“Taake will not be performing at the KarmÃ¸ygeddon festival after all, due to ruthless pressure put on the organizer from, among others, none other than Kreator.
Let it be said that this does not hurt Taake, as we are not at all doing this for the money.
But it certainly hurts innocent parties like the promoter (who is now out of time to find a replacement and loses a lot of money), as well as our fans who bought expensive tickets to see us.
I find it very regrettable that all you people are caught in the crossfire of this ridiculously unnecessary situation!
Anyway, this reaction is obviously because of the swastika episode in Kreator`s hometown Essen during last year`s Taake tour.
I`ve clearly stated that TAAKE IS CERTAINLY NOT A POLITICAL NAZI-BAND, yet some people seem to still insist that we are.
It is not the first time such a situation has occured either, several German festival organizers had to give in to similar pressure last year, disappointing hundreds of people eager to watch us perform and cheating them out of their money.
But doing this to a Norwegian band about to play at a Norwegian festival is way out of line.
I do realize that it is rather unforgivable to display a swastika in Germany, yes.
On the other hand I strongly feel that Black Metal bands should allow themselves to use ANY kind of destructive/negative symbolism, as the basis of this expression is above all: EVIL(!)
Black Metal is still not, and should never become, harmless like all other styles of housebroke metal.
Frankly, I find it prepostrous that we get away with lyrics about murder, torture, rape, necrophilia and suicide, but get boycotted for wearing a symbol (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the band`s concept) on ONE single occasion.
A part of our mission is to invoke negative feelings, so I found it quite appropriate to remind our German audience of their biggest shame.
Some understood it and handled it well, whilst others overreacted far beyond expectance.
It is embarassing to have to point out these things over and over again, but as usual humanity proves to be ignorant.
We feel misunderstood.
So, Guardians of Morality, feel very free to keep up your pathetic boycott, we don`t mind being hated.
But your extortion only affects innocent parties and you should be ashamed of yourselves!
The behaviour of our self-proclaimed enemies is more similar to nazism than anything we`ve ever done..
Thus reads Hoest’s response to detractors of his 2007 show in Germany where he performed with a Swastika drawn on his chest.
Taake has been no stranger to controversy over the years, be it via their lyrics or highly confrontational performances, but things have come to a head with the most recent tour. Bowing to protests from Antifa, Hoest has found his current US tour derailed by a string of venue pull-outs. It started in New York, but things have snowballed from there, ultimately leading to the tour itself being cancelled.
Metal music, especially black metal, has always been counterculture. By its nature, it is meant to be shocking and disquieting. What’s humorous to me is the shift that has happened in who is feeling the discomfort the hardest. It used to be the Tipper Gores and Nancy Reagans out there most outraged by the “Satan music” being fed to their children. The religious Right was up in arms for many years fighting to silence the voices of these undesirable artists and musicians. Sure, these people are still around, but much like with legalization of Marijuana, the vast majority have come to realize that artistic expression is not turning the next generation into a pack of devil-worshiping serial killers.
No. Today it is the radical Left who take issue with challenging music. The so-called “progressives” out there are the ones banning books, silencing public speakers, and using violence and intimidation to shut down any opposing ideologies. Make no mistake, Antifa is the new religious Right. They seek to find all sources of political incorrectness, all things that do not serve their personal narrative of utopian society, and cast them out of existence. You can replace “Kingdom of Heaven” with “Socialist/Anarchist Society,” but it’s the same old song. And we’re onto you.
I feel obligated to say that I don’t think most of these Antifa people intend on being malicious. Much like Tipper Gore, they have good intentions. They cast themselves in the role of Robin Hood meets Malcolm X, fighting the good fight to save the world from Fascism and general oppression. But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It is one thing to make a personal decision that you don’t want to be a part of something and feel comfortable sharing your opinion as such. I have no qualms with those who find Hoest’s past actions objectionable or even outright deplorable. After all, we live in a country that allows people to speak their minds openly. Where I draw the line is allowing a mob, no matter what flag they wave, to dictate what everyone else is allowed to experience.
Mob rule is its own form of Fascism, and that’s the part that would tickle me the most if the results didn’t make me so sad. These poor, deluded young people have been brainwashed into thinking that they are tearing down oppression; when really they are just imposing their own. Furthermore, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It’s not the administration that is empowering the truly deplorable white supremacists out there: it’s the constant campaign of moral high ground politics. Hearing every day that they are at war with the culture has put them into battle mode, and that’s not a good thing for anyone. You back a frightened animal into a corner and it’s going to get violent.
Let me just be clear: I do not support Nazis or any other form of white supremacy. But when we start stretching and stretching those descriptors to include all sorts of other people, and then say it’s okay to use violence against them; I can never accept that. I agree that wearing a Swastika is not a good way to prove that you aren’t aligning yourself with people that seek to harm and eliminate people of other races; but within the context of Taake’s writings and performance art, it makes sense. Much like a black metal Springtime For Hitler, it was a satirical slap in the face to his German audience. A reminder of what we can become when we give into the mob. More simply, it was a form of protest…one ironically serving more or less the same cause that Antifa claims to stand behind.
There has been other criticisms of Taake’s work in the past, including some inflammatory lyrics regarding Muhammed. But once more, context is important here. We’re talking about a guy who dons corpse paint head-to-toe and sports an inverted cross tattoo on his frequently exposed torso. This isn’t a man who is racist against Islam: this is a man who despises all forms of organized religion. And why not? Bucking faith has been ingrained in metal culture since its beginnings, and for good reason. When we dig into the history of Christianity, Judaism, and yes, Islam, we can find plenty of reasons to stand up and say “No…I’m not going to be a part of that.”
