When I get pretty frustrated with my own country’s shameful history regarding civil rights, I remind myself that they don’t exactly love free speech and free expression over there in Europe, either. It seems that Romanian black metal band Negura Bunget has run into problems with French and Spanish authorities on tour because someone insinuated its members were Nazis, which they aren’t, according to manager Emiliano Lanzoni:
“We’ve been informed that Spanish and French police are investigating NEGURA BUNGET’s European tour and that there are rumors about cancelling shows because the band is suspected of being Nazi sympathizers or ultranationalists… Well, this is ridiculous…NEGURA BUNGET is probably the most humble, talented, down to earth and friendly band in the whole black metal scene, where 90% of the black metal bands speaks about violence, hate, satan or whatever is ‘evil’ or ‘wrong. NEGURA BUNGET stands for humanity, nature and emotions. There is NOTHING in their music and lyrics about Nazism or fascism; they NEVER supported such organizations. There’s an official statement about this in their website that is online since maybe 2002 and I really can’t imagine how police can be so wrong.”
I went to the band’s official site, which is probably more than the Spanish and French authorities did, and I found no evidence of anything resembling Nazism. I did, however, find their spiritual manifesto.
Manifesting the Will of the Universe… Negura Bunget… foggy black above deep, dark, dense, never-ending forests of mythical heights and atmospheres… Looking through the elevated magical significance of the fog, carrying the ancient sorcerers between the worlds, seeing the old wood mark of the forest’s anima; there opens the untouched land meant as Transilvania. A magic chosen place… for that which was to be fulfilled. The circumscribed circle of the tense inner reality where all human perception, intellect and experience merge.
Beyond this open the gates of the unknown, that can be revealed to the human conscience, and then the un-cognoscible. Surpassing, blasting the limits of the contingency… to elevate the conscience, to melt it in a new ocean of sense, the Transcendent, the Universe.
Gathering all these knowledge, passive and static like clear ice stone… the magic time untwines, ascending the person by practice, interior sacrificing, activating the change. The Ideology of Transcendence. Melting the conscience in with the Will of the Universe the human natural nature creates the ritual methodology of the Transilvanian Spirituality. ZSALAMOLKXISA!
Wow. I have no idea what any of that means–especially ZSALAMOLKXISA, which does bring up Google results, but they’re all related to Negura Bunget. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean anything racist, unless there’s some dense Nazi code getting lost in translation. My limited experience with White Power acts has involved a bunch of bands who put those kind of messages up front. I remember getting a Lightning Rod record sent to my college radio punk show. Somehow, the significance of the SS logo on the front was lost on me, and I popped the sucker in. I thought it was decent enough hardcore until I heard them yell something about “Third World Monkeys,” which was when I threw it in the trash where it belonged.
But you know what? Maybe this is the sliver of Libertarian in me coming through, but why should it matter what type of band they are, Nazi or not? I know that Europe has a complicated history with Nazism and fascism, but let the listeners sort the band’s message out for themselves. Barring a band from touring, Nazi or no, seems to be the kind of censorship that fascists would themselves employ. There are jerks everywhere, and the more we allow them to speak then the more they allow themselves to prove their jerkiness.
As for Negura Bunget, their live show seems okay: