Terrorfest Brings Antifascist Black Metal and Grindcore to the Pacific Northwest


2019 is set to be the year that explicitly antifascist metal takes over the scene.  In January, former Noisey metal editor Kim Kelly launched the first ever Black Flags Over Brooklyn antifascist metal festival, highlighting bands that were down with an antiracist and left-wing bent.  This helped to coagulate a trend that has existed for years, metal bands that are shutting off the small racist corner who tries to twist the music for their own recruitment.  Over the past year, bands that have taken their antifascist position a step further, like Gaylord and Neckbeard Deathcamp, have made headlines, meaning that it is no longer enough to simply reject white nationalist politics, musicians are being asked to take a stand.

Just a few months later, many of the bands that have led the way in this antifascist metal and grind scene are being featured at Northwest Terrorfest (May 30th-June 2nd), one of the biggest black metal and grindcore festivals of the year.  Terrorfest has happened annually the past few years in Seattle, Washington, bringing in 3-4 of aggressive edge music that mixes some of the most experimental loud bands touring right now.

Terrorfest is headlined by grindcore behemoth Pig Destroyer, and features a number of bands known throughout the antifascist scene, and several who were also featured at Black Flags Over Brooklyn.  

We wanted to highlight a few of these bands who will be at the festival, and who cross our paths in the murky world of neofolk/black metal/”extreme” sound.  We will put Bandcamp links to each band below, and are starting a Northwest Terrorfest Spotify playlist to highlight a few of these bands (unfortunately, not all of them are on Spotify).  Take note, these are (mostly) not neofolk acts so we are not adding them to the Antifascist Neofolk Spotify playlist (except for Dawn Ray’d and Panopticon, which is already on there).

Dawn Ray’d

This may be the most well known of this slate of antifascist black metal bands since it is one of the most upfront about their politics, while also being well situated in a more traditional black metal sound.  Britain’s Dawn Ray’d will be headlining the Barboza stage on Thursday (5/30) night, along with bands like Ken Mode, Addaura, and Dead to a Dying World.  Their aggressive, working-class anarchist politics drive Dawn Ray’d’s uniquely different take on black metal iconoclastic misanthropy, and have stood on conviction in a scene often screaming to “not make things political.”  The symphonic side of their music will set well with with neofolk fans, which is why we are adding a single song to the Antifascist Neofolk Spotify playlist.



Closet Witch

Closet Witch is one of the most aggressive power violence our right now, led by a woman, has always had a certain up-front consciousness about pushing out Nazis in the scene and highlighting marginalized musicians.  Their short blasts of ultraviolence are a stray from the neofolk scene, but will be perfectly set along bands like Pig Destroyer at Terrorfest. This is pure musical violence all set into a DIY frenzy, perfect for coming out of Iowa’s heartland and shattering the boundaries in festivals like these.


Photo Credit: Farrah Skeiky (http://farrahskeiky.com/)

Cloud Rat

A band like Cloud Rat is on the edge for a festival like this since it feels much more at home in a crust hardcore basement, brief blasts of punk fire.  Cloud Rat, like Dawn Ray’d and Closet Witch, were featured at Black Flags Over Brooklyn, a big statement of cross-fringe solidarity. Their frenetic sound will be a good match to some of the slower, symphonic noise tracks of bands like Addaura.




The Terrorfest set by Panopticon may be the best situated for A Blaze Ansuz.  On Wednesday night, before the primary three days of the festival, A. Lunn of Panopticon will play an acoustic set more in line with the neofolk sound.  This is the kind of tracks we highlighted in our article about the pagan metal band Panopticon, known for its labor and anarchist folk songs out of Appalachia.  This is a unique treat, and one that can help to bridge the two scene, and if you can add the Wednesday night ticket to your package we highlighly recommend it.


Photo by Suren Karapetyan

Despise You

This famous powerviolence five piece from Inglewood, California is known for being one of the most aggressively angry bands on the planets, both in sound and lyrics.  They are not known for their heavy political stance, but as they feature artists of color and have stood against racist assholes, we feel comfortable selling them as a part of this slate at Terrorfest.  Despise You has been one of the few bands in the genre that is well centered in communities of color that talks about the issues that actually affect them, like police and gang violence.  We are still waiting for the Capitalist Casualties/Despise You split that we are fantasizing about.

There are a ton of other great bands on the line-up that we haven’t seen much from politically, so hopefully playing with this great line-up will only grow the antifascist metal scene.  

Check out Northwest Terrorfest, and get your festival passes while they are still available.  There are two stages for the primary three days of the festival, and you can get tickets to both or either.  We also want to highlight that NW Terrofest has put that “attendees will be able to choose bathrooms which correspond to their gender identity” on their ticketing material, a move we encourage other promoters and venues to do as well.

Remember to check out our 2019 Northwest Terrorfest Spotify playlist, and always add our ongoing Antifascist Neofolk playlist!



Fatal Nostalgia Brings Nightmarish Beauty to Ambient Neofolk

Neofolk is diverse in a way that few genres can be: a big tent that ranges from metal to traditional folk music to synthed-ambient to plucky singer-songwriters.  It is that point of fusion that gives neofolk a special edge, the ability to revisit something known and to breathe a contemporary life into it. If we take something like traditional music and reimagine it with today’s tools, can we take what was beautiful about it and inject it back into our lives?  

Fatal Nostalgia is one of the best examples of that eclectic nature, using the mechanisms of ambient soundscapes and building in a sound that wreaks of Euro-folk.  Fatal Nostalgia was another project we came across on the Red and Anarchist Black Metal blog and were immediately struck by its frenetic song structure, moving from nature sounds to driving drums and guitar and back to a certain campfire simplicity.  Since their founding they have released five albums: Halcyon Nostalgia (2012), Fatal Nostalgia (Self-Titled) (2012), Nocturnes (2013), Quietus (2014), and Hyacinthe (2016).  They have additionally put out two EPs, A Gathering of Ghosts (2013) and Woods of Somnolence (2012).  The newest track, the psychedelic “Ego Death,” came out in 2016.

The music has incredible range, so much so that it can feel like a label-wide compilation even on a single album.  Tracks like ‘Badger’ sound as though they could be the ten-minute track played in a rave coolout room to help quell bad trips, while ‘Without You’ has a distinctly melancholy vibe that feels like the backward facing nostalgia known to neofolk.  Fatal Nostalgia is an ambient project more than anything else at the end of the day, and does feel as though it is the singular vision of an artist and his computer.

The project has been heavily influenced by the cascadian sound of groups like Nuwisha, as well as are sympathetic with the green anarchist politics that drove it.  Like many of these projects, politics is not their primary purpose and are instead vocal about wanting to drive emotion and highlighting psychedelic concepts like “ego death.”  This drives to the heart of what neofolk is, about connecting reality with emotion and building on what things could be (or have been) rather than what they are.  Fatal Nostalgia then feels like a dangerous dream, haunting in the background.

We have added several Fatal Nostalgia songs to the Spotify Antifascist Neofolk playlist, and are including several tracks from their Bandcamp below.


Make sure to follow the Antifascist Neofolk playlist on Spotify, featuring Fatal Nostalgia!