Pandering to the aging millennials who still blight the black metal scene, USBM: A Revolution of Identity in American Black Metal attempts apologize for writing a book about “racist and misogynist bands” while simultaneously attempting to celebrate the same “racist and misogynist” bands. This baffling move should ensure that both USBM fans and SJW posers alike take a hard pass on buying a book that hates the very scene it features while also hating the values it claims to propagate.
This narrow political propaganda attempts to rewrite the incomparably hostile and intolerant USBM scene as a Saturday morning kid’s show where everybody loved each other and really just wanted to hold hands and sing kumbaya. Demonstrating virtually no knowledge of what drove many American musicians to reject all cultural norms in fierce hatred and defiance, the piece serves to apologize for a scene whose entire purpose for existing was founded on hatred for mankind and repackage it as a progressive liberal fantasy.
Notice the wailing, feminized, and passive-aggressive bullying of this list of dog whistles:
It might be useful to separate these antisocial tendencies between those who have championed regressive ideologies versus those who have actively engaged in criminal activities. In the former category, we have Grand Belial’s Key, who, while considered one of the most influential American bands of the ’90s black metal scene, have used strongly anti-Semitic language in lyrics and titles, and have covered songs by openly Nazi punk band Chaos 88. Andy “Akhenaten” Harris of Judas Iscariot has issued murkily racist statements in interviews, professing his belief that “the Aryan race [is] the most beautiful and the closest to physical perfection.” Black noise band Nyogthaeblisz and Jason “Dagon” Weirbach of Inquisition contributed songs to a compilation called Declaration of Anti-Semitic Terror on a label called Satanic Skinhead Propaganda. Trans guitarist Melissa “Vis Crom” Moore was ejected from Absu for her identity, and Russ “Proscriptor McGovern” Givens broke up the band rather than support her. John Haughm of Agalloch made a tasteless public comment that conflated Jewish culture with politically controlling behavior, for which he has apologized on multiple occasions. Neill Jameson of Krieg put out a split release with Satanic Warmaster, then loaded up the liner notes with racist language, which he has since repented.
Or the following attempt to retcon the narrative into pro-Leftist propaganda:
Most of the artists covered in these pages stand staunchly in support of universal human rights and advancing the political power of historically marginalized people, and some of the voices in this book are activists in their own right.
FACT CHECK: FALSE! Absolutely zero of the artists in USBM from 1992-2008 wanted human rights – they wanted human death! This statement is only true if they covered the Wolves in the Throne Room through Deafheaven hipster knockoff tier which is far from black metal. Nobody cared about “marginalized people” they were out for themselves or, at best, their own race. There were no open gays, literally none, and even Absu’s gender-bending guitarist was married to a woman back when he was writing songs about raping and mutilating women in his conveniently forgotten “XXX Maniak” project. Everyone was anti-political correctness, anti-life, anti-love, but complete non-entity Dan Lake wants to pretend that all of this stuff wasn’t actually what the artists wanted and that really everyone wanted hugs and kisses and smiles.
But what is most puzzling however is why anyone would buy or even interview for a book that has so much contempt for the bands, fans, and music it features. The author, and I directly quote, calls the USBM culture “nauseating,” claims it has “ugly lodestones” that should be “brushed aside.” He calls the prevailing ideologies in USBM “regressive” and calls the very black metal behavior of its musicians “selfish” because the antics are “illiberal.” He claims that fans and musicians of black metal display an “inability to be humble.” He believes that if an artist is “accused of foul ideologies” they should perform a public atonement ritual where they profess “progressive dispositions” and “disgust” for bigotry, or, if they refuse to bow to the progressive gods and lunatic mob, be canceled.
Every single one of the (very few) actual black metal bands mentioned in this article are disparaged. The author attempts to virtue signal by attacking Judas Iscariot for “Aryan Pride,” Krieg for “racist statements,” Grand Belial’s Key for “Anti-Semitism,” and Absu for “kicking out a tranny.” Then we get a bunch of hipster namedrops, ranging from “indie metal and in no way black metal” towards “literally who?” If you want to read a book about Deafheaven and Krallice, that’s fine: but you’re not getting a book on USBM in any honest shape or form.
It seems clear that author Daniel Lake wants to purge his conscience from the guilt of spending much of his life covering black metal. Boys like Daniel are terrified of the liberal mob that will call your workplace and get you fired if you said the wrong thing ten years ago. He lives in sheer terror that someone will figure out the bands he praised in the past and cancel him permanently. He wants to keep the music he used to love and pretend that it’s not incompatible with his new progressive religion. So Daniel writes a book saying “look, they’re not virtuous, but I am, because this is unobjectively bad!”
But what Daniel failed to realize, is that social justice warriors will reject this book too. This can be assumed because in the very same excerpt, he contradicts his own public atonement ritual when he says that “the music covered in these pages is worth celebrating.” So that means that he believes we should celebrate music that is racist, misogynistic, and homophobic. In fact, he so much believes that we should celebrate a “racist, misogynistic, and homophobic” music scene that he wrote a 500+ page book about it. As usual, black metal shatters dogma with paradox, even despite the best attempts of soy-infused zombies.