White Supremacists Are Using Black Metal To Promote Hate
An investigation into ‘Antichrist Kramer,’ SSP Records, and other labels suggests a history of real-world violence and bigotry
Hendrik Möbus, born 1976, is well-known as a binding agent between the world of American racist movements and the outgrowth of European black metal. Möbus founded the German NSBM band Absurd in the early ’90s and gained infamy in 1993 when he and his bandmates—all under 18 at that point—first knifed and then strangled 15-year-old peer and “race defiler” Sandro Beyer with electrical wire and then featured Beyer’s tombstone on their release Thuringian Pagan Madness. Sent to prison, Möbus became increasingly ideological, and after his parole in 1998 he fronted the German wing of the Heathen Front movement and founded Darker Than Black records. When his parole was revoked for “distributing national socialist propaganda” in his homeland, Möbus fled to Seattle in 1999, where he joined up with several American-based labels to disseminate NSBM.
While the close proximity of black metal and white power is well-documented, it is through Möbus and the aforementioned William Pierce (1933-2002)—best known as the author of The Turner Diaries—that we find a direct connection between white hate and black metal. According to Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s Black Sun, Pierce demonstrated his devotion to hate music when he purchased the white power/hatecore Resistance Records in 1997 when it was in danger of declaring bankruptcy. Pierce saw the ascendancy of black metal as something promising for white power, and in 2000 Möbus moved to Pierce’s West Virginia compound for two months, where, according to Matthias Gardell’s Gods of the Blood, he “helped Pierce secure entry into the black metal scene in the United States and Europe.” In April of 2012 Kramer and Möbus collaborated on a re-release of Absurd’s Asgardsrei, and Darker Than Black has also served as a distributor of SSP recordings.
We can even place SSP within one of Europe’s more healthy breeding grounds of present day European fascism: According to Sofia Tipaldou’s Rock for the Motherland: White Power Music Scene in Greece, Golden Dawn is the most visible of the neo-fascist parties operating in Greece, professing “anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Western” ideology while offering admiration for “the big man of the 20th century, Adolf Hitler.” In June, 2012, the party has 18 seats out of 300 in the Hellenic Parliament, Greece’s legislature. In 2010, Kramer released a live compilation by the Greek band Der Stürmer called Carelian Pagan Madness.As Tipaldou writes, “Der Stürmer” is a loaded reference, and the “influential band … has been trying to revive the Greek nationalist music scene.” Furthermore, “its members also support Golden Dawn.” Violence against immigrants and minorities has increased with the growing prominence of Golden Dawn, while Kramer is not only offering up an explicit endorsement of this band’s ideology, but also affords them an international outlet for their releases (they also appear on Declaration). As of December 2012, SSP releases had more than 40 distributors, from Belgium to Japan. And if Kramer may oppose mainstream showcases for his bands, he has no problem operating within a growing global network that plies hate.
SSP continued to release albums at a quickening pace up until the beginning of 2013, when Kramer abruptly shifted his strategy. In February, Kramer pronounced his two labels dead. “Since October 2012, SSP and ADR were under constant bombardment and investigation from the US Postal Service, US Homeland Security and Paypal,” he explained, adding for good measure that “It was not until the last 6 months that this happened. As to WHY and HOW, that is a moot point at this stage.”
But Kramer wasn’t retiring: He was simply restructuring. All of his music would now be released through a new label called Deathangle Absolution, and his physical operations moved outside of the state. When the net began to close in on his base, he began again. “The onslaughts will never stop,” he promises.
But a greater sense of urgency and consequences among promoters and fans alike might do something to stem the tide of the disgusting and deadly ideology that Kramer and like-thinking white supremacists and Neo-Nazis are using black metal music to promote. When I first saw the cover of Declaration my eyes were drawn to a young girl among the pile of bodies: The Schragin family lost our own to the Holocaust. The youngest member of our family, Arlette, was 2 years old when we believe she was murdered at Auschwitz. Looking at the image, I had to remind myself that this wasn’t just wallpaper to a story but a record of something real and awful that happened to millions of innocent people. It’s the slow creep of the awful into the familiar that is most alarming.
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