When you think about racism, the last thing that comes to mind is music. Now although some extreme Metal bands do adopt racist lyrical topics / beliefs, only a handful of them actually joined pro-racism organizations like the National Socialist Black Metal organization “that promotes Nazi beliefs promotes National Socialist (Nazi) beliefs through their lyrics and imagery. These beliefs often include: white supremacy, racial separatism, antisemitism, and Nazi interpretations of paganism or Satanism.” (from Wiki).
Are we only focusing on Black Metal? Well no, but this topic will be always be a dispute in the Black Metal community because many think that Black Metal focuses on individualism, thus rejecting any form of collectivism (any ideology which favors group goals over individual goals), which implies that Black Metal should be anti-racist as well.
Slayer is one of the bands who’re constantly accused of being sympathetic to Nazis, whether it’s because of their eagle logo (reminiscent of Germany’s coat of arms) or the lyrical topic on Reign In Blood’s “Angel Of Death” song which talks about Nazi physician Josef Mengele (more about Mengele). Jeff Hanneman later denied all these allegations and claimed that he wrote the lyrics because he is merely interested in such topics, similar to the way Tom Araya is interested in serial killers. Did Slayer pave the way for pro-racism Metal music to come?
On the other side of the equation, anti-racist Metal organizations like “Metalheads Against Racism” soon formed to counter the media exposure of the racist groups and clear up Metal’s name from any sort of association with racist ideologies.
They don’t have a “blacklist” of racist Metal bands, but they do have a big list of bands and media websites who support the following points:
1. We believe that all human beings are born equal.
2. We believe that multiculturalism is neither unnatural nor dangerous.
3. The Metal scene is not open to those propagating the idea that some people are inferior to others because of their race or culture. We will not allow Heavy Metal to become a forum for their racist views.
Although racism’s reach is still insignificant in the Metal community, its presence can be exploited by false advertising aiming to ban non-racist Metal bands from performing in a certain country by saying that “Metal is known for promoting racism”. The majority of the racist bands are nowhere near popular, they usually release their music online and are banned from performing at any major international Metal events. This is clearly a sign of a community which doesn’t tolerate racism but prefer getting their anger dose from topics like war, revenge and political corruption among others.