Black metal show shut down, police feared Milo Yiannopoulos protest-like violence
Swedish black metal vets Marduk are no strangers to nazi accusations, and those accusations were brought back up during the band's recent US tour with Incantation, which wrapped up a few days ago in Seattle. The accusations stem from Marduk's use of nazi imagery, WWII themes, and questionable lyrics and interview quotes, though Marduk and many of their fans insist that they aren't nazis. Antifa and Black Lives Matter groups got wind of the tour, and began protesting it online.
As a video posted by Metal Blast describes, Black Lives Matter Austin organized a protest against the February 13 show at Grizzly Hall. The show did end up happening, but a few people showed up with signs to protest outside the venue.
The Oakland show, which was scheduled to happen a few days later at Metro Opera House (2/18), was protested by the group Anti-Fascist Action Bay Area. Here's an excerpt from the Antifa group's now-deleted Facebook post:
Heads up: The Oakland Metro Operahouse has scheduled to host Marduk, a black metal band with known white supremacist ties from Sweden that profits off of glorifying Nazi imagery and songs about Nazi SS officers and anti-semitism, on Saturday, February 18th.
Marduk has just kicked off a tour in the U.S. called Frontschwein North America 2017 tour. ‘Frontschwein’ is the name of their latest album which is entirely about the Third Reich. The term ‘Frontschwein’ (meaning Frontline Pig) refers to the nickname given to Nazi field marshal Walther Model because he preferred to lead from the front and was known for his abuse and crudity.
One of Marduk’s album is called ‘Panzer Division Marduk’ (referring to the Nazi armored tank division in WWII). Another Marduk album, ‘Warschau’ (the site of a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust), uses photos of Nazi tanks rolling through the rubble of Poland as cover and booklet artwork. The album sleeve of ‘Iron Dawn’ and album cover of ‘Here’s No Peace’ also show pictures of Nazi tanks. The title on the cover of “Here’s No Peace’ is arranged in such fashion as to resemble an honorific cuff band, a type of distinction badge which the German Wehrmacht allowed individuals who were serving (or had served) in some elite units (Grossdeutschland division, named Waffen-SS divisions) or who took part of renowned campaigns to wear (North African campaign, assault on Crete).
This time the show was actually cancelled.
A post on the venue's Facebook revealed that police said, "based on the riot that occurred in Berkeley in regards to Milo Yiannopolous speaking at the university it is reasonable to believe that there would be a threat to public safety if these groups showed up to protest Marduk."
The venue posted their own statement, saying, "In the last week we have read interview after interview with Marduk spanning over the last 20 years and found no statements indicating the band are white supremacists, nationalists, or anti-immigrant. That being said, we don’t want to subject our security staff, venue staff or the public to violence. Our staff is almost exclusively POC and/or LBGTQ and they have all expressed the desire to work, but as we are getting threats, we just can’t risk it. So, in the interest of safety, and because the Oakland Police Department would have insisted anyway, we have canceled the Marduk performance on Feb 18."
In that same post by Anti-Fascist Action Bay Area, they also point to a 2014 interview with Metal Blast where Marduk founder/guitarist Morgan Steinmeyer Håkansson was talking about Burzum leader Varg Vikernes' anti-Semitism and said, "It’s strange that it’s illegal to dislike a religion. I find it really strange that you can’t have certain views but, well, I know the way it works."
Metal Blast interviewed Morgan in 2013 about the band's Nazi accusations too:
How shocking was it for you when, way back when, you were accused of associations with National Socialism.
I was not shocked because I’m not shocked by anything, but I was more surprised by the stupidity. It’s strange that you can sing about certain historical topics but not about others. Some big magazines tried to boycott us and were sending faxes, back in those days, to promoters telling them avoid us, but that only made us stronger. I’m fascinated by certain historical aspects and we will continue to write about them as long as it is inspiring to write lyrics about it, and if it’s World War II it’s fine with me, and if somebody has a problem with it they can fuck off. Slayer, Motorhead, they have done it before and I don’t see a reason why not to do it.
Well, Slayer were called nazis as well, even though Tom Araya is particularly latino.
In your case, you also got a lot of flak in Germany because of an interview from 1995 in which you mentioned the pride for your grandfather serving in the German army.
That’s not strange if you are half German and your grandfather was German. Most of the grown ups, even young people, served in the German army so for me it’s not strange.
In another Metal Blast video following the cancellation of the Oakland show, they claim to have "debunked" the accusations made by the Antifa and BLM groups. Metal Injection add that they're "pretty sure" Marduk are not nazis. Are you sure?
Upcoming shows at Oakland Metro Operahouse (located an hour north of the horrible flooding happening in San Jose right now), include Vader, Infest, Exhumed, Conan and other metal gigs. Jello Biafra is there on March 3rd.