote them.
    In TBDM, the band writes those lyrics because it’s hokey and cheesy in a B-movie way. The band does not promote the impaling of men on stakes nor baby murder. Thus, the lyrics are not meant to be used to promote those beliefs and actions.
    Both of these bands’ music should be judged with context, but with different results.

    Personally, I never seperate art and artist. Doesn’t mean I’ll boycott everything an artist does, but I’ll be judging them with a tolerence level like I have for real life prople.
    I can tolerate Lovecraft as a person, even though his writings has racist undertones. I can’t tolerate Varg as a person, and I thus refuse his music that also have racist undertones. When context is involved, what context is important to me.

    In short, I believe in the seperation of art and artist when the artist themselves are intending on seperating them or not. When something is written to be enjoyed even when out of context, then context is irrelevant. But when context is intended, I see no reason to seperate the art and artist.