Local Wire

How Anti-Nazi Activists Got a Black Metal Show in Tempe Canceled

A few black metal bands scheduled a show for Saturday, October 24, at Palo Verde Lounge in Tempe. Soon, members of the local music community started calling them Nazis. 

The bands on the bill all had the same types of nearly illegible, scribbled black metal logos — the kind that look like an ink splatter struck by lightning — and the flyer for the show used a Gothic font in white and red letters over a black background. In the bottom right-hand corner were three symbols of religion — a cross, a star and crescent moon, and a six-pointed Jewish star — each with a dark red line crossed through it. 

Members of the local hardcore scene revolted when they saw the flyer and checked out the bands. They took to the Facebook page of the Palo Verde Lounge and called the bands Nazis and pointed to other evidence — gathered from Facebook pages of the bands and their members — to prove it.  

The owner of Palo Verde didn't want to comment publicly. However, he unceremoniously canceled the show Wednesday, October 7, via a succinct Facebook post after the social media outcry.

"For obvious reasons, the show on 10/24 has been canceled," the post read. 

The bands on the bill were Nokturnal Warfare, Blood Division, Sadism, Oztoc, Viento Nokturno, and Secessionist. 

So are they actual Nazis? It's a more difficult question than you'd think. The bands' members are mostly of Mexican descent, bringing up the question: Can Latinos be Nazis?

The headliner, Nokturnal Warfare, is a Los Angeles-based group describing itself as a "nican tlaca black metal" band, a reference to a nativist Mexican pride movement. It might seem counter-intuitive for Mexican radicals to associate themselves with neo-Nazis, but there exists an offshoot of national socialist black metal (NSBM, a.k.a. Nazi metal) that has melded with certain strains of Mexican pride movements. A Spanish-language NSBM label called Pagan National Socialist Organization includes bands that feature hybrid images such as swastikas made from Aztec symbols. 

So, yes, it appears there is such a thing as Aztec Nazis. 

If Nokturnal Warfare isn't a Nazi band, it sure seems to love Hitler because its Facebook page is full of Nazi imagery. New Times reached out to the band for comment but received no response as of press time. UPDATE, 10-9-2015, 7:30 a.m.: Nokturnal Warfare has responded to New Times' questions. See replies below. 

The band has shared the cover of a 1938 issue of Der Pimpf (a Hitler Youth propaganda magazine) on its Facebook page featuring a Sioux warrior. 

The band has also used a logo of what appears to be a demon's head with a swastika on its forehead.

It has also signed social media posts "M/88." The number "88" is often used by white supremacists. Since H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, "88" equals "Heil Hitler."

Then, there's the hand-drawn swastika on what appears to be the band's set list:

You decide.

UPDATE: Nokturnal Warfare has since responded, speaking through a man calling himself Komander Yaoyotl. 

On the band's use of swastikas: "The swastika we use is the Mexica, better known as the Aztec swastika. It symbolizes the sun, primarily the sun war god Huitzilopochtli who was the supreme god of the southern native Mexica . . . The swastika IS a Mesoamerican sacred pagan symbol. All because the third Reich uses it doesn't mean we use it the same."

On the Mexican national socialist black metal scene:

"For anyone who is aware of Mesoamerican black metal pagan bands, especially from Mexico, they will see they are mostly Marxist. We are not and did not want to be in the same pool as them. Although we are not National Socialist we do consider ourselves Pagan Nationalist."

On using "88" to sign Facebook posts:

"88 is HH which, yes, means Heil Hitler. If you look at our page you will see we say Hail Huitzilopochtli . . . Hitler did nothing for Mexica or Aztec culture, so we are not Hitlerist."

On wearing Nazi metal T-shirts but not being Nazis:

"We can understand why people may think we are Nazis. We wear notable NSBM shirts and are judged based solely on that. Judas Priest has an outspoken homosexual vocalist. If I like Judas Priest does that make me a homosexual and should it matter? Or course not."
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David Accomazzo is a music wrangler, award-winning reporter, critic, and editor with more than a decade in the business.
Contact: David Accomazzo