Slack Chat! Beardstroke: Marduk, Nazis and Art

Slack Chat!'s are intended to give our audience a little glimpse into the sort of conversations Kaala members have as they toil away in the Content Mine, breathing in toxic Content dust and scratching at their peeling, paper-like skin. In today's Slack Chat, local oafs Jordan, Jharrod and Matt react to a strange article titled "Towards an ANTIFA of a New Type: Reportback from the Feb 13th confrontation" found at leftist blog Red Guard Austin, which recounts the arguments various Austin leftists were having about whether or not local antifa (anti-fascist groups) should protest Marduk's presence. I would tell you more, but the article disappeared from the blog before I had a chance to read it.

I personally am not a political man. I mean, sure, I was a member of the Communist Party and was also briefly involved with those Baader-Meinhof kids, but whenever some jerk on the street asks me about politics I think of that scene in Casablanca where a Nazi asks Rick (Humphrey Boghart) what his nationality is, to which Rick replies "I'm a drunkard". This gets a laugh from everyone except a fat sour-faced kraut, and Captain Louis (Claude Rains) adds that this makes Rick a citizen of the world. The whole scene is Rick doing his best to dodge the messy politics everyone keeps trying to drag him into (by which I mean the second World War), so let me tell you this: nobody drags Jim Broadly anywhere he doesn't want to go unless they want to eat a bottle. My family comes from a small kingdom of assholes in central Europe that barely survived the Napoleonic Wars only to be absorbed by some other country of assholes after the first World War. Then some Russian assholes took over THAT place, so when someone asks me what country I'm from I tell them I'm an asshole and that I come from a long line of assholes, each one worse than the last, each generation exiting the womb surfing a wave of shit, shouting profanities and demanding morphine from terrified orderlies.

Anyway, here's these goofballs.

Jim Broadly, editor-in-chief

MATT (Kaala Founder, man running from his past): Maybe I'm grossly misinformed but Marduk isn't a NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal. Nasty fuckers. Imagine a white nationalist in corpse-paint, except he's Swedish. -- Jim Broadly) are they? I haven't read all of the article, but I'm willing to bet this is Antifa being grossly misinformed. ...because they do that all the time. I've heard of people passing up Destroyer 666 playing here recently due to worries about that.

JHARROD (writer, researcher, man running towards his past): Yeah, I guess BLM and most Antifa backed out. The blogger called the allies "cowards" and apparently only 20 of them showed up.

MATT: Honestly, I'd like to do a whole lot more research into both sides of the story. Antifa seems outstandingly reactionary and misinformed, much worse than I expected. And really no one I know here likes antifa, except for some punks who are (wait for it) outstandingly reactionary and misinformed themselves. Recently, I heard some antifa members protested a Shitfucker show at a gay club, which makes *no* sense.

JHARROD: well antifa isn't an entirely monolithic organization either. Local organizations act with autonomy. But yeah, I dunno. Maybe misinformed. Or maybe Marduk are a bunch of nazis.

MATT: I've got no info that indicates they are. And they love touring Asia. Look into it, I guess

JORDAN (writer, organizer, man running toward his Pabst): Yeah, saying "antifa are misinformed" is like saying "BLM is is violent". It's a coverall term.

JHARROD: Aye. The Austin chapter is pretty Maoist, given how the Austin Reds are Maoist.

JORDAN: I think it's telling that a lot of these alt-right vloggers aksing "what are we going to do about antifa?" can't even pronounce the word correctly. This is the first time most of suburban America has even heard of the concept of anti-fascism.

MATT: Wait, how are they mispronouncing it?

JORDAN: It's pretty likely that a lot of the new "anTIfa" people are suburbanites themselves. And don't really know what the fuck it's about.

MATT: lol

If you wanted to be a jerk you'd quickly make a brandname t-shirt line like Shemale

"Its a shemalé"

"Its an anTIfa"

JHARROD: Yeah. Throw in the fact a few might have heard that Varg is a nazi, therefore all have NS ties. Which to be fair, on individual levels a lot of people do

MATT: Lol, Varg's pretty much the only possibly NSBM band I (occasionally) listen to. Though (bracing myself) even that's a stretch - I don't know of any lyrics that are outright National Socialist. He is, of course, a shitguzzling Nazi, but I wonder if there's a specific line to be drawn between NSBM as a genre and BM made by shitguzzling nazis. Which kiiiiiinda reminds me on the censorship piece.

JHARROD: I don't think his lyrical content is, as far as I know. Chris would know more about that. I will never purchase any of Varg's shit or merch. But I admit that on occasion to listening to Hvis Lysat on youtube

MATT: Aske and Filosofem are great

JHARROD: I also like Judas Iscariot who used to have some NS ties, but broke them off

MATT: JI is sick. But that brings into the spotlight the age-old argument, particularly in metal/music with harsh vocals, of "does listening to it make you a conceptual accomplice?" And what of those people who are ignorant of what the lyrics are but know the music, which begs the question ought one to research the fuck outta shit before even listening to it, which then leads to other questions/issues...

JORDAN: I'd say yes.

