Given the extent to which socially conscious black metal bands have been able to annoy the far-right types who still plague the genre, it’s not surprising that an album called White Nationalism Is For Basement Dwelling Losers pissed them off so much when it was unleashed on Bandcamp on July 21st, mocking the alt-right, incels and edgelords alike whilst delighting those of us who hope for positive social change in the metal scene. Since then, the release’s contentious nature has seen it explode on social media and rise to the top of the Bandcamp best-sellers list, making the band behind it, Neckbeard Deathcamp, one of the most talked about names of the past week.
Musically, Neckbeard Deathcamp’s debut comprises a particularly gnarly strain of lo-fi black metal, the guttural, barely distinguishable vocals infusing the release with a volatile belligerence that helps remind the listener that under all the meme-worthy joking around, there’s an important message to the American band’s material. Namely, the need to tackle the genre that they inhabit’s fondness for white nationalism and neo-Nazis.
Black metal has long had a problem with such ideologies, its themes of paganism and returning to the old ways barely obscuring reactionary sentiments, whilst the nihilistic aesthetic gives fans a thinly-veiled excuse to defend bands who are less discreet about their toxic ideologies. Perhaps the best thing about a band like Neckbeard Deathcamp is that they expose that for the lie that it is; when black metal fans defend xenophobia because the genre’s “supposed to shock and offend” but then get shocked and offended when someone turns around and targets them, its easy to see just how bullshit an excuse that is.
Every inch of the band’s Bandcamp page is a Nazi-baiting joke, from the lyrics (“Valhalla awaits us veterans of the meme wars”, “storm the comments thread, one thousand cucks born to die”) and track titles (‘Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis)’, ‘The Fetishization Ov Asian Women Despite A Demand For A Pure White Race’) to the band’s supposed hometown of Bordeaux, France (Varg Vikernes’ current place of residence). It’s hilarious, and dare we say genius. Fuck the alt-right, support Neckbeard Deathcamp.
To find out more about how this wonderfully subversive record came about, we had a chat with guitarist/bassist Superkommando Uberweinersnitchel (the alt-right loves a good doxxing) – read on discover more about the message behind the madness.
How did Neckbeard Deathcamp come about?
Kriegmeister Hatestorm and I became friends through Facebook. We bonded over our love for bestial black metal and I loved his art style so I asked him to make an album cover for something else I was working on. One day he posted something asking for guitarists to play for his new project “Neckbeard Deathcamp” so he hit me up about it. We both have an equal hatred for Nazis and their infiltration in music in general so we decided to create an album specifically to mock NSBM. Later I recruited Hailz Komradez, who I know through other musical endeavours, to play drums. We got together and decided to declare war on the scum of the earth and use their same viral meme tactics against them. The goal is obliteration until they no longer exist or are no longer taken seriously.
Tell us more about the band’s logo and the iconography of the album cover – what does it symbolise?
All of the symbolism is direct mockery of the appropriated symbols of Nazi Germany implemented by the alt-right and NSBM bands. Our album cover is a phallic reinterpretation of the Nazi eagle. Our symbolism is meant to dismantle every pathetic appropriation of Nazi iconography.
Did you choose black metal because it is the subgenre most closely linked with Nazism and therefore the one most likely to antagonise white nationalists, or was it simply the music you wanted to make when you started out?
Yes to both. We love black metal and it is frankly my favourite genre of music because it is so diverse. Black metal attracts radical views of all kinds and unfortunately many pathetic bigoted losers participate in the genre. So naturally, it represents the perfect medium to get any viewpoint across and put basement dwelling losers in their place through sonic oppression.
The album mocks the alt-right, incels, edgelords etc. – because of how defensive people often get online, do you find that mocking them is an effective way of exposing their toxic views?
The only way to deal with these people is to fight fire with fire. They claim there is no longer free speech and that no one can participate in civil discourse with them. Which is ironic because they make no effort to do this whatsoever. They use memes to create propaganda and the only way to actively combat this is to use their own tactics against them. They will always say “the left can’t meme” but they know deep down that this album has seriously fucked with them on some level. Everyone is laughing at them, not us.
There were some rumours that Infowars might report on the band for sampling them. Are you happy to see that you’re getting to your intended targets and pissing them off?
If Alex Jones reports on us that will be the happiest day of my life.
Why do you think there is so much resistance to progressive politics in contemporary black metal?
Unfortunately, within many groups, progressive politics are considered to be a sign of weakness. The purpose of black metal, for the most part, is to display untamed, raw aggression and some would see progressive politics as the antithesis of this. However, in my eyes there is plenty of evil in this world to make noise about other than Satan and whining about immigrants. Most bands use Nazism in black metal as a way to, simply put, be an edgelord. They think they have power but in reality they can only play shows in their mum’s basement because no reasonable person actually believes in them. However, while they have no real power, they continue to grow and more people become complacent to Nazism in black metal. We are directly addressing this complacency.
Do you think it’s fair to say that NSBM is an inherently hypocritical movement given the genre’s original themes of outsiderism and liberation?
I think the reason why Nazism exists in black metal is specifically because of these themes of outsiderism and liberation. Unfortunately, people now think being ultra conservative or an alt-right nut job is the new counter-culture revolution. To some, being a Nazi perfectly fits in with the misanthropic notions of black metal. We happen to disagree with that on the principal that Nazism should not be positively entertained by anything or anyone in 2018.
Do you have any plans to play live?
We have been invited to play a few festivals next year and we plan to do so. We will announce more plans when they come about.
The release has seemingly done exceedingly well on Bandcamp. Have you been surprised by the reaction it has received?
Definitely. This was supposed to be a joke album that no one cared about. However, it caught on like wildfire and exploded. It has been simultaneously exciting and anxiety-inducing.
What do you think it is about the release that attracted such attention? Has the response been mostly positive or negative?
I think we just got lucky by hitting the nail on the head. We happened to get the right mix of mockery and controversy and blended it together. The best way to make people pay attention is to directly address them and address their adversaries. I think a lot of people identify with our hate for the amount of un-empathetic losers in society. We hope that this has given some people at least a little more power in fighting the good fight.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the political and societal future of our planet?
Until politicians on either side are no longer paid to believe in what they believe, or things like gerrymandering no longer exist, democracy is dead. I have no positivity when it comes to politics. People need to give up on hoping billionaires will take care of their best interests and take matters into their own hands. Protest, fight, make art. Fight till the end and destroy the oppressors with whatever means necessary.
What do Neckbeard Deathcamp have in store for the future? What’s the ultimate goal for the band?
We have a new album planned and a split. We are working on getting lots more merch made for those that have been asking. We also have a new member joining. Our ultimate goal is to destroy scum, and we will achieve this through sonic force.
White Nationalism Is For Basement Dwelling Losers is out now via self-release. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr
If you enjoyed this piece, check out: Anti-Fascist Ideology and Delicate Melody: An Introduction to Underdark