Are Inquisition really Nazis? We think there are more important questions to be asked
It surely cannot have escaped your attention that the black metal band Inquisition have been in the metal news a fair amount lately. They recently got a supporting slot on the Metal Alliance Tour opening for Behemoth and Goatwhore, which would absolutely thrust them into the metal spotlight and give them a huge popularity boost. There is one problem though: recently, a former skin-head white supremacist has spoken out, labelling them as Nazis, citing an incident he witnessed and took part in when he was driving the bus for them on a tour with the band Gyibaaw. The man, one Daniel Gallant, says he revealed to them that he had a swastika tattoo, and that both members of Inquisition were thrilled. His comments, which were apparently made on Facebook, were picked up by Jonsan van Johnson, writer of a small blog named Shameless Navel Gazing, and likely would have stayed buried had Robert Pasbani of Metal Injection not come across it and written a piece on it. Since then, it has become a pretty big news story.
This is obviously a big problem for the band and could potentially derail any career momentum they had going forward. Any allegations of Nazi sympathizing, or white supremacist views would quickly leave them stuck in the deep underground of black metal. However, I cannot help but feel this entire thing is based on circumstantial evidence, the testimony of one man, and some piss-poor click-bait sensationalist journalism on the part of Metal Injection. (note: I don’t blame either SNG or MI for covering this. After all I am doing the same thing. I just don’t like the way either of them did it).
Inquisition guitarist Jason was given a chance to respond in an interview with Decibel Magazine, in which he flat-out denied being a white supremacist. Many would take this with a grain of salt, and rightly so, as it is a man who has a reputation and musical career to protect. Of course he would deny it in that case. But I can think of another reason why he might deny being a white supremacist.
What if… HE ISN’T ONE? *gasp* Both van Johnson and Gallant seem to think “of course he’s denying it, he is protecting his career!” but just maybe did you stop to think that he denied it because he actually isn’t a white supremacist?
Or wait, I have an even better thought to add; who fucking cares? Never mind that Inquisition’s music doesn’t reflect those views in any way, and if they do hold those views, they have never at all acted on them. Their lyrical themes have more to do with interesting cosmic philosophy, the kind that I can’t really get into in this article, and occasionally anti-Christian in their early material.
Furthermore, this whole this is entirely based on the testimony of one man regarding an incident that happened roughly six years ago. The other connections drawn in the Shameless Navel Gazing article are absolutely pathetic, and have the air of a man who is reaching for reasons to be offended by something. I cannot for the life of me, fathom why people are making as big a deal about it as they are. However, since this is the internet, I suppose I shall address this.
One thing mentioned that supposedly signifies that Jason and Tom (also known as Dagon and Incubus) are white supremacist is that they had Antichrist Kramer do the artwork for a reissue of one of their older albums, a man who also has associations with known anti-Semitic and white supremacist bands. But in a follow up article on Shameless Navel Gazing, van Johnson accidentally tears down his own argument.
“[...]Dagon tried to claim that his ethnic heritage means he can’t be a white supremacist (“I have half latin roots so use common sense”), and in the Decibel piece claims that Antichrist Kramer, the head of the Satanic Skinhead Propaganda label that is infamous for releasing music by openly anti-Semitic or white supremacist bands, can’t be a white supremacist himself because he has worked with a Mexican band. This argument [is] a close cousin of the “but I have black friends!” defence against racism[…]”
If that argument is no defence against racism, then does it not stand to reason that the same principle should be applied to the reverse, meaning that, just because they had Antichrist Kramer do art for one album, it does not mean they are automatically neo-Nazis? You cannot sit there and tell me an association matters one in one direction, but not another. Yes, they are good friends, but I have news for you; you can be friends with someone without sharing their beliefs. Shocking, I know. They did also release some music on his label, Satanic Skinheads, but I fail to see how that guarantees that they share those same beliefs. Kramer is certainly bigoted, but that does not mean Jason is.
The next bit of evidence cited is that they have an old song called “Crush the Jewish Prophet”. Really? That is your damning evidence? When did metalheads get so sensitive? This is absolutely no different from Behemoth’s anti-Christian message, and the metal community rallied around them when they were being persecuted for blasphemy in Poland. Especially given that it is merely one song, and one of their older and more obscure ones at that, this is a really weak bit of “evidence”. Their lyrical content has to do with cosmology and abstract Luciferian themes, not neo-Nazism. As the judge here, I’m throwing this bit out of court.
Then there is one thing that does condemn them, and that is a picture of the two band members standing next to a Nazi flag in the liner notes for a compilation album called From Columbia With Hate by Sylphorium Records. This compilation was released fifteen years ago in 1999. I can’t say anything to defend this, other than that it is fifteen years old. If the man who started all this, who I might remind you confessed that he was a white supremacist until about 2005, can change his views, why can Inquisition not do the same? If it were more recent, it certainly would be big, but given that it is from 1999 or perhaps even older, I would say that it might not be fair to hold it that harshly against them. Jason’s side project 88MM contributed a song called “14 Showerheads, 1 Gas Tight Door” to a compilation called Declaration of Anti-Semitic Terror, which certainly looks bad, but as Shayne Mathis writes in another Metal Injection article, it could simply be shock value. And keep in mind that even well-loved artists such as Lemmy, Kerry King, and even David Bowie demonstrated an affinity for Nazi symbolism.
“I personally chose to stop listening to Inquisition’s music when I came to the conclusion they were likely neo-Nazis.”
Fine, good riddance. If you are going to stop listening to a band simply because you think they might be neo-Nazis based only on the testimony of one guy and a bunch of bullshit “proof” then you really shouldn’t be listening to black metal in the first place.
Addressing the interview in which Jason responded to the allegations, he says he is no Nazi, talks about the issue of Antichrist Kramer, as well as his side project 88MM, and then tells a story of the aforementioned incident with Daniel Gallant that is quite different from the one Daniel himself told. So who do we believe – the guy who has a career to protect, or the guy who suddenly has found himself with a bunch of attention? It is also worth noting that Decibel Magazine also sought out Gallant for an interview, and he explicitly stated that the entire incident was a result of entrapment and that he has been going after bands for years. He also excused Slayer for their association by saying “it’s not the same context”. Sounds to me that he really just wants attention. It is also likely that neither Gallant nor Jason are remembering the incident in question correctly anyways, their stories differ greatly. After all, it did take place between four (Gallant’s count) and six (Jason’s count) years ago, so it is best to just give it a rest. Let the entire thing go, Gallant has had his fifteen minutes, Inquisition are still an awesome black metal band, and the world will go on.
Oh and one more thing: if this story was the thing that caused Manitoba border officials to hold Inquisition up at the border forcing them to cancel their appearances at the remaining Canadian shows on the tour, then fuck you very much Daniel Gallant.
Inquisition’s newest releas, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse is out now via Season of Mist. The band are just wrapping up their tour with Metal Alliance, with Behemoth, Goatwhore, and others.