Electric Wizard Releases Music on Label Known For Nazi-Themed Metal
The doom metal pioneer’s newest music was published by an indie label best known for re-releasing the works of an underground Nazi-themed band previously signed to national socialist record labels.
Since their first release in 2012, Black Magick SS has climbed the underground worlds of fringe metal about as high as any band making Nazi-themed music could in the better part of a decade. The cover artwork of their debut release, Symbols of Great Power (spoiler: one of the aforementioned symbols is a Swastika), conveyed more or less what the Black Magick SS brand would be all about by depicting a monocoloured illustration of a demon with a swastika on its forehead and a larger swastika next to it. As would become customary for the group, the record was released as a cassette to a secret quantity.
Black Magick SS’ first two labels — Infinite Wisdom Productions and Darker Than Black Records — are well-known for distributing national socialist black metal. However, in recent years, most of their discography has been re-released through independent Lithuanian label Creep Purple Records.
Electric Wizard, appropriately called “doom legends” by Rolling Stone in 2014, are widely regarded as pioneers of stoner metal, a loose term for doom metal that borrows inspiration from psychedelic rock marijuana culture. Their 2000 album Dopethrone is one of the most widely-recognized influences in doom metal.
When Electric Wizard first signed a limited release of their live album Live Maryland Deathfest to Creep Purple Records in 2018, the record label had yet to work with Black Magick SS. However, at the time of the release of Lucifer’s Satanic Daughter, 8 of 23 of Creep Purple Records releases were Black Magick SS records.
Creep Purple Records frequently posts Black Magick SS records and merchandise to social media in which they cover iconography including Swastikas and the logo of the Schutzstaffel (SS), often used in place of the SS in Black Magick SS’ name.
Electric Wizard’s newest single Lucifer’s Satantic Daughter was made for a film of the same name. Its soundtrack features at least two artists who extensively use Nazi imagery in their branding.
Grey Area Films, who produced the film Lucifer’s Satanic Daughter and Electric Wizard’s new music video released on Christmas, posted album art on social media that contained several swastikas. The iconography was self-censored, which they draw attention to in their post by calling it “(((censored)))”.
The use of triple parentheses, often called “echoes”, are commonly used to denote suspected Jewish influence as an act of deliberate antisemitism.
Grey Area Films is credited with creating Electric Wizard’s new music video released on Christmas.
Exploitation vs. Exploration
Invocation of Nazi imagery in heavy metal predates nationalist socialist black metal, and has even existed as a form of exploitation entertainment as far back as Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in 1973. Thought the members of Black Sabbath themselves were and are not known to hold fasist views, the optics and the politics of Nazi imagery in rock music has changed drastically from the early 1970s, in part because extremist political subgenres like Nazi Punk and Nationalist Social Black Metal were not a recognized part of rock music at that time.
Exploitation of Nazi themes in exploitation films are also nothing new, and in fact were so popular during a short period that extreme exploitation films about Nazis dubbed “Nazisploitation” had their own distinct subculture and niche in the world of shock-value B movies. In rock subcultures, Nazi imagery was used solely for its shock value by bands like The Sex Pistols and Slayer.
As Sabbath’s classic branding remains one of the key inspirations behind doom metal’s visual identity, the thought of an occasional runic “S” being an ode to Ozzy, Geezer, Tony, and Bill isn’t an impossible one. However, Black Magick SS’ associations with Nazism — both artistically and in their professional collaborations — go well beyond an occasional wink. Darker Than Black, who Black Magick SS has worked with numerous times, is a Nationalist Socialist Black Metal music label owned and operated by German Neo-Nazi Hendrik Möbus. Möbus founded the label during a prison sentence for the murder of fifteen year-old Sandro Beyer. In 2001, the Southern Poverty Law Centre reported that Möbus breached his parole and fled to the United States to live with infamous American neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce following a series of photographs in which he posed with Nazi banners inside the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Nazi-themed branding may go beyond visual artwork for Black Magick SS too. In addition to using Nazi Germany military symbols like the Wehrmachtsadler insignia and the signature totenkopft of the Nazi SS (a grinning skull and crossbones), Black Magick SS also incorporates themes that fans speculate are references to esoteric fascism into their lyrics and song titles. With lyrics like “The train is heading to the port of death, We’re leaving nobody behind,” Both critics and enthusiasts have theorized that the song Tåget (“The Train” in Swedish) could be about trains used to transport extermination camp victims in The Holocaust. Though the song’s meaning is not confirmed, it hasn’t stopped fans from posting comments like “time to take your train little anne [sic]”, a possible reference to Anne Frank, to the song.
