Nazi Metalheads Fuck Off
You got fired because your boss discovered that you run a neo nazi distro. Whoops!
Earlier this week Minneapolis City Pages published an excellent exposé on Behold Barbarity, a metal distro/label that is notorious for specializing in virulently racist music and merch. Through Behold Barbarity, edgelords could purchase all manner of dull, ignorant records from Grand Belial’s Key and Spear of Longinus while dyed-in-the-wool nazis could purchase Race War records and t-shirts advocating for the murder of Jews.
I first came across the webstore a couple of years ago while looking for a release from Fin, a black metal band that I don’t believe has any political leaning. Upon seeing their album surrounded by Der Stürmer and The Raunchous Brothers records I let out an audible, “Fuck this shit” and bailed without making a purchase.
Behold Barbarity is the work of Aaron Davis, a powerlifter and Intellectual Property lawyer from Minneapolis. Immediately after City Pages published their Behold Barbarity piece, Davis was scrubbed from his firm’s website and placed on “administrative leave”. Patterson Thuente released a brief statement about his employment:
“In light of allegations in a local article regarding one of our partners, Aaron Davis, Patterson Thuente Pedersen, P.A. has placed Mr. Davis on indefinite administrative leave effective immediately. As a firm, we are in no way affiliated with any of Mr. Davis’ outside pursuits. At Patterson Thuente Pedersen, we are committed to conducting our business ethically and with integrity. Hate, bigotry and intolerance have no place in our society. We value and respect the rights of all and foster a culture of mutual respect and inclusiveness within our firm and in the communities where we live and work.”
It’s staggering that Aaron Davis operated Behold Barbarity and organized NSBM concerts for so long without anyone in his professional circle becoming aware of his activities. Regardless, it’s completely understandable that his employer would immediately distance themselves from Davis when his work was exposed. As anyone with a basic understanding of the United States Constitution is aware, the First Amendment protects citizens from punishment from the government for expressing extremist views. Private businesses are not subject to the same standards. Davis’s webstore, since suspended by Shopify, declared:
“Behold Barbarity believes in the First Amendment and is against any and all censorship, weakness, or political correctness!”
Designed to protect politically unpopular or subversive views, fascists wield freedom of speech like a cudgel. Screaming at critics with outraged cries of “free speech!”, white supremacists merrily spew their toxic views with overinflated confidence in the scope of their rights. To claim that Behold Barbarity is dedicated to the First Amendment is flimsy on the surface and preposterous upon further analysis. Davis never once sold records from aggressive leftist artists like Liberteer or Fall of Efrafa or Leftover Crack through his distro. Not once did he offer anti-P.C. t-shirts advocating for the murder of landlords instead of Muslims. No, Aaron Davis specialized in explicit fascism with Aryanwulf shirts sold for $18.88, two easy references to Hitler in one low price. It was never about countering censorship. It was about selling hatred.
Hatred is allowed to fester in extreme metal under an auspicious banner of “Keeping metal dangerous”. White supremacists long ago realized that they could market their ideology to kids within a genre that revels in fantastic depictions of violence and misanthropy. Metal fans are inured to outrage from outsiders their music as scary or even dangerous. Combined with The Satanic Panic and PMRC battles of the late 80s and early 90s, metal heads often feel extremely defensive of calls for censorship of their music. It’s this mindset that allows otherwise forward-thinking men and women to protect fascists and allow them to spread.
Metal is big and loud and angry. It celebrates violent fantasy and inaccessibility to normies. It’s no surprise that most of us got into metal when we were young. We were probably angry and definitely confused. Don’t think for a second that hate merchants aren’t aware of this. They take great pleasure in using your beloved genre to expose kids to anti-Semitism. They want to teach young metalheads that hatred for Muslims is necessary. They will try to ensnare angry white kids with white supremacy.
Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, a 20-year old white supremacist murdered a young woman and injured 19 others. When we allow hateful ideologies to flourish, violence always follows. Aaron Davis, a highly educated man with a high-paying, prestigious job, likely lost his job for sowing the seeds of hatred. On one hand, it’s fun to see what happens when keeping it kvlt goes wrong. On the other hand, Aaron now has more time on his hands to further infect metal with racism.