“That is the power of an invisible order. Its members know that they are members. Those who are not members are aware that they do not participate.”
-Romanian Legionary propagandist Ovidiu Gules, quoted by Gerhard Petak in interview(1)
“If the mythical and irrational, as well as the desire for anti-Enlightenment introspection and living transcendence, find a voice in youth culture, the aesthetic consensus of the West will be broken.”
-From the German New Right newspaper Junge Freiheit, 1996(2)
“Folkish is today a dangerous word. Like the words home, roots, loyalty it is situated in the cross wires of an omnipresent brainwashing. Those who use this word are pushed close to the Third Reich. But the foreign policy of the Third Reich was not folkish at all. The principle that the peoples were different, but equal of birth, was not taken into consideration.”
-Gerhard Petak, as quoted by the “Tasmanian National-Anarchists” (3)
“Separate but equal.”
-Policy underlining Jim Crow laws in the American South
Allerseelen on Tour
This December, the Austrian far‐Right “post‐industrial” and martial music project Allerseelen is set to give a series of performances on the US West Coast. Allerseelen is the project of Gerhard Petak (aka Kadmon and Gerhard Hallstatt) who also incorporates other performers into the act when playing live(4). Several of the Allerseelen shows are scheduled to take place in larger venues supporting the prominent Portland, Oregon “dark metal” group Agalloch, who will be touring to promote their new album. The hitching of Allerseelen onto the tour of a larger heavy metal act will provide new outlets for Petak’s extreme‐Right messages. Agalloch, the group which Allerseelen will support, is at present crossing over from underground cult status to something nearer the mainstream, the group’s latest album even being promoted with a write‐up and “exclusive first listen” on National Public Radio’s music webpage.(5) It is troubling that the accompanying act Agalloch chose to expose its growing audiences to, has a long history of far‐Right involvement and propaganda, and is an attempt to make aspects of fascist discourse acceptable. (Allerseelen will first play two separate headlining shows before joining the Agalloch tour.) Agalloch’s decision to further link itself to Petak / Allerseelen by appearing on a new compilation CD released by Petak’s label(6), is likewise of concern to anti‐fascists and is of similar poor judgment.
The dates of Allerseelen’s tour are:
Waldteufel + Allerseelen: - 15 Dec 2010 Portland - 16 Dec 2010 Salem (+ HELL, Barghest)
Agalloch + Allerseelen: - 17 Dec 2010 Portland OR Berbati’s Pan (+ Aerial Ruin) - 18 Dec 2010 Seattle WA Neumo’s (+ Alda + Waldteufel) - 21 Dec 2010 Los Angeles CA Ultra Violet Social Club (+ Winterthrall) - 22 Dec 2010 San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall (+ Dispirit) (7)
Petak’s Politics and Associations
Gerhard Petak has been releasing music under the name Allerseelen since the end of the 1980s(8). During the 1990s, the extreme‐Right nature of Petak’s politics became increasingly evident, through his writing and publishing as well as his musical releases. Before explaining how Petak promotes far‐Right discourses, we must first provide a thumbnail sketch of what his politics actually are. While Petak has had contact with some people who could be fairly described as Nazis or neo‐Nazis, Petak has also criticized the Third Reich in print, and we do not describe him personally as a Nazi. (We will discuss Petak’s attitude towards historical Nazism later.) We place Petak’s viewpoints and advocacy on the terrain of neo‐fascism and the far‐Right, especially that of the European New Right. Some other ideological influences will be discussed in passing. If at times Petak’s viewpoints appear as a jumble of varied and even opposing influences, it is worth noting that fascism has always been a syncretic ideological movement - one that attempts to fuse differing elements into a single whole. Indeed, this syncretic nature has given rise to one of fascism’s primary qualities, that of simultaneously being “A and not A” and often harboring diametrically opposed impulses, such as attempting mass political mobilization while also vocalizing contempt for mass society(9) (These contradictions unfortunately do not render fascism or fascist politics harmless.)
