LOVE RACISM HATE MUSIC
Scumbalina endures audial misery and risks her relationship with her neighbours to explore the shady and rubbish world of far right music
Over here on the sunny side of right-on street, amongst the socialists, the anarchists, the crazy beatniks and radicals, we mostly avoid the really naughty things in life, or at least tut disapprovingly when they rear their ugly heads - racism, sexism, homophobia, kicking small fluffy puppies in the face; from the sandal wearing Guardian reader to the brick wielding black bloc anarcho, there is at least a general consensus amongst the majority of the collective left that some things are just not that cool.
Yet we still have much to be ashamed of: Swappies, homeopathy, workshops on female ejaculation, idiots wielding banners proclaiming that “We are all Hezbollah”, smugness, the Occupy Movement (oh come on, it is a bit silly), Adrian Ramsay, this website. But we pretty much have a good record with music. Sure, we’ve got our Billy Braggs (although I appear to be literally the only person I know who realises that he doesn’t need embracing and championing, rather taking out the back and having his vocal chords forcibly removed). Yes, we’ve got incessant samba bands on every big demonstration, and way more than our fair share of bongos. But for every irritating hippy with a penny whistle there’s a Joe Strummer, and for every bullshit celebrity charity single there’s Paul Robeson hollering Ol’ Man River, or N.W.A. belting out Fuck tha Police. Over the years some of the greatest bands and songwriters have flown the flag for the cause of righteousness, The Rolling Stones’ Shelter , Public Enemy’s Fight the Power, The Doors’ Unknown Soldier, Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land, Bob Dylan‘s The Time’s They Are a-Changing, Edwin Star’s War, The Clash’s Straight to Hell: yes, the “left” have pretty much got the bag sewn up on the kickass soundtrack front (providing Billy Bragg stays quiet). So were does that leave God’s special little children on the far right? What meagre crumbs from His musical breadboard have they managed to sweep up and form into something, if not Earth shatteringly wonderful, at least vaguely tolerable? The sad answer for them, and currently for me and my neighbours, is none.
I must confess that when I began “researching” (listening to shite music) this subject I was slightly apprehensive; what if it turned out neo-Nazi’s actually have a great line in toe-tapping disco classics? That white power skinheads could belt out a tune so melodic and catchy that this article would have to be rethought? I needn’t have worried.
ABSURD are apparently one of the best known pagan National Socialist death metal bands in Germany - which unfortunately doesn’t look to be as niche a market as one would have hoped. I begin with the demo’s God’s Death and Death From the Forest. The first begins with impassioned ranting and the sound of rallies over stirring classical music, which makes me feel a bit dirty as I’m a bit of a sucker for that kind of thing, even though I assume it to be fascist diatribe. To be fair, that might just be because it’s in German - although I’m fairly confident it’s more likely to be a Nuremberg Rally than someone preaching love and harmony at Das Deutschland Katzen Cuddlers’ Convention. Then there’s a weird bit where it wounds like someone’s clanging spoons together for a while. Then the tunes kick in. Years ago my other half went through a period of listening to really dire anarcho-punk that sounded like it had been recorded by dribbling idiots living underground using only a kazoo for accompaniment, and thus the phrase “shed-punk” was born. This, then, is shed-metal. It’s just so ear-bleedingly awful that I only click on a few random tracks from Death From the Forest. It sounds the same, but a bit sci-fi in places; which makes me think of the Nazi’s on the moon romp, Iron Sky. That’s the best thing I can say about Absurd; they made me think about something else that’s not shit. Then it’s more of the same durgy whiny shed metal misery. Again it reminds me of the worst dregs of anarcho-punk - I guess all sub-cultures have their cross to bear.
In the interests of fairness I give their first studio album Facta Loquuntur a listen. The shed element is still there very slightly, but appears to have been faded out in favour of the Casio keyboard . More disconcerting is that they make me think of a really really angry Bill Bailey, which is a bit upsetting to be honest.
Now, I’m probably not the best person to judge death metal, being as I have decent taste and like proper music and everything. Maybe this is what it’s meant to sound like. And maybe the lyrics, whatever the politics, are beautifully constructed and well crafted, I don’t know, they were in foreign. However, I’m going to assume that this is not the case, and that the reason they’re achieved such notoriety is not due to their musical prowess, but the fact that the original band members were all imprisoned for the murder of a 15 year old boy. I’m all up for a bit of rock ‘n’ roll excess, throwing TVs out of hotel windows and the like, but that is dark.
LANDSER were a German neo-Nazi rock band who appeared to never hear the phrase “less is more”. Seriously, I have no idea how they fitted in the time to hate communists and homosexuals when they were so busy growling over tinny cymbals in a million equally terrible songs. Brilliantly, they did a version of The Chordettes’ Lollipop in which the singer sounds like he’s channelling Animal from The Muppets. They’re so shit they were deemed illegal in Germany and their lead singer was sent to prison for three years.
PRUSSIAN BLUE are frankly, the most disturbing treat on my play list. You may have heard of them from the 2003 Louis Theroux documentary Louis and the Nazi’s, or, when they became a well known enough oddity to warrant their own feature, James Quinn’s 2007 brilliantly titled Nazi Pop Twins. The American twosome were the brain-child of their mother, Lynx Vaughan Gaede and named themselves after the colour of Zyklon B residue, which seems rather macabre for a pre-teen pop duo.
