A Maryland tattoo shop that regularly hosts metal shows almost featured a band best known to metalheads for its anti-Semitic lyrics and artwork. The band, Nyogthaeblisz, was pulled from Friday night’s lineup at Gaithersburg’s Raw Ink, after members of the local metal scene alerted the venue’s owner.
The band, based in Texas, was originally slated to be the now-four-act show’s headliner, but lost its booking after Raw Ink’s owner, Bobby Weschler, says he was alerted to Nyogthaeblisz’s previous work. Nyogthaeblisz’s discography includes songs with titles like “Esoteric Fascism”—a likely reference to esoteric Nazism, the blanket term for mystical interpretations of Nazi philosophy that cropped up after World War II—and lyrics like “Viciously devastating the menial Israelite rats.” The band has also contributed songs to neo-Nazi compilation albums like one titled Satanic Skinhead: Declaration Of Anti-Semetic Terror. (Notes on the album state that “anti-Semitic” was misspelled intentionally in order to sell the album in Germany, where it is illegal to promote discrimination against Jews.)
Weschler says the shows at Raw Ink are booked by someone outside the tattoo shop who works under the title Legion of Death Productions, but that person was not available. “We’ll do research on the bands and they usually look great,” Weschler says. “We saw this slip by and started looking into it when people came to me. It was quite scary when we saw the photographs alone.“
Nyogthaeblisz has been called out for its anti-Semitism before. In 2011, it was removed from the bill at an Austin metal festival after organizers realized the band’s nature. That episode still resonates with knowledgable metalheads far outside Texas, like Metal Chris, who publishes DCHeavyMetal.com.
“I knew as soon I saw,” Metal Chris says. “It pissed me off. I do a lot for promoting metal and DIY scenes, and to have racist bands take advantage of that is offensive to me.”
The booking was especially hurtful in light of last weekend’s white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which culminated in an apparent terrorist attack in which 20-year-old Ohio resident James Alex Fields Jr. allegedly used his car to mow down a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators, killing one and injuring 19 more.
“I’m pretty embarrassed,” Weschler says. “I have a set-list from each band now and we’re going through the lyrics. I’m pretty embarrassed about it and scary to see those photos and what might’ve happened had this gone through.”