In 2022, SPLC’s analysts registered a decrease in hate music chapters. 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 continue to be more engaged with their scenes: issuing new releases; partnering with other like-minded labels and distributions, 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 or issuing a single new release.
For the third year, the American Defense Skinheads, which is listed under the racist skinhead category of SPLC’s Hate Map, held hate music concerts in Pennsylvania that featured racist skinhead bands, new and old. These concerts attracted, perhaps, a few dozen attendees and took place in April and September. In attendance: Individuals active with the Keystone State Skins, aka Keystone United; Atlantic City Skins, aka AC Skins; and individuals formerly involved with the Hammerskin Nation. All three are racist skinhead hate groups listed by the SPLC through the years.
A recent trend of 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” – that bring together newer bands and older hate groups and labels continued. One such event took place in March in Maryland.
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 new efforts to promote hate music across other musical genres will likely also continue. These efforts are niche, though, and are not attracting large attendances. That said, such efforts reflect how the subculture of hate music has evolved over four decades to promote both distinct and overlapping subgenres of racist music. Deeply antidemocratic, those reflections project dehumanizing lyrics, imagery, symbolism and sometimes organizations 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 spread 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, occasionally attracting hundreds of individuals here in the United States. Today, hateful black metal events such as Asgardrei Fest, held nearly every year in Ukraine since 2014 before the military invasion of that country by Russia, have eclipsed the relevance of racist skinhead concerts. At the intersection of racist skinhead and hateful metal subcultures in recent years, individuals organizing and promoting hate music concerts in the United States have solidified relationships with bands and individuals doing so in countries like Mexico, Chile and others. This network has been promoting concerts scheduled for early 2023 to be held in both Chile and Mexico.
This subculture views concerts as important venues for networking and movement-building.
Hate music bands and labels will also continue to attempt to evade enforcement parameters and mechanisms of companies like Spotify, Apple Music and others. Bands outside the United States whose lyrics are sung in languages other than English are generally more successful at remaining on streaming platforms. This subculture is generally incapable of introducing its hate to wider audiences without the complicity or ignorance of music streaming services.
From the early 1980s to the early 1990s, hate music grew from a cottage industry into a multimillion-dollar, international industry that was a primary conduit of money and young recruits flowing into 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 distributors. 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 the identities of their owners.
2022 hate music groups
Black Metal Cult Records
Phoenix , Arizona
Brotherhood of Light Recordings
Shawnee on Delaware, Pennsylvania
H8 Propagand Art
ISD Records/NS88 Video
United Riot Records
New York, New York
Vinlandic Werwolf Distribution
Sherman Oaks, California
White Power Hour
Winter Solace Productions