Over the weekend, the not-quite black metal outfit Nachtmystium was forced to withdraw from the Scion Rock Fest, in Atlanta, which for a car-company sponsored festival had drawn a shockingly large amount of quality acts: Mastodon, Neurosis, High on Fire, Boris, Converge, Kylesa, Krallice, etc. Nachtmystium were on the bill, too, until their past caught up with them and word got to the corporate sponsors that the band could conceivably be said to have had NSBM–that is, neo-Nazi–ties. And the band’s first record did indeed come out on Unholy Records, an unapologetically National Socialist record label out of West Virginia. Frontman Blake Judd’s statement:
“We’d like to make light of at least one aspect of this situation and use the opportunity to once again clear the air — we are, IN NO WAY, a ‘Nazi’ band. We do NOT support such groups, political beliefs or bands that are affiliated with that world. We have canceled tours in the past and dodged working with bands and people BECAUSE they had these ideologies and we never wanted to be affiliated with it. Yet, here we are, a metal band whose members are more like hippies than your typical leather-clad metal maniacs, and we’re being falsely accused of this association once again. We will be taking legal action against the people who slandered us in this situation, and in the future will file defamation / slander charges against any person or organization who attempts to prevent us from performing anywhere, especially in the United States. We are as offended by this as someone might be at the notion of a Nazi band playing a big corporate-sponsored festival. So — let it be known loud and clear for the LAST TIME, we ARE NOT a Nazi band, ARE NOT political, are certainly NOT racists and DO NOT support that world or any band, person or business affiliated with it.
“My deepest apologies to all of our friends, fans and people who have worked on and supported us being a part of this festival, we are sorry for these awful circumstances and you can be certain this will not defeat us.”
A 2006 Decibel feature did in fact go a long way toward debunking Judd’s NSBM ties. Wrote J. Bennett at the time:
Still, there are many people who will take a certain satisfaction in throwing Judd’s blasé attitude about having had very real dealings with some very bad people back in his face, and that’s what the Scion thing was about, most likely. The inverse point–that black metal has a complicated relationship to ‘NS’ stuff that doesn’t reduce neatly down to the PC dictates of, say, indie-rock; and that this fact is what keeps it dangerous and real to whole large group of people who do not otherwise consider themselves to be racist in any way shape or form–is a common one in the USBM scene.
The irony of what’s happening here is, even as Nachtmystium are being derided as hateful demons by Toyota et al, they’ve been called pussies and worse for far longer by a scene that can’t stand posers. Nor, as Bennett slyly points out at the end of his Decibel feature–totally mandatory reading for anyone who cares about black metal in the slightest–does this reflect well on the Nazi fucks with whom Nachtmystium are being associated, which here might be the silver lining. Bennett quotes a particularly virulent Canadian racist and black metal aficionado, Vjohrrnt V. Wodansson: