The metal scene was sent headfirst into an online shitstorm recently when a band operating under the name Neckbeard Deathcamp emerged on Bandcamp and rose to the top of the site’s best-sellers list. Now, with no warning, Astral Noize received a conspicuous email from an ensemble dubbing themselves Gaylord. Initially presuming it an alt-right troll, we hovered over the delete button before opening the email to see the simple introduction:
We are Gaylord and the black metal scene needs to be destroyed.”
Now, we here at Astral Noize have championed a host of interesting and forward-thinking black metal artists, but given the genre’s notorious, Nazi-ridden, murderous, arsonist past, perhaps the band have a point.
If you’re the sort of metalhead that found White Nationalism Is For Basement Dwelling Losers hilarious, this will decidedly be right up your street. Brimming with Nazi-baiting lyrics like “Varg can’t save you now”, it’s lo-fi black metal featuring all the staples of second-wave BM with none of the racism, nationalism or Nazism. Beyond that, though, the lyrics take aim at a wider range of issues, from gun rights in America and white nationalist trolls to faux-Paganism and the enduring popularity of contentious figures like Varg Vikernes. Though the initial concept seems remarkably similar to Neckbeard’s own funny-with-a-serious-message material, the lyrics here occasionally engage in more thoughtful muses on such issues. Besides, the UK certainly isn’t exempt from the rising tide of far-right shitballs, so perhaps we need our own group representing us in the meme war.
Whether this is part of a new trend of anti-Fascist, meme-informed black metal or just a British answer to Neckbeard Deathcamp, we’re on board, so we put some questions to frontman, ahem, Lord Gaylord to find out more.
So, who are Gaylord, how did you form and what are you about?
Gaylord is modern day anti-authoritarian anti-fascist black metal. We were formed solely to fight black metal, a stagnant and narrow-minded form of music that claims to be the epitome of free speech and nonconformity. Lies. The genre is enslaved to its own narrowly defined ideals and image.
Is the whole band UK-based?
The entirety of Gaylord is based in grey and gloomy South London.
Why the name Gaylord?
The name Gaylord was chosen for several reasons. It is a given name of Norman French ancestry meaning “JOYFUL”, and how do you fight the bleakness of a form of music so sorrowful as black metal? You fight it with JOY. We identify as members of the LGBTQ community, that is another fold in the cloth of Gaylord. Furthermore, “gaylord” was a name I was called many times as a child, even before I found my sexual identity. And now I am 36. It’s 2018. And the word “gay” is still being used as an insult. It’s grotesque.
Why does the black metal scene need to be destroyed?
The black metal scene needs to be destroyed for many many reasons. The aforementioned conforming to image and ideals; the riffs need to sound a certain way, the vocals need to sound a certain way, you need to dress a certain way. That is not freedom. That is conservatism. It’s pathetic and creativity gone bankrupt. The scene was developed (as all metal scenes) as a place where disenfranchised youths would have a place to belong – but many black metal fans are insular and very protective of their safe spaces. They do not want people who look, dress, or act differently in their ranks. And I think this is perverted and sick. You cannot claim to be counterculture – the ultimate form of counterculture – and then exclude communities because they do not fit in to your narrow-minded views on race and sexuality. That is why it needs to be destroyed. Because it is a landfill. And it needs to be cleaned out.
How do we destroy the black metal scene and/or eradicate Nazism from metal’s ranks?
We destroy the scene, we destroy Nazis, we destroy fascism by confronting it. Sitting idly by and listening to Burzum while saying “oh well you know the Nazis deserve their say” is cowardly. There is no “discussion” to be had with people who want us dead. I cannot imagine the Gauls sitting behind some bushes and shouting at the Mongols “WE RESPECT YOUR IDEALS LET’S CHAT IT OUT”.
Cheers for the name-drop in ‘All Hail The New Wave’! Are you at all positive about the genre’s future given the new breed of forward-thinking artists making a name for themselves?
You are welcome for the shout out! We wanted to include some of the modern day bands and outlets who have supported this new and evolving scene. Bands like Feminazgul, Allfather, and Underdark all fight against the tides of real hate. Music about orcs fucking in the woods is cool and all that, but sometimes you need to realise that you don’t have to divorce yourself from reality to find villains to fight. After all, who’s more terrifying – The UK Conservatives or Sauron???
It seems Neckbeard Deathcamp might have started a trend here. Do you think using Nazi’s tactics against them is an effective method or just a fun and potentially eye-opening one?
Neckbeard Deathcamp was a huge influence on us to try out something like this – using almost cartoonish tactics to push back against the right. There is something appealing about using absurd humour to pull in people to see a real and important message. I hope there are a lot more bands like NBDC. There are a lot of NSBM bands out there, so the more anti-fascist bands we have the better.
Neckbeard Deathcamp are tackling fascism in America, where it has become increasingly normalised. Do you think the same thing is happening in the UK? Are you pessimistic about the country’s future?
The UK is a big mess right now. The Conservatives are ruining everything. There is an unfortunate global trend of politics leaning far to the right currently and the UK is no different from the US and elsewhere. We can turn it around though. We don’t have the PR machines that the Tories have, but there are MORE of us than them. The 1% will push the 99% until we break and then shit will be done. Like I said, polite discussion is useless – get out on the streets and make a racket. Grab a guitar and write some fucking black metal. Smash shit up. PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST.
Black metal fans often hide behind the “metal should shock and offend.” How would you respond to that argument?
Black metal fans say a lot of dumb things. Needs to be offensive? I have a line in ‘Nice Sun Cross Tattoo Asshole’ that explains how NSBM fans will be burned alive – and I guarantee you there is a horde of BM fans out there would say “hey you can’t say shit like that”. They claim free speech. Free speech for themselves and no one else. They say Band X is not racist while showing off their swastika tattoos. Black metal fans are walking contradictions and need common sense slapped into them.
Can the left meme?
The left will win the meme war.
Will there be more Gaylord material in the future?
As long as there are Nazis inside the black metal scene Gaylord will be here to fight them.
The Black Metal Scene Needs To Be Destroyed is out now. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr