On Saturday, July 21, a trio of anonymous musicians operating under the name Neckbeard Deathcamp self-released an album of raw black metal called White Nationalism Is for Basement Dwelling Losers. The band’s artwork mockingly co-opts white supremacist symbols, including the death’s head made infamous by the SS (recast as a portrait of Rick Ross) and the Nazi eagle (with a penis for a head and a Pepe cartoon instead of a swastika in its talons). The song titles further clarify the album’s targets: “Incel Warfare,” “Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis),” “The Fetishization ov Asian Women Despite a Demand for a Pure White Race (Outro).”
Black metal has long had a problem with toxic ideologies: its love of paganism can easily provide cover for neo-Nazism, and its nihilism can be a pose to camouflage white supremacy and misogyny. These days the Internet is a thriving nursery for this kind of right-wing extremism, and Neckbeard Deathcamp take aim at a wide swath of it: 4chan edgelords with Pepe avatars, smug Proud Boys, redpilled incels, fake-ironic Kekistani white nationalists, and more. The band’s imagery and lyrics are so extreme that sometimes they seem like a joke, but at least they’re a joke at the expense of people who ought to be mocked.
Neckbeard Deathcamp purport to be from Bordeaux, France, which is another joke—the city is also home to Norwegian black-metal artist Varg Vikernes, notorious for his murderous role in the band Mayhem, for his solo project Burzum, and for his racist and neo-Nazi views. However the members of Neckbeard Deathcamp actually live in several U.S. cities, including Chicago. They wrote and recorded White Nationalism Is for Basement Dwelling Losers over the course of a couple of weekends, and in addition to manufacturing a tiny run of cassette and CD copies they uploaded the album to their Bandcamp page (where it’s selling for one American dollar). Then they dropped the page’s URL into a few carefully chosen Reddit groups and waited to see what would happen.
What happened exceeded their wildest expectations: the album briefly topped Bandcamp’s metal category and even more briefly outsold everything else on the site. I first saw a casual mention of the project in a Chicago music forum on Sunday, and on Tuesday I spoke to the band’s vocalist, pianist, noise maker, and artistic director, Kriegmeister Hatestorm (he and new bassist Kaiser Wehrwulf VonTolerance both live in Chicago). In the brief window of time between those two events, says Hatestorm, Neckbeard Deathcamp sold more than 1,000 albums, booked two festival appearances (he can’t say which ones yet), and fielded queries from mainstream media outlets such as Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. The band is currently planning a tour and working on a second full-length and a split EP (the other band is a secret for now, though Hatestorm insists that when the news drops, “You’ll laugh”).
Most important from Neckbeard Deathcamp’s point of view, they’ve seen evidence (on message boards and via their Bandcamp contact e-mail) that their music is already bugging the crap out of at least some of its intended targets. (The band intend to stay anonymous because the alt-right loves to doxx, harass, and threaten its critics.) The group sampled far-right kook-enabling conspiracy-theory peddlers Infowars on “Cucked (Intro),” and when Hatestorm mentioned he’d heard rumors that Infowars might “report” on Neckbeard Deathcamp, I asked him if the president had tweeted about the record yet. In total earnestness, he answered, “If that ever happens, that would be the crowning achievement of my life.”
Before I sent Hatestorm my interview questions via e-mail, he let me know that he intended to answer “in character.” So I did my best to play along. I’ve edited his answers lightly and retyped them so they’re not in all caps—I figure nobody needs the extra eyestrain.
Chicago Reader: How did Neckbeard Deathcamp form, who is in the band, and what is your ultimate goal?
Kriegmeister Hatestorm: Neckbeard Deathcamp is a Soros foundation-sponsored antifascist supersoldier cell operating in the U.S. as an effort to spread the globalist agenda. It is comprised of myself, Superkommando Uberweinerschnitzel, Hailz Komradez, and recent addition Kaiser Wehrwulf VonTolerance. Our goal is to exterminate the alt-right and everything those fucking losers stand for. We extend our hand to any allies who would like to join the warkampaign. Our mission is one of war and only war.
Word is that you’re in the Chicago area on a stealth mission. Can you tell us more about that?
We are currently here administering the supersoldier serum to local antifascist militants and distributing merchandise to fund the warkampaign, as well as to increase our power through absorption of the fat riffs and blastbeat output of the midwest’s exceedingly brutal grind scene. Thus far, this trip has been a total success.
What does your logo represent?
Our logo is a lampoon of the pathetic fascist Totenkopf symbol and how the alt-right clings to a history they had no part in. Rick “the Boss” Ross was the finalist in a series of over-the-top, self-aggrandizing celebrities I considered. If I didn’t think Kanye West would sue us, it would have been him, especially after that whole fucking MAGA disaster earlier this year. The purpose of the logo is to mock the way the contemporary fash overstate their accomplishments and worship their own temples. They have much to learn from Ozymandias.
It seems like everyone is talking about electronic warfare these days—like how the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. How have Neckbeard Deathcamp taken over the Internet to spread their message?
We are in exultation at the strength of the growing warkampaign. Watching it spread from the driver’s seat, we see how the message of a childlike demagogue could literally be paid for, to be put in the ear of so many—especially with the machinelike Cambridge Analytica. The “share” button is the only tactic we have employed, but it is clear how much strength lies in a well-told punch line.
Is black metal the best tool to antagonize white nationalists?
Extreme music attracts extreme petulance. Frankly, we’re just impressed by how much of it is toothless posturing. Poseurs, literally poseurs.
Though you’re most explicitly against basement-dwelling white nationalists, you’ve also written songs that incels and redpills can relate to, such as “Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis).” Is this a tactic to infiltrate the enemy, gain their trust, and bring them over to your side? Or something else?
No. All of our songs are to be taken as absolute bile at face value. Scum are to be treated as scum until they get it together. Crossing the aisle, and a willingness to engage in discussion, is a worthwhile thing to do. But Neckbeard Deathcamp are not that; such pursuits are reserved for individuals with alternate sets of talents than the ones we possess.
In the song “XXXL Obersturmfuhrer Leather Duster,” you foresee a great meme war in the future where there shall be winners and there shall be losers. What awaits the fallen soldiers in Meme Valhalla?
Meme Valhalla is also a lampoon of the fascist fetishization of Nordic culture. There is no Meme Valhalla, just as there is no hope for a fascist future in America, only the absolute extermination of that ideology. There will be winners, and the winners will be us.