JHARROD: Ignorance of a band being NS is one thing. I would argue that if you still willingly give your money and support that band, then yes

JORDAN: Ignorance really isn't an excuse for supporting a nazi band.

MATT: Hm. I appreciate the sentiment, but especially in the realm of "art" I feel like there's probably some hypothetical leeway to be had there.

JORDAN: Still though, the people who fall into listening to Skrewdriver and so on, do so because they share those values. It's very unlikely that you'd listen to some straight up Neo-Nazi band and not know what they are about.

MATT: Uh

There was a pretty preppy and definitely black hardcore kid in one of my uni classes that wore a Skrewdriver hoodie once. I asked him about it

he was like "oh. shit."

JORDAN: That's probably the most extreme case of a poser I've ever heard.

JHARROD: I would never knowingly give money or go to a show of a nazi band. But usually when I pop on black metal, its on youtube.

JORDAN: How you wouldn't know that they are nazis is beyond me.

MATT: Im just saying, it can happen

JHARROD: Their lyrical content is obviously racist. But still, thats associating the music with intent. Is that an intrinsic pairing? Like, *is it possible* to decouple the intent of the artist with the art that they end up creating

JORDAN: If that art professes and advocates a certain set of values in a non-ambiguous way... No.

MATT: Right, but, for example, with Marduk.

JORDAN: How could you? The art is the medium for spreading the intent. Their intent isn't the same as the intent of a band like skrewdriver.

MATT: Do blast-beats, shrieks, and chainsaw guitars have some sort of a priori nazi-ness to them? I'd argue not. So there are probably shades to this, it's not just black or white

JORDAN: It's obviously possible for leftist to be completely out of touch and ignorant as well. It's a human illness. The id has been there all along. I'd argue that sort of shit comes straight from that primal part of ourselves. Nazism comes from the same place, but the intent is completely different.

MATT: but I mean what if some super extreme underground blackened harsh noise group released like 123 tapes of a record. No artwork, no lyrics, no nothing but the sound on the cassette

JORDAN: What if? You wouldn't know their intent. They could be a total nazi band.

MATT: Right, but people talk

JORDAN: Sure, but how would you know that? You wouldn't.

MATT: No, you wouldn't. Its like schroedingers cat lol

JORDAN: So the intent isn't in the music.

MATT That's what I'm curious about, because I'm not sure it isn't

JORDAN: You could claim it is subtly, but this is getting into some weird metaphysics that, for all intents and purposes, is a waste of time. Music is more or less a primal practice.

MATT: it's just that I think it's pretty impossible if, without references to "human" communication (recognizable visuals, spoken words, etc.), intent isn't being communicated except possibly on a *very* basic level. Like, "Fury" but without a destination

JORDAN: In the simplest terms it'd be some sort of expression of anger.

JHARROD: Without any indicators of intent, the listening experience is even more subjective than it would be anyways

JORDAN: But racial hatred is a much more complex concept than "bang on can and make scary noise."

MATT: Which is where imagery comes in or, rather, spectacle. Notoriety. Rumor. So "bang on can and make scary noise" becomes associated with something like NSBM, despite it not necessarily being NSBM

JORDAN: Imagery can be misconstrued so if they are writing songs about Nazi Germany they are skirting a line that people are likely to misunderstand.

MATT: Well, look, I realize people are idiots, but if I want to write about Weimar Germany I'm not going to color my language in a specific way unless I'm really trying to appeal to my audience.

JHARROD: So was just going through Marduk's lyrics...

MATT: "They're totally nazi's"

JHARROD: Nah I don't think so

JORDAN: "yet the only victory belongs unto the flies". Kind of says it all.

JHARROD: "Oppression's hand reaches forth"

JORDAN: Still though, one could understand why people would see this as glorifying the German army. If they weren't reading closely. It's obviously nuanced and I'm sure they know some people are going to react that way.

MATT: Yeah, but Lemmy glorified the German army. Like REALLY was into Nazi shit, and even the punx back him

JORDAN: Yeah, Lemmy was a huge fan of nazi paraphernalia. But he wasn't a nazi.

JHARROD: [Marduk]'s an ambivalent and nihilist sort of poetry about total war using a known evil antagonist as the fixed historical concept, in my view.

MATT: We should lie about this conversation and say we did it in slack, then use it on the website for Slack Chat! Rendezvous 02: Nazis.

JHARROD: We could actually do that. Jim will do it, that fucking drunk. Anyways, I'm gonna get some sleep. Work in the am

JORDAN: Yeah, I can see that. I think there has to be leeway in art.

MATT: Aight, I'll c/p it and throw it into drive. And yeah, absolutely

JORDAN: But you also have to be aware of what you are putting into your noggin.

MATT: My personal approach is to go into it looking to be confronted with something I don't like or know. Naru mentioned something similar a while back: we both agree that "extreme" music ought to challenge its audience, be it in aural or lyrical or visual content. And what "challenge" can mean changes from person to person

JORDAN: Everyone has a duty to themselves as well as others to examine their lives and thought processes. Because after all, the unexamined life is not worth living.

...I'm a beer deep.

Thus ends the first Slack Chat: Beardstroke edition. I regret every second of it.