Though the magic of social media, I've managed to discover among the new members of Greece's much maligned parliament is the bass player of black metal band Naer Mataron. Giorgos Germenis, perhaps better known by his moniker "Kaiadas", will unsurprisingly represent the far-right party "Golden Dawn".
The first thing I think of when I think of "Golden Dawn" is if those were the Nazi's that I kept killing in that "Return to Castle Wolfenstein" video game on Xbox360. Because everyone knows it's a blast to murder magically empowered Nazi Zombies and watching their guts explode all over one's 55" 1080p plasma. Then I see their flag, and read about their rhetoric (if you happen to be fluent in Greek...., or there's Wikipedia for the rest of us...), you realize that these guys really aren't playing around. Like typical low intellect trash around the world, the bottom feeders of Greek society have become drawn to blaming immigrants and outsiders for the irresponsibility of their own politicians. This isn't to say that I don't also think that German bullying and excessive austerity isn't a serious problem; hell I even think that Greece should drop the Euro immediately. But excessive nationalism is bullshit, and has a long history of leading to horrible regimes that kill millions of innocent people. Just because I like brutal music doesn't mean I feel the need to witness history repeat itself.
This brings us to Mr. Germenis and his role in the Golden Dawn, and what it means for the music I love. Given that sizable contingent of black metal fans are socially awkward rejects of society with marginal intellectual capacity who respond to their inferiority complexes by emerging themselves into nationalism and other forms of cultural superiority bullshit, it's not a surprise that elements of black metal and radical nationalism (Naziism, even) are drawn to each other. One of the elements of radical nationalism is to seek an "authentic identity", often by seeking some element of indigenous and thus superior culture; in Scandinavia and the United States (where racists love to tout their Northern European heritage) elements of Odinsm and other Norse imagery tend to be co-opted by the black metal scene. That doesn't mean that everyone who goes to see the movie Thor or wears a Mjonir necklace is even the slightest bit racist; I'd argue that most metal fans are relatively oblivious to the association between a dead pagan religion with it's cool mythology and far-right nationalism; they just think of drinking beer while listening to Amon Amarth and hailing vikings. The same phenomenon can also take place in Greece. Playing God of War and listening to Rotting Christ doesn't make anyone a racist or sympathetic to nationalist viewpoints (I certainly do both enthusiastically), but when a band like Naer Mataron invokes Greek mythology in it's lyrics and their bass player is now a politican for the Greek equivalent of the Nazi party, it is a struggle not to make the assumption.
I can selfishly say this is extremely bad for the metal scene at large. NSBM fans really don't give two shits about the greater metal scene, and I won't let their politics necessarily prevent me from enjoying well composed music (though I will be far less willing to tolerate mediocrity from a musician that espouses distasteful opinions). But the last thing the average metalhead should want is for the European media to be attempting to link our music scene with far-right wing politics (or far-left, for that matter, they both lead to the same place in the end). That's what Giorgios Germenis' selection to the Greek Parliament is causing, and as I implied in a previous post, I don't want political extremist douchebags to be the face and spokespeople of the genre of music that I love. Not to mention, Naer Mataron kinda sucks. Hear for yourself.
I'm not sure what the best answer would be. I can wishfully think that metal fans will educate themselves on the issues with a critical and analytical mind while questioning the biases of the sources they review. But that's just that, wishful thinking. Metal fans are more concerned with finding their next beer or finding spare change in their sofa for gas money to drive to the next mediocre show at some shit hole club. I do suppose that more fans of reasonable mind could speak up to at least make a counter point to this unsettling movement. Perhaps more established bands could address it, in such a way to produce conflicting voices just so that assholes like Ted Nugent, Dave Mustaine, Varg Vikernies, and now Giorgios Germenis aren't the perceived spokespeople of the genre....