Dec 11, 2016

Anti-fascists plan to protest black metal concert in Montreal on Saturday

MONTREAL GAZETTENovember 23, 2016

A black metal concert in Montreal this Saturday could draw as many protesters as fans, with anti-fascist militants vowing to disrupt the show by what they call one of the most openly racist bands on the scene.
Graveland, from Poland, is one of several bands expected to take the stage as part of the annual Messe des Morts (Mass of the Dead) festival, which starts Thursday at Théâtre Plaza on Plaza St. Hubert.
The festival organizers are heralding the sold-out concert as Graveland’s first ever live show in North America. But on Tuesday, the Montreal Gazette received an “anti-fascist alert” on behalf of militants who have denounced organizers for knowingly welcoming what the militants call an anti-Semitic group. 
In 1999, Graveland was identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in the United States. In 2008, Germany outlawed the sale of four of Graveland’s albums as “unsafe for youth.”
The alert said Martin Marcotte, the head of Sepulchral Productions, has organized several concerts of extreme-right groups, and “doesn’t seem to want to change his habits.” 
“A band with racist and anti-Semitic ideas has no place in Montreal,” wrote Karine Fortier in the alert. The militants do not belong to any particular group, but Fortier expects between 150 and 200 people will join the protest. 
“Montreal must remain a safe place for everyone and where racist people who think they have an opening to express their discriminatory ideas must meet with resistance,” she wrote.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Marcotte denied that either his festival or Graveland are neo-Nazi or white supremacist. 
“There has never been, and there will never be, a political aspect to Messe des Morts, and absolutely everyone, regardless of their origins, is welcome at the festival,” the statement said. One of the bands invited in the past has featured an Asian musician, another included a black musician, it added. 
It is true that the founder of Graveland has held some “distressing” views, the statement continued, but that was in the past, and the band has formally dissociated itself from any political affiliations. 
Rob (Darken) Fudali, the founder and frontman of Graveland, in an email to the Montreal Gazette said “It is not easy to clean (the) past.” But he insisted that neither he nor the band is political.
Critics are always “trying to put an NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) mark on the band.” Fudali called the band’s music Pagan Black Metal.
He also sent a copy of a post he wrote on the band’s website in October.
“When Graveland started playing live, some photos of me and Honor members emerged,” Fudali wrote, referring to a now-defunct Polish skinhead band widely associated with the neo-Nazi movement. “They were taken in 2001, and supposed to be some sort of memorabilia only. They have nothing to do with politics, and they are not reflecting my political view, either. Graveland is not an NSBM band and never was!”
Fortier said while the concert would certainly attract people wanting just to hear the music, it would certainly also attract extreme right militants who want to encourage a white supremacist band.  
Calling for people to protest the concert in great numbers, the anti-fascists also denounced the concert theatre as the only remaining venue in Montreal still hosting this kind of band, despite the numerous complaints the theatre has received. 
“It’s important that this concert not be held,” Fortier said. “Whether it’s the Théâtre Plaza, that refuses to provide a place for racist bands, or the city of Montreal, that doesn’t want to welcome these bands. We can’t legitimize such ideas and above all we can’t give them a place to legitimize their ideas.”
The Théâtre Plaza did not respond to a request for comment.

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