Sunday, October 26, 2014


Intolerance takes many forms. It is a sterile concept that is not defined by its focus. Intolerance is pervasive, closed-off, and lacks any semblance of understanding. Truly, intolerance is the highest level of ignorance.

The 2012 edition of the Chaos In Tejas was slated to feature its usual offering of the world's premier hardcore, punk, and metal bands, both past and current. One band's announcement was initially met with hushed excitement from many of the fest's metal acquired attendees: El Paso's Nyogthaeblisz. Formed in 2002, Nyogthaeblisz has earned a cult following within the black metal world for their reclusive nature (not hard to accomplish living in El Paso, which amounts to a very large truck stop that happens to be on the border) and their specialized sound (with raw / bestial elements that would make Blasphemy proud coupled with some very tasteful use of noise).

In the build-up to the fest, the usual rush for the aspiring pretentious festival goer to research all of the bands playing so they wouldn't get caught looking ignorant was on. Chaos In Tejas attracted a variety of types to the festival. One of the more unfortunate types are the "I still think punk is a platform to fight the good fight politically" PC punk type. The 2012 edition featured anarchopunk legends The Mob & Antisect, so the festival promised to have more PC crust punks than usual in attendance. As kids started to research the lineup, they found "irregularities" in Nyogthaeblisz's background. First, they were on the label Satanic Skinhead Propaganda. The label, run by the oft maligned Antichrist Kramer, had a reputation for releasing questionable / sketchy music. Second, Nyogthaeblisz's lyrics made crushing commentary about the Jewish faith, though not specifically limited to it. The criticism / outcry from many parties quickly became deafening. The height of this outcry was when The Mob / Antisect both threatened to walk out of the festival and drop if Nyogthaeblisz was not dropped. Eventually, the festival's promoters made a tactical decision and relented. They dropped Nyogthaeblisz. For the PC types, this was seen as a victory. Defeating the evil that is intolerance and racism wherever they may find it.

Here is what was wrong with happened.

First, the argument against Nyogthaeblisz for being on SSP . It was interesting that Nyogthaeblisz was singled out for being on SSP while fellow 2012 Chaos In Tejas performer Black Witchery was also on the same label (a fact that was ignored by many). In addition to Black Witchery, 2010 headliner Inquisition also had a working relationship with Kramer & SSP. A working relationship with SSP doesn't actually have any political or philosophical implication. Simply put, Kramer is a highly respected artist within the realm of metal & noise and people want to work with him because of it. This isn't supernatural. SSP is a small boutique label that does small releases so bands can have an opportunity to work with Kramer. No bands stay on there. Case in point: Black Witchery has since joined Osmose Productions, Inquisition to Seasons of Mist, and Nyogthaeblisz to Hells Headbangers.

Second, the argument that Nyogthaeblisz is an Antisemitic band. This argument is a little more complex and a bit indicting of the intelligence of the average punk. Nyogthaeblisz's lyrics DO attack the Jewish faith. That being said, they also attack Christians & Muslims. Nyogthaeblisz is what you would call Anti-Abrahamic. To be Anti-Abrahamic is to decry the three monotheist faiths that all have direct connections to the prophet Abraham. This includes Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In recent years anti-religious aesthetics within the subculture have been all the rage. Particularly stuff like god free youth, upside down crosses, and allusions to Satan. At least on the hardcore punk side, people have limited themselves strictly to Christianity as the target. In the sphere of black metal, Anti-Abrahamic bands are more common and, frankly, make sense as they take the anti-religious sentiment full circle. For a myopic punk, they just hear "Anti-Jewish" and, without context, immediately brand the perpetrator as a racist.

What happened to Nyogthaeblisz was a textbook case of what people who are intolerant of intolerance do. You've heard stories about Antifa protests at shows over the years. Antifa members calling the police (the ultimate cardinal sin in the subculture) on shows they protest, intimidating attendees of shows they protest, and threatening promoters for their bookings of questionable acts. None of this is okay. This kind of Kristallnacht, lynch mob, seeing red mentality at the mere possibility of questionable content is not okay. Nyogthaeblisz was judged and attacked without even getting to issue a statement in their defense. The biggest tragedy of the anti-racist position is the claim of a higher understanding / intelligence that their racist opposition lacks. If this higher understanding / intelligence truly existed, the research on Nyogthaeblisz would not have stopped at Anti-Jewish, but arrived at Anti-Abrahamic. What happened to Nyogthaeblisz wasn't the triumph of good over evil. It was one side becoming what they hated to root out an entity that they did not understand.

The band has a few releases out. Two of them were put on a 2009 compilation entitled Apocryphal Progenitors of Mankind's Tribulation. The other is a split with the Brazilian act Goatpenis entitled Terroristic Onslaught of Humanicidal Chaos. It is some of the more interesting black metal to come from the USA in quite some time. Included is both releases. Enjoy.

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