As in 2020, SPLCs analysts again registered 11 Hate Music chapters in 2021, a drop from 15 going back to 2019. Hate music has been a powerful vehicle for recruiting young people into the white power movement internationally since its emergence within the racist skinhead scene in the early 1980s. In recent years, hateful black metal – particularly National Socialist Black Metal, or NSBM – has proven a potent recruiting force, especially among youth. This trend is reflected in our count. Though most are small and piloted by lone individuals, labels promoting hateful black metal are more engaged with their scenes: issuing new releases; partnering with other like-minded labels, even internationally; intermingling this racist sub-genre with other metal subgenres and bands with lyrical themes and aesthetics that are not bigoted; and holding more of a presence on social media. Long-running racist skinhead labels based in the U.S. generally operate more static catalogs, often going months or even years without updating their websites.
For the second year, the American Defense Skinheads, which is listed under the racist skinhead category of SPLC’s Hate Map, held a hate music concert in Pennsylvania in October that featured racist skinhead bands, new and old. The show attracted, perhaps, a few dozen attendees and was co-organized by Keystone State Skins, aka Keystone United, another racist skinhead hate group listed by the SPLC. New small gatherings featuring a range of subcultural musical styles also co-opted by racists – including electronic, industrial, black metal, neo-folk, noise and so called “hatecore” – brought together newer bands with other hate groups and labels. These events took place in mid-Atlantic region states, with each bringing together a few dozen attendees or less.
Hate music will continue to serve as a potent tool for white supremacist recruiters internationally. Overlap between long-standing racist skinhead crews and bands with the aforementioned new efforts to promote hate music across other musical genres are emerging. These efforts are niche and, as noted above, are not attracting a large numbers of followers. That said, such efforts reflect the history of hate music as it has evolved to promote both distinct and overlapping sub-genres of racist music. Deeply anti-democratic, those reflections project dehumanizing lyrics and imagery that encourage violence and terrorism against communities and identities that have been and continue to be marginalized.
As a broader subculture, the scene will continue to play a role, re-propagandizing the aesthetics and esoterics, as well as the bigotry and brutality, of the Nazi party and more contemporary white power groups and figureheads internationally, including convicted murderers and terrorists. Through the 1980s to mid-2000s, concerts organized by racist skinhead crews represented the scene’s core. Today, hateful black metal events such as Asgardrei Fest, held nearly every year in Ukraine since 2014, have, perhaps, eclipsed the relevance of racist skinhead concerts.
In the early 1990s, hate music grew from a cottage industry into a multimillion-dollar, worldwide industry that was a primary conduit of money and young recruits to the radical right. Although the subculture originated in Britain in the early 1980s, it is now popular among hard-core racists throughout the world.
The scene grew up around the English band Skrewdriver, led by the late Ian Stuart Donaldson, and has spawned hundreds of bands. Hate music spans numerous genres of music.
For several years beginning in the late 1990s, Resistance Records, a label owned by the once-powerful neo-Nazi group National Alliance, dominated the hate music landscape. The label made hundreds of thousands of dollars for the group, formerly led by William Pierce. But as the Alliance shriveled, so did Resistance Records. Today, the music scene is no longer dominated by a single label, but instead fed by scores of smaller labels and distributions. Some have catalogs of hundreds of releases, while others only print small, limited runs of records and/or tapes and maintain catalogs of less than 10 releases. SPLC lists hate music labels based on their catalogs and not necessarily the politics, beliefs and/or identities of their owners.
2021 hate music groups
Black Metal Cult Records
Brotherhood of Light Recordings
H8 Propagand Art
ISD Records/NS88 Video
United Riot Records
New York *
Vinlandic Werwolf Distribution
Winter Solace Productions