Volahn Credit: thatswherebatslive/FlickR

The uneasy ties between black metal and white supremacy are long-standing, tangled, and rarely addressed publicly; even less often are musicians forced to reckon with their own racist histories. But in 2015, rumors of Inquisition’s Nazi affiliations reached such a pitch that front man Dagon had to field questions about them in an interview with Decibel. Dagon said he wasn’t a Nazi, waved away questions about Inquisition’s relationships with infamously racist metal labels such as No Colours, and hedged about his own Hitler-­sampling noise project, 88MM—the name of which is itself an allusion to World War II-era German artillery (and possibly to the neo-Nazi code “88,” another invocation of the leader of the Third Reich). It’s an interview filled with red flags—if Inquisition don’t traffic in racist beliefs, they seem incredibly protective of those who do. (The band have been tight-lipped about their politics since.) So it may seem incongruous that they’re touring with Volahn, a group that once ended an interview with AXS by proclaiming, “PRAISE TO ALL NATIVE TRIBES OF OUR CONTINENT! BROWN PRIDE!” Transplanted to the U.S. from Guatemala, Volahn are now the consistent highlight of the Black Twilight Circle—southern California’s answer to France’s black-metal collective Les Legions Noire. Nothing’s simple in black metal. Nothing’s simple in Volahn’s music, either; their most recent release reflects the influence of Italian composer Ennio Morricone and the contemplative aspects of Norwegian second-wave black metal, creating an arresting step forward in the band’s Mesoamerican-inspired sound. Volahn rarely tour, making this midwestern appearance an exciting aberration—and with any luck an indication of future activity.   v