So once more, in another universe, Hoest and Antifa could have been on the same side. But instead they come through and attempt to scrub the culture of those they deem to be unacceptable to their version of society. Say what you will about Taake’s approach, but at the end of the day they are nothing more than another group of artists. They’re not out there committing acts of violence or encouraging others to harm specific groups of people. They're not forcing people to listen to their music and follow their particular world view. I could understand more if Dissection was still touring, but this all just feels wrong.
Every day that we allow radical groups to dictate what we can and can’t experience is a step towards totalitarianism. I’d encourage some of these Antifsters to spend a year in North Korea or certain areas of the Middle East where you can be indefinitely detained for harmless, but amusing, memes about their leaders or straight-up executed for playing certain forms of music. Hell, simply being gay or an outspoken woman will put you at risk in certain areas. Trump may be a bit of an asshole, but at least he can’t throw you in jail for making fun of his hair for the billionth time.
All of this to say, it is okay do disagree. It is okay to want no part in a band that even considers using offensive imagery, satire or not. It’s okay to tell your friends and children how you feel about it and encourage them to ignore or even boycott such material. That is totally understandable and one of the best things about free society. What I will not accept is a uniformed Gestapo from ANY direction telling ME what I can and can’t enjoy. You are not the law, and you do not control us. And just like in the early war on music censorship, we will fight back and prevail. Not with our fists, but with our voices. Don’t get aggressive, don’t make threats…but please do let your local venues, writers, and others in the scene know that you are here to stay, and you will not have your scene torn down for anyone. And to the real Nazis out there, it's time to change your ways too.
I’ll leave you just as we started with the words of Hoest himself. Do with them what you will:
“It is with great regret that we have to inform you that Taake's US Tour has been cancelled. Despite all those incredible people who stepped up and tried to help us save the tour, and to whom we are more grateful than we can express, time and logistics are just not on our side. It was not our wish to cancel, but the decision was forced on us by the illegal activities of Antifa and its supporters who applied pressure on venues and promoters to cancel shows. Pressure, it has to be said, that has frequently been accompanied with threats of violence both towards those involved in the organisation and towards any fans attending (not to mention the bands who would be playing). Why these threats are not reported to the police, we don't know.
We have explained on many, many occasions, the history behind what caused the problems, and there are plenty of articles in the unbiased press and on social media where you can read the truth of it, but just for the sake of clarity Taake is not now, has never been, and never will be a Nazi band. What we want to address here is the cancellation of the tour itself.
This cancellation is unfortunate in many ways, not just for the bands who were going to take part. Not just for the ordinary working Americans with families to support and bills to pay who have lost much needed income because of it. Not just for the fans who wanted to see the bands. Not just for music fans in general. But, also, and more importantly, for America as a whole.
Why? Because it is the ultimate demonstration of how, through the dissemination of lies, misinformation and unfounded accusations, along with credible threats of violence, a small minority of left wing agitators are able to force their agenda on the majority, and deprive music fans of their freedom to attend concerts and go about their day to day activities without the fear of reprisals and retaliation.
And these agitators won't stop once they have destroyed the soft targets from Europe and other parts of the world. Their next targets will be American music, American art, American literature, American theatre, American cinema. Anything, in fact, that does not adhere strictly to their views. And if this reminds you of the McCarthy witch hunts, it is because that is EXACTLY what it is like.
Whilst none of us blame venues for cancelling because they are afraid of violence, we do deplore the excuses presented by some of them. The desire to "protect" their audience and staff, to create "safe spaces" is not a need brought about by the bands involved, nor their fans. It is the masked thugs hiding behind the banner of Antifa and other organisations like them, who are doing all the threatening. And maybe we should also remind these venues that so many of the musical genres today exist due to those other small venues back in the day who dared stand up to threats and gave a voice to those musicians who brought us Blues and Jazz - the basis of so much of today's music.
We would also like to speak out about celebrities like Talib Kweli, who was unfortunate enough to have allowed himself to be played by the lies spread by Antifa and who, as a result, issued statements that are libellous and slanderous. His heart may have misguidedly been in the right place, but his brain, and his legal advisors, were not. Had he bothered to check the facts he would have realised that he had put himself in a position of looking like someone who doesn't know, or understand, or even care about, all the facts, and who is easily manipulated by others to dance to their tune.
We should also mention those members of the press who failed to fact check and did not bother to contact us, or anyone else for that matter, for our side of the story. They simply went right ahead and printed libellous statements. This is irresponsible journalism at its worst, and we can't just single out inexperienced editors of webzines. Complicit in this are long-established and (once) respected publications. Their actions show the utter contempt they have for facts and the disrespect they have for their readers.
Ending on a positive note, we really do need thank those who stood by us, and especially the venues who refused to be cowed, and those that stepped in offering us alternatives for cancelled shows. We have had messages from all over the world, and from people of all political and religious persuasions, offering not just their support, but also offering their help. And these are not just our fans. We have been contacted by people who admit that they had never heard of us, or that they hate black metal, or that they hate Taake, but have nevertheless felt compelled to let us know of the disgust they feel at the way Antifa, and their like, demand slavish adherence to their agenda, and punish anyone who defies them, riding roughshod over the freedoms of the American people to decide for themselves.
You, my friends, do not need to apologise for the lies and actions of a fringe group. You are the majority, you are the ones who refuse to bow your heads to those who would dictate how you live your lives, and who attempt to restrict your freedoms - you are the ones who can do something about it.