I can officially say there is nothing more creepy than hearing 2 small children singing about race-hate. Imagine Daphne and Celeste singing about Valhalla backed by a guitarist who only knows 3 chords. There’s always something slightly unsettling about 12 year old girls singing love songs, but when they include the lyrics: “Skinhead boy, skinhead man, please stay true to our plan. Skinhead boy, skinhead man, someday you will save our land”, you’re entering a whole new realm of disturbing. How on Earth did this happen?! I can only assume that their pushy mother, upon realising they weren’t pretty enough for beauty pageants or bright enough to win the national spelling bee, decided that sticking them in cute Adolf Hitler smiley t-shirts and penning some songs about immigration was the best way to hit the headlines.
Upon Googling BLUE EYED DEVILS I’m surprised to discover they are an American blues-influenced band. Having geared myself up for a day of death metal and Oi! I’m pretty much down with that. I read on and learn they have a great love of southern African-American music. This doesn’t sound right, and I swiftly realise that I’ve confused what look to be a perfectly enjoyable Californian blues band with some neo-Nazi’s from Delaware. Some claim they coined the phrase “Hatecore” which isn’t really surprising, as they do sound ever so angry. I start to read through the song titles and am struck by how similar it sounds to the play list from a perfectly innocent punk album…Piece of Shit Cop…Don’t Give a Fuck…Stand Strong...You’re a Fucking Jew…hey, wait a minute. Hey Nigger sounded like it might be the most musically bearable on the album with an agreeably bouncy guitar riff, but my neighbour was putting his bins out and I got all paranoid and turned it off. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I took it upon myself to spend a day listening to far-right music, maybe a few ditties about how much they don’t like the European Union or something? It’s really not practical listening to music that necessitate someone taking your 3 year old out of the house for the day, I don’t think I could manage being a neo-Nazi on purely logistical grounds.
I check out pictures of Blue Eyed Devils and am pretty sure they are the kind of smooth headed examples of Aryan manliness that Prussian Blue got all starry eyed over. The thought makes me feel desperately uncomfortable and I try and find some music by the Californian blues band of the same name to cheer myself, but all Youtube can offer are songs like White Victory and Holocaust and I give up.
For years I thought I’d seen the film E.T. Just assumed I had, so many iconic scenes from it are clear in my head, I know what happens, how it ends, surely I saw it as a child? But no, I’d just filled in the blanks in my mind. SKREWDRIVER are much the same - I was sure I’d heard them, they’re that really loud, shouty, terrifyingly angry, obnoxious skinhead band right?
Well, I’d obviously not heard their second album, Hail The New Dawn. Not only does it feature a cover of a song from Cabaret, the rest of it sounds exactly like David Brent singing Free Love Freeway. But with more nationalism.
NO REMORSE were one of the more notorious British white-power skinhead bands, cut from the same rancid cloth as Skrewdriver and with their roots in the Blood and Honour network. They were literally obsessed with Germany, but apparently not enough to begin any of their songs with rousing speeches from the 1940s laid over some Wagner, so frankly, it’s hard to take their commitment seriously. I’m starting to notice a common theme of shitty tinny drumming throughout a lot of the bands, and No Remorse are no exception. Over the years they seemed to develop a slightly soft rock sound which frankly does them no favours, unlike their white pride reworking of You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, which is a thing of beauty and as wondrous as Nick Griffin’s empty eye socket.
The occasional laughingly bad ballad seems to be de rigueur amongst white pride bands. Given the language barrier with many of the groups, I can only assume them to be about how much they love girls who look like Heidi, and am only really qualified to appreciate the overly long guitar solos, but luckily America’s NORDIC THUNDER come up trumps with Change of Scenery. Suddenly not being able to understand the lyrics seems a bonus. Lead singer Joe Rowan’s melancholy caterwauling is made even more poignant by the fact that he is no longer with us, having been murdered after a tribute concert for Ian Stuart, lead singer of Skrewdriver, following his death in 1993. Rowan’s fellow band members then went on to form Blue Eyed Devils (the neo-Nazi hate core band, not the African-American blues band). I have to admit that whilst the music is dire, the back story adds a pleasing factor of coherence, like an eternal spiral of incestuous fuckwittery. I give the more upbeat Back to Valhalla! from the charmingly titled Born to Hate album a listen and in fairness the music’s not too bad, but I’m thrown into confusion when the lyrics come in as Rowan seems to be singing to a totally different tune. It makes my head hurt and I have to turn it off - it appears that whilst they appreciate synchronicity in their band’s relationships, they are less concerned with it in the recording studio.
Given music’s ability to uplift, unite, inspire and inform, it’s probably a very good thing that the far right have such a shamefully shite collection of tunes to drag their knuckles to. Imagine a world in which neo-Nazis belted out some of the best sounds on offer - or if not actually good, at least with mass appeal. Say for example, that Justin Beiber was not only a freaky little Jesus loving man-child, sowing his plentiful seed from the shores of Canada, but his vile brand of teen pop was spreading the message of white pride and Holocaust denial? Imagine if Prussian Blue had the same massive fan base as Lady Gaga? Luckily, this will never be a reality we will have to face, because shite politics aside, it appears the far right really can’t hold a tune. Romper Stomper, the outstanding Australian film following the downfall of a group of neo-Nazis, features a soundtrack of excellent, fast paced, heart-stoppingly awesome white pride skinhead tunes, but the score was actually specially created by composer John Clifford White. I always assumed this was for political reasons; that the director Geoffrey Wright, didn’t want to pay any royalties to far-right dickwads, but now can only conclude it was for purely practical reasons and he actually just wanted to ensure his film had a decent soundtrack.
This article is taken from issue 21 of Now or Never!