The acclaimed underground kvlt festival Messe des Morts starts today in Montreal, Canada. However, the exclusive event that only expects about 250 attendees (including bands) will face protests from Anti-Fa related groups planned for the entire weekend.
Hosted by Sepulcral Productions, will take place from November 24th -26, at Piranha Bar (Genèse) and at Théâtre Plaza (Psaumes I and II) in Montréal. One of the bands drawing fire at the fest is Graveland from Poland. While classic Polish black metal band that has inspired their more popular peers such as Behemoth and Vader promoted hateful ideologies in their early years. The band has distanced themselves from those views, but controversy has trailed them to this weekends event.
According to a report from the Martin Marcotte,, in 1999, Graveland was identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2008, Germany outlawed the sale of four of Graveland’s albums as “unsafe for youth.”
The alert said Martin Marcotte, the head of Sepulchral Productions, has organized several concerts of extreme-right groups, and “doesn’t seem to want to change his habits.”
Karine Fortier wrote in the Anti-Fa alert regarding Graveland:
“A band with racist and anti-Semitic ideas has no place in Montréal”. The militants do not belong to any particular group, but Fortier expects between 150 and 200 people will join the protest.
“Montréal must remain a safe place for everyone and where racist people who think they have an opening to express their discriminatory ideas must meet with resistance,”.
Calling for people to protest the concert in great numbers, the anti-fascists also denounced the concert theater as the only remaining venue in Montréal still hosting this kind of band, despite the numerous complaints the theater has received.
“It’s important that this concert not be held. Whether it’s the Théâtre Plaza, that refuses to provide a place for racist bands, or the city of Montréal, that doesn’t want to welcome these bands. We can’t legitimize such ideas and above all we can’t give them a place to legitimize their ideas.”
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Marcotte denied that either his festival or Graveland are neo-Nazi or white supremacist.
“There has never been, and there will never be, a political aspect to Messe des Morts, and absolutely everyone, regardless of their origins, is welcome at the festival,” the statement said.
Rob (Darken) Fudali, the founder and frontman of Graveland, in an email to the Montréal Gazette said “It is not easy to clean (the) past.” But he insisted that neither he nor the band is political.
Critics are always “trying to put an NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) mark on the band.” Fudali called the band’s music Pagan Black Metal.
He also sent a copy of a post he wrote on the band’s website in October.
“When Graveland started playing live, some photos of me and Honor members emerged,” Fudali wrote, referring to a now-defunct Polish skinhead band widely associated with the neo-Nazi movement. “They were taken in 2001, and supposed to be some sort of memorabilia only. They have nothing to do with politics, and they are not reflecting my political view, either. Graveland is not an NSBM band and never was!”
An excellent recent editorial on historic racist ties to NSBM and black metal culture in general versus the rise of Anti-Fascist groups was written by Neill Jameson of American black metal band Krieg for Decibel Magazine. You can read that piece here:
In addition to Graceland, Messe des Morts will host Mgla (Exclusive North American Date), Ulcerate, Aosoth (Exclusive North American Date), Cult Of Fire (Exclusive North American Date) Forteresse, Zhrine, Monarque, Phobocosm, Moonreich (For The First Time In North America), Cantique Lépreux and more. The event is sold out.