“All of their songs have implicit references to National Socialism as a spiritual and philosophic movement… (the lyricist) is 100% a National Socialist,” a comment about the band from an online doom metal community reads.
Black Magick SS’s unique hybridization of Nationalist Socialist Black Metal and Doom metal has proven to be a successful one, and the band has emerged as a fan favourite of Nazis who dabble in doom metal over the last few years. Their success arguably erupted after the release of the 2020 album Rainbow Nights. Despite the main version of the album cover featuring a large swastika on it (an almost comically common theme for the group) discussions about and enthusiasm for Black Magick SS have continued to pop up in, to put it plainly, non-Nazi doom metal spaces.
Discussions about national socialist black metal in in Youtube and Reddit comments often end with users with sympathies to the band’s themes arguing with those who try to separate the music from their lyrics, imagery, and song titles.
“’This channel does not support or advocate Nazism.’ Why not?”, one user asks about the video description posted to a rip of Black Magick SS’ song ‘Kali’. The description distancing the channel from Nazism is present under most uploads.
In one album stream of a Black Magick SS record with over 200,000 listens, a top comment insists that Rudolf Hess — an SS officer known for his occultist believes — is not dead, but “cruising space and time”.
On a doom metal subreddit, threads are occasionally started with questions including, “I’ve heard rumors that they’re actual nazis, does anyone here know for sure?”, “What’s up with Black Magick SS? Are they nazi or what?”, and “Is Black Magick SS a legit nazi band?”.
Responses include answers like, “Some people can’t make everything non-political nowadays. Darn soy wimps…” and, “If they really are, which is likely, just stop listening to them. I am a National Socialist myself and i can tell you, we dont [sic] need some snowflake morons ruining this fine music [sic]”
Nationalist Socialist Black Metal often thrives (or at least survives) on physical releases rather than digital ones. But although most streaming platforms at least try to ban overtly Nazi iconography known to be used by artists that celebrate genocide, some inevitably slip through the cracks. Black Magick SS, being an artist that seemingly incorporates nationalist social black metal influences but is primarily considered to be a doom metal band, has been banned from both Band Camp and Spotify. Links to sales of their records on popular music wiki sites have also been removed, as is common with artists that allegedly promote extremism.
However, Spotify either hosted all of their studio albums for at least 9 months and only banned them recently or has banned them multiple times, as is evident by dates of users’ curation of Black Magick SS playlists. Playlists including songs from all of their albums and some EPs go as far back as December 2020 and as recent as November of this year. Covers of Black Magick SS songs have been added to playlists and subsequently removed from Spotify as recently as last week.
Unlike with Black Magic SS’ overt iconography, artwork for doom metal band Mephistofeles, who is also signed to Creep Purple Records and featured on the soundtrack to Lucifer’s Satanic Daughter, is not overtly, seriously, and indisputably Nazi-themed, but certainly reminiscent of Nazi exploitation entertainment. Mephistofeles’ 2016 debut album features a stylized swastika on one version’s cover and the flag of the Schutzstaffel on certain digital versions of the artwork, but the image associated with the album on streaming platforms including Spotify displays neither symbol.
Since the first release of Lucifer’s Satanic Daughter in October, Electric Wizard has removed links from their social media to their own record label’s website and added Creep Purple’s social media to their Instagram bio. An online store run by Electric Wizard’s independent record label, Witchfinder Records, describes music initially released to Creep Purple records as “Coming Soon”.
A request for comment for both Creep Purple Records and for Electric Wizard were emailed to Creep Purple Records, who was asked to forward correspondence to Electric Wizard. No response has been received.
Grey Area Films did not respond to a request for comment.