The European New Right
As well as his own self‐produced pamphlets, Petak’s thoughts have also been printed in publications of the European New Right, such as Staatsbriefe and Junge Freiheit(10). An understanding of this European New Right (ENR hereafter) is crucial for an understanding of Petak and Allerseelen. The European New Right stems from an attempt to rethink fascist politics in light of the failure of its mid‐20th Century manifestations. While the ENR now contains many voices, its primary ideologue is Alain de Benoist, who had been a member of the French neo‐fascist organizations Jeune Nation and its successor Europe‐ Action, before founding the GRECE think tank in 1968 at the age of twenty‐five(11). (The French word “Grece” means Greece, suggesting the glories of ancient Europe; the acronym GRECE stands for “Research and Study Group for a European Civilization” as written in French.) In the words of one account, GRECE “became the institutional pivot of the Nouvelle Droite (New Right), the name bestowed upon de Benoist’s Paris‐based circle by the French media.“(12)
One significant aspect of much ENR discourse is its break from biological determinism and racism phrased in such biological terms, which de Benoist in his younger years had argued for. In the place of biological racism, the New Right began to present itself as a defender of cultural diversity and “ethno‐ pluralism.” What this amounts to is a form of cultural racism expressed as difference - when cultures come together, this apparently breeds homogeneity, and therefore the ENR argues for a plurality of cultures precisely through separation and the cessation of pluralism within cultures. While renouncing at least in theory any authoritarianism and conquest between different cultures, in practical terms New Right politics would necessarily lead to neo‐Apartheid and bloody Balkans‐like carve‐ups. (It is telling that Petak / Allerseelen was “impressed” by Slobodan Milosevic(13).) Within the ENR framework, the United States and the cultural Americanization of Europe are seen as primary opponents, as these are “melting pot” efforts which the New Right sees as homogenizing (paradoxically because they are not homogenizing.) The celebration of lack of difference within cultures, now defined as difference itself - and the imposition of internal homogeneity, described as the “right to difference” - is typical of the transvaluation that occurs within New Right discourse. Similarly, the New Right can even adopt the language of democracy while arguing for purging internal difference: “Direct democracy need not be associated with a limited number of people. It is primarily associated with the notion of a relatively homogenous people conscious of what makes them a people.“(14)
Two other aspects of the European New Right are important to note, especially as they relate to Allerseelen: the ENR’s pagan aspect, and its stress on fighting a cultural war. In contrast to the American New Right of the time, which was generally a Christian movement, the ENR’s identity was strongly pagan and anti‐Christian. Christianity is presented as an alien force that imposed itself on indigenous European peoples; the universalist aspect of Christianity is seen as a major enemy(15). (The ENR also sees the capitalist market as spreading the pathogen of universalism, and hence adopts a sort of fascist “anti‐ capitalism.”) In terms of strategy, the European New Right borrows from the Italian Communist leader Gramsci, who argued that lasting political and economic change would have to be preceded by a major shift on the cultural terrain(16). The ENR therefore focuses on creating a cultural environment favorable to their political ideas flourishing - especially culture that popularizes (imagined) “indigenous” European cultural / ethnic identities and lashes out at universalism and Enlightenment values.
While Gerhard Petak does not generally reference de Benoist or GRECE - and it is possible that Petak has theoretical quibbles with some of de Benoist, just as de Benoist himself does not like Petak’s musical genre(17) - Petak’s ideas and output are nevertheless infused with ENR influence. This influence is already pointed to by Petak’s statements being carried in ENR journals, and the influence will become especially clear when examining Petak’s attitude towards the Third Reich. Some of this influence may have arrived directly through Petak reading specific ENR theoreticians, while some may stem from the broader far‐ Right cultural / political milieu which Petak works within. Even if he has never thought much of de Benoist’s work, Petak has certainly been presented by third parties as having something to do with the European New Right. In the second volume of the book‐sized American “Radical Traditionalist” journal Tyr: Myth‐Culture‐Tradition, an interview with Petak is one of the longest of the issue, only shorter than the extensive interview with de Benoist(18). (There is also an Allerseelen track on the journal’s accompanying CD; one of the editors of Tyr is Petak’s friend Michael Moynihan, about whom more later.)
The Iron Guard (Romania)
Petak / Allerseelen contribute to the ultra‐Right culture war through his attempts to circulate and rehabilitate classical fascist ideas and imagery. Petak is especially keen on the Romanian fascist movement the Legion of the Archangel Michael (also known as the Iron Guard.) This movement, led by Corneliu Codreanu (1899 – 1938) “displayed all the characteristics of fascism”(19) and “was an extremely violent organization”(20) noted for its anti‐Semitism, aiming for “not just the purification of Romanian life from Jewish influence but also the ‘moral rejuvenation’ of Romania on a Christian as well as a national basis.”(21) While the Iron Guard’s outer embrace of Romanian Orthodox Christianity may appear as at odds with Petak’s paganism, it is the esoteric and mystical elements of the movement that most fascinate Petak—the Legionaries had their own mysticism and internal rites, including members of its death squads ritually drinking each other’s blood(22). Such a combination of violence, fascism, blood and the occult is irresistible to Petak, who claims that “The Iron Guard [still] exists, of course” in terms of an eternal ideal and motivating myth. Petak then quotes with approval Ovidiu Gules(23), who edited the Gazeta de Vest publication that promoted the Legionary tradition. (This publication was further linked to the fascist International Third Position organization.(24)) Gerhard Petak not only issued a pamphlet about Codreanu and the Iron Guard in his *Aorta( pamphlet series(25), but also in 1998 issued a set of two 7” vinyl records of Legionary music, with the fourth side containing a speech by Codreanu(26).
Petak’s release of Romanian Iron Guard music on his Aorta label, 1998.
The Nazis, Their Precursors, Third Reich Culture and Mysticism
Petak’s relationship to National Socialism and the Third Reich is expressed in a variety of approaches. On occasion, his statements could be considered as historical revisionism and rehabilitation of the Nazi past. At other times, Petak distances himself from Nazism, but on a basis that is still far‐Right. Petak furthermore has an abiding interest in the Conservative Revolutionary streams that fed into Nazi politics. While Petak is not himself a neo‐Nazi, his criticisms of Nazism - such as they are - betray broader far‐Right and fascist sympathies. Petak’s criticisms are generally little but variations on ENR positions surrounding these topics. It is worth taking one of Petak’s criticisms as an example. In an interview on the Raunend post‐industrial music site, Petak discusses the exterior of Haus Atlantis in Bremen, Germany, which at the time of the Third Reich had on its facade “a large wooden sculpture showing Odin surrounded by runes.” Petak used an image of this statue for the cover of his third CD, “Sturmlieder.” Petak comments:
This was the strangest Odin statue I ever saw (unfortunately only on images) with its sad expression. […] In the Third Reich, many Christian as well as pagan National Socialists hated this statue because it was Odin or because it was an Odin some did not want to see. There were also articles in SS magazines against this ‘ugly’ totemistic statue, calling it ‘Entartete Kunst’ [Degenerate Art]. So Allerseelen used some Entartete Kunst on Sturmlieder. Finally it was burnt to ashes ‐ but it were not National Socialists setting it on fire. It was burnt to ashes by British bombers through air‐raids in WWII which destroyed a huge part of Bremen.(27)
Why is this story so important to Petak? Through his use of the Haus Atlantis image on the cover of “Sturmlieder,” this statue is associated with the Allerseelen project and thus Petak - he sees himself in the art. While the Haus Atlantis’ exterior was condemned by segments of the Nazis according to Petak’s account, it also probably would not have been on public display at all, without the general cultural ambience of pagan revival during the Third Reich. The burning of the building - which would be properly understood as part of a military campaign to defeat the Third Reich - is instead through Petak’s quick switch associated with campaigns against Degenerate Art and presumably Nazi book burnings. The Allies become the harshest arbiters of taste. It is those fighting to overthrow the Reich, who thus seem to be involved in “Nazism” of the most extreme kind. The point is underscored immediately afterwards when Petak mentions his other “close and infamous connection” to Haus Atlantis (subsequently owned by Hilton and possessing “another, quite boring facade now.”) Having attempted to use the Haus as the venue for an Allerseelen show, the far‐Right connections of the project were exposed in the media and the event got cancelled. Criticism of Petak’s far‐Right politics, is generally portrayed by Petak as the height of real “Nazism,” as compared to the actual Nazism of the Third Reich, which warrants more tepid criticism. In one statement, Petak even likens criticism of far‐Right influence within the “darkwave” music scene, to oppression of Jewish people forced to wear the Yellow Star.(28) (This is, needless to say, historical revisionism on a grand scale.)
Petak is highly inspired by the work of the “Conservative Revolutionaries” who came to prominence in Germany following WWI, and who provided a large number of themes and ideas that were put to use by the Nazis. When Petak describes himself as “conservative avant‐garde,” the “conservative” in this formulation refers to the Conservative Revolutionaries, according to the sympathetic assessment of Petak / Allerseelen by Tyr co‐editor Joshua Buckley.(29) These Conservative Revolutionaries - two of their most famous members being philosopher Oswald Spengler and writer Ernst Jünger - were also major influences on the European New Right. The ENR has argued that the Third Reich never in practice followed Conservative Revolutionary thought despite appropriating Conservative Revolutionary intellectual efforts.(30)
The Conservative Revolutionary movement was characterized by fervent nationalism following the German defeat in WWI; a view of the nation as an organic whole; glorification of hierarchy, militarism, industrial mobilization, as well as “folk‐community”; plus deep anti‐liberalism and anti‐egalitarianism. While the Conservative Revolutionary movement provided many political, conceptual and rhetorical tools for the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP, or Nazi Party) to utilize, Conservative Revolutionaries did not wholly approve of the Nazi regime - several saw it as insufficiently elitist, especially scorning its socialist elements. Furthermore, Conservative Revolutionaries did not tend to stress biological racism in the strict manner of the Nazi Party. Some Conservative Revolutionaries faced penalties for not wholly embracing Nazi orthodoxy, even though the worldview they spread had helped the NSDAP to power; some Conservative Revolutionaries even ended up as plotters against the regime, especially as WWII ceased going in Germany’s direction. On the other hand, many other Conservative Revolutionaries found a more‐or‐less comfortable home for themselves within the Nazi Party. Petak / Allerseelen has directly paid homage to the Conservative Revolutionaries Ernst Jünger (the Allerseelen track “Käferlied” is a tribute to him(31)) and Friedrich Hielscher (the compilation CD “Wir Rufen Deine Wölfe” on Petak’s Aorta label, contains versions of Hielscher’s poem of the same name, set to music by seventeen acts including Allerseelen.(32))
While the idea of “folk‐community” (or Volksgemeinschaft) was important to the Conservative Revolutionaries, it became an obsession for the Nazis. Yet just as the European New Right argued that the Nazi regime misapplied or failed to implement Conservative Revolutionary principles, Gerhard Petak criticizes the Third Reich not because of its völkisch obsession, but merely because the regime did not enact völkisch principles properly within its foreign policy - Petak articulates a “different, but equal” policy amongst different Völker. One should also note that it is pluralistic democracy that Petak accuses of implementing “omnipresent brainwashing,” not the Third Reich.(33)
Photograph of Leni Riefenstahlon cover of Allerseelen’s “Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit” single.
Although Petak makes minor criticisms of the Third Reich, his work also references and portrays positively several aspects of Nazi culture. Prime examples of this are Petak’s homages to Leni Riefenstahl, the director of the infamous Nazi propaganda movie “Triumph of the Will” (Triumph des Willens). Petak issued a pamphlet about Riefenstahl’s 1932 (pre‐Third Reich) film “The Blue Light” (Das Blaue Licht)(34) and also released a music single paying tribute to her.(35) Petak’s evaluation of Riefenstahl prior to her death was: “She was and still is a beautiful and powerful woman.”(36) Zero criticism is made of her talents being placed in the service of the Nazi regime. Indeed, when Petak discusses Riefenstahl again, it is to return to his theme of intolerant non‐fascists: “Leni Riefenstahl said that after World War Two, everyone considered her a witch who had love affairs with Nazis and so on, and she definitely had a hard life after the war.”(37) Allerseelen also contributed to a Riefenstahl‐themed CD compilation released in 1996 by the German Right‐wing record label VAWS(38).
Allerseelen recordings and Petak’s writings also reference and pay tribute to Nazi völkisch researchers and explorers grouped around the Ahnenerbe (“Ancestral Heritage”) think tank. This think tank, founded in the early 1930s, then formally integrated into the SS at the start of 1939 with the support of Heinrich Himmler, aimed to research the achievements of the Nordic race that they believed once ruled the world. The SS‐Ahnenerbe also integrated a number of sideline projects, such as human experimentation at Dachau. Friedrich Hielscher - the Conservative Revolutionary celebrated on one of Petak’s compilation discs, and who did work for the Ahnenerbe - testified on behalf of Ahnenerbe Director Wolfram Sievers during the Nuremberg Trials, claiming that Sievers had been active alongside him in opposition to Hitler. Sievers was nevertheless found guilty of crimes against humanity and executed; Hielscher visited Sievers in prison shortly before the execution, and they performed a farewell ritual together(39).
Another Ahnenerbe member favorably referenced by Petak is Otto Rahn, who was the topic of one of Petak’s Aorta tracts(40). Rahn’s main contribution to the Nazi mysticism of the Ahnenerbe was through his 1937 book Lucifer’s Court (Luzifers Hofgesind) which described his travels across Europe in search of a hidden “Cathar‐Visigothic tradition”(41). Even more important to Petak is Karl Maria Wiligut, another Ahnenerbe member who had one of Petak’s Aorta pamphlets devoted to him.(42) Wiligut was a Nazi occultist and Ariosophist who performed pseudo‐religious ceremonies for the SS, as well as designing the death’s-head ring worn by SS members. Wiligut was also involved with the SS redesign of Wewelsburg castle in Westphalia, intended to be made into the SS leadership hub as well as mystical center.(43) The second Allerseelen CD, “Gotos=Kalanda” has as its cover the Sonnenrad (sunwheel / “Black Sun”) mosaic on the floor of the SS Generals’ Hall in the redesigned Wewelsburg castle.(44) This “Black Sun” design has become a popular motif within far‐Right and neo‐Nazi circles,(45) and has been widely used by Petak himself. The whole “Gotos=Kalanda” release is based on texts by Wiligut.(46) Petak also assisted the publication of a book of texts by and about Wiligut in English, published by far‐Rightist Michael Moynihan’s Dominion Press.(47)
The Allerseelen CD “Neuschwabenland” (“New Swabia”) is also a Third Reich reference, referring to the 1938‐1939 German Antarctic expedition, which named a section of the Antarctic as “New Swabia” (after the German region of Swabia.) This expedition, despite its real strategic importance for the Nazi regime, has within sections of the extreme‐Right become the stuff of myth. Within such discourse, New Swabia is the site of secret Nazi bases from which they launch their UFOs, a doctrine for example promoted by the infamous Holocaust‐denier Ernst Zündel.(48) It is likely that Petak is at a minimum aware of this association, as he has published his own tracts (in the Ahnstern successor to his Aorta series) about Viktor Schauberger and Joseph Andreas Epp, both engineers discussed in the context of Nazi flying saucer mythos.(49) The site of New Swabia is also blended in Nazi esotericism to hollow earth theories and myths of polar peoples. High technology and achievement in exploration are in this way combined with mysticism and alleged ancient mysteries.
For Petak, a process of double‐mirroring is at work when he displays such symbolism. Firstly, the mixture of antiquated irrationality with a glorification of technical matters and industry, is a central aspect of Allerseelen’s ‘technosophical’ project as a whole; secondly, this reflects in aesthetic terms the simultaneous stress on both atavism and industrial productivity found within fascist regimes, even when explicit references are absent. Through his clear and direct references to the Third Reich, however, Petak portrays this regime - despite certain muted criticism - as a realm of achievement, mastery and mystery. The SS, especially through Petak’s focus on the Ahnenerbe, become seen mostly by reference to mysticism and spirituality, not in regards to the massive crimes against humanity that were the true practice of the organization.
Petak celebrates another man who was attracted to the SS, the Italian “traditionalist” theorist Julius Evola (1898 ‐ 1974). While Evola had been published in Ahnenerbe publications, his theories on race clashed with this organization (and with Third Reich orthodoxy), and it was to the “pan‐Europeanist” elements of the SS that Evola ended up being most connected(50). During WWII, Evola worked for German intelligence(51); following the defeat of the Axis powers, Evola became an extremely influential figure to the most intransigent of the Italian far‐Right, and was a theoretical influence on the fascist bombers of the 1970s and early 80s in that country(52). Similarly to Petak, Evola had a romantic image of the SS and the Iron Guard, seeing them as elite orders of warrior‐mystics fighting to restore hierarchical values in a world of inversion, corruption and decay.
Evola’s ideas have had some influence within various sectors of the far‐Right, including the European New Right and various non‐Hitlerian fascist organizations. Evola differed with the Third Reich’s racial policies and their biological determinism, favoring instead a “spiritual” and elitist form of racism. Evola argued that only members of an elite could properly be understood as having “race,” and that such race could not only be understood in terms of biology. Such a view was still very much compatible with anti‐Semitism and racial bigotry, just not the official racial doctrines of the Third Reich. (Evola’s opposition to this policy of the Nazi Party was obviously not enough to prevent his collaboration with its regime.) Elitism is at the core of any of Evola’s criticisms of fascist governments - all were too plebian to earn his complete approval, although some violent closed groups (such as the SS) held a great appeal to him.
Evola’s worldview was not primarily political, but rather his political engagements and thought were outgrowths of his broader metaphysical ideas. Evola is a key author of the Traditionalist School, an anti‐ modern intellectual movement with a focus on religious practice and initiation, and Evola also authored several books on esoteric topics. In his later and most pessimistic work, Cavalcare la Tigre (Ride the Tiger) Evola argued for “apoliteia” - detachment from the polity - as the world slid irreversibly into decline. However, this “detachment” did not rule out such acts of mayhem as his adherents would later put into practice in Italy, but instead served as justification for them. Acts of terror and extreme violence became framed as spiritual affirmation by a spiritual warrior‐elite still committed to ordering principles in a corrupt and contemptible world. Evola’s aloof and “spiritual” aspects - and the fact that his thinking was metaphysically‐based - are often used by Evola’s defenders in order to place him in a category outside of fascist political thought. However, Evola’s own affiliations are a matter of record, and even his later apoliteia is noteworthy mainly by reference to the fascist violence it inspired.
Gerhard Petak has explicitly tied Allerseelen to Julius Evola’s works and worldview, through frequent mention of Evola in interviews, as well as the contribution of an Allerseelen track to the “Cavalcare La Tigre ‐ Julius Evola: Centenary” tribute CD(53). Petak also contributed, under the name of “Kadmon,” an article in “an issue of a conservative revolutionary French journal, Dualpha […] dedicated to Julius Evola”(54). A split CD between Allerseelen and the American act Changes (about whom more later) is entitled “Men Among the Ruins”(55), a reference to Evola’s book of the same name that provided “Post‐ war Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist” and which bemoaned opposition to fascism and totalitarianism.
Changes / Allerseelen split CD, 2006.
Black Metal and Right‐Wing Occultism
Petak’s involvement in esoteric fascism also extends to giving interviews to occult fascist journals, such as the interview published in the second issue of The Nexus during the late 90s(56). The Nexus was published by New Zealand resident Kerry Bolton, who as well as being active in a series of occult organizations, was also a co‐founder of the New Zealand Fascist Union. Bolton’s organization “The Black Order” was an attempt to synthesize his political and occult sympathies, and aimed to “revive the esoteric current of national socialism”(57).
Petak’s association with Bolton began prior to the Nexus interview. The twentieth pamphlet of Petak’s mid‐‘90s Aorta series lists a precursor to The Nexus named The Heretic in its contact addresses following the main article(58). The central article within of that issue gave Petak’s interpretation of the Norse cult of the “wild hunt” or oskorei, attempting to portray the “black metal” musical scene of the time as a return to the same pagan impulses that were manifested in the old cult. Petak commends the black metal scene’s “fight against Kristianity [sic] and partly also against Americanism afflicting all areas of European life today,” a statement that echoes European New Right formulations. Petak then singles out the Norwegian black metal musician Kristian “Varg” Vikernes and his Burzum solo project for special praise. The rest of the pamphlet is devoted to a sympathetic interview with Vikernes, at the time imprisoned for the murder of a rival black metal figurehead. Vikernes is a central figure in the far‐Right and ideologically racist turn made by a segment of the black metal scene; Petak’s attempts to popularize Vikernes probably played a small part in this development.
Key Associates: Blood Axis / Michael Moynihan
Petak’s friend Michael Moynihan — an American far‐Rightist who has his own fascist experimental music project named Blood Axis — has played a much larger role than Petak in popularizing fascistic tendencies within the black metal scene, through his book Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground(59). The central argument of this book, written by Moynihan and Norwegian co‐author Didrik Søderlind, is that subconscious archetypes and a “return of Wotan” may be behind the racism and violence of individuals such as “Varg” Vikernes, thus absolving these black metal scene participants of responsibility for their own fascist politics and instead imbuing their activity (murder, arsons etc.) with otherworldly mystery(60). (We are not arguing that most black metal enthusiasts are racists or fascists, merely those individuals such as Vikernes who easily fit within both categories, were largely excused by Lords of Chaos and its archetype theories.) Unsurprisingly, as Petak’s “Oskorei” essay itself comes close to describing the black metal phenomenon as a reawakening of racial archetypes, it was reprinted as an appendix to Lords of Chaos(61). Other occult fascists such as Kerry Bolton are also provided with publicity in the book(62).
Moynihan’s affiliations are worth briefly examining, firstly because he for some time lived in Portland, Oregon and influenced the milieu that is now hosting Allerseelen, and secondly because Moynihan often tries to obscure his politics and pretend as though he is being unfairly maligned by antifascists. Ironically, Moynihan criticizes similar behavior from others:
I’m sick of people saying they’re ‘not political,’ as I think this is a cop‐out … If you’re going to espouse ‘fascist’ ideas, then I believe you have to accept some of the responsibility for their application in the real world; otherwise what is the point of espousing them in the first place?(63)
In 1992, Moynihan published Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason under his Siege imprint. Mason, a neo‐Nazi activist since his teens, for a while edited a publication of the National Socialist Liberation Front, but in 1982 he separated the Siege journal from that organization, creating a new project named the Universal Order which combined neo‐Nazism with recognition of Charles Manson as a movement leader(64). The name of Moynihan’s musical act also gives some not‐so‐subtle clues about his politics: Blood as in “Blood and Soil,” plus Axis as in the Axis Powers. Moynihan has done much to promote Julius Evola within the post‐industrial scene, and has edited two Evola books for publication in English, including Evola’s Men Among the Ruins: Post‐War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist(65). Moynihan is currently involved as a co‐editor of Tyr: Myth‐Culture‐Tradition, a journal combining a loosely Evolian outlook with the European New Right and racially‐charged variants of Germanic neo‐ paganism. Tyr does not describe itself as a fascist or Nazi publication, yet it is fixated on völkisch identity, reproduces far‐Right anti‐modernity discourses, and has no problem publishing authors whose political lineages trace back to classical fascism.
Gerhard Petak interviewed Blood Axis in an issue of his Aorta series(66); Petak was granted a major within Moynihan and Buckley’s Tyr a number of years later(67). There have been two spit releases between Allerseelen and Blood Axis, a split single in 1994(68) and a second split single in 1998(69). The first of these releases is of particular interest, being the first release on Moynihan’s Storm Records label and therefore signifying the deep connection between Moynihan and Petak. Allerseelen’s side of this release contains lyrics from a poem by SS mystic Karl Maria Wiligut, and the song was later included on Allerseelen’s “Gotos=Kalanda” release. Allerseelen’s liner notes contain the “Black Sun” image favored by Petak as a design element (this of course being particularly important in a Wiligut‐themed release.) The Blood Axis side of this release is a cover version of Joy Division’s “Walked in Line,” the song transformed into an unequivocal affirmation of fascist regimentation and violence.
Key Associates: Changes / Robert N. Taylor
Another important ally of Petak’s is Robert N. Taylor of the “folk noir” act Changes. Taylor has also worked closely with Moynihan, and is active within ultra‐Right neo‐pagan circles alongside him. Moynihan is also responsible for the first releases of Changes’ music, issued through his Storm label(70). Changes and Allerseelen released a split CD in 2006, the album title taken straight from one of Julius Evola’s books(71).
In interviews, Robert Taylor has discussed his involvement with white anti‐Black rioting in Chicago during his youth. Taylor went on to participate in the Minutemen, a Right‐wing paramilitary group active in the 1960s and early ‘70s. Taylor continues to have radical‐Right views. He has discussed in an interview his vision for racial separation in America, with people of color being relocated to specific regions in a plan that plan that mirrors that of David Duke(72). Additionally, “Robert Wulfing” (Robert N. Taylor) sent lyrics and a description of the Changes song “Waiting for the Fall” to the “musical terrorists” section of Folk & Faith, a “national anarchist” website. While Taylor notes that the song is “a generic revolutionary song” with “no mention of ideology,” he is certainly placing the song in a specifically far‐ Right context by sending his words to Folk & Faith(73) (National anarchism is an ideology with its origin in fascist politics; despite the name, the tendency did not initially spring from the anarchist movement, and it is rejected by many anarchists(74)).
Allerseelen’s Support in Oregon
The current tour is not the first time that Allerseelen has been on the West Coast. A 2003 tour played three West Coast dates, all with the Portland group Waldteufel, who are also playing several dates with Allerseelen this year. Markus Wolff, the primary force behind Waldteufel, is a frequent collaborator with Michael Moynihan, and supplies writings on German völkisch authors and pagan revivalists to Tyr and similar publications. Wolff is also an Evola enthusiast who supported the Moynihan‐edited English edition of Men Among the Ruins(75). Wolff currently also edits Hex magazine, a “heathen” journal that has published Petak (as Gerhard Hallstatt) in several issues(76). Hex has some other interesting associations with the far‐Right; one of its founders and initial editors, Amie Rautmann (listed as “A. von Rautmann” on the Hex website(77)) is an enthusiast of the Holocaust‐denier David Irving, who attended Irving’s speech in Portland on July 19, 2009(78). The Hex website also promotes Allerseelen’s current tour(79).
Allerseelen played in Portland on June 14, 2003, supported by Waldteufel and Sacrificial Totem. The event took place at Optic Nerve Arts on Alberta Street. Michael Moynihan played with Allerseelen at this show. Petak’s far‐Right sympathies were further alluded to in Petak’s account of this tour, which cited questions he had to answer in a form when entering the United States. The following are the only questions cited by Petak:
Are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities? Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved in any way in persecutions associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?(80)
Petak’s friend Markus Wolff further organized a show for Changes and Waldteufel that took place on August 26th, 2005 at the Alberta Street Public House. The event was publicized in an update from Soleilmoon, an experimental record label and music distribution also headquartered on Alberta Street(81).While Soleilmoon distributes a variety of different musical styles and artists, it does carry releases by Waldteufel, Changes and Allerseelen. Soleilmoon is also a major US distributor for the fascist(82) neo‐folk act Death in June and its New European Recordings (NER) label.
A final Oregon ally of Petak is Tyler Davis of Jacksonville, Oregon, who runs The Ajna Offensive record label and the Ajnabound Esoteric Books publishing company. Davis’ connection to Petak traces back to the 1990s, