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Affirmation and denial: Extreme right black metal and the Holocaust

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The article examines how the Holocaust is addressed in the extreme right wing sections of the larger black metal culture. Drawing from an extensive pool of primary sources the authors analyse how the Holocaust features in song lyrics, album artworks and interviews with artists. They argue that references to the Holocaust in extreme right wing black metal follow the logic of the culture’s aesthetics, which regularly employ symbols of fantastic or factual atrocities in order to express statements of misanthrophy, hatred and male strength. At the same time, the references are non-metaphorical and in that sense political. The artists often do not attempt to minimize the magnitude of the Holocaust but they celebrate the event exactly for the brutality it represents. In other instances, the idea of Holocaust is approved while its factuality is denied. Historic denialism and affirmation of the Holocaust can go hand in hand. While crass antisemitic statements can be found in other extreme right wing cultural realms, extreme right black metal might be the cultural sphere in the contemporary western world that articulates the harshest type of antisemitism.
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Keywords: Holocaust denialism; Holocaust studies; antisemitism; black metal; neo-nazism; revisionism; right wing extremism; subcultures

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000121795154Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 2: Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum

Publication date: September 1, 2020

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  • Metal Music Studies is the journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies.

    The aims of the journal are:
    • To provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies;
    • To be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences;
    • To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter articles that cross over from the industry and the scene;
    • To be a world leader in interdisciplinary studies and be a unique resource for metal music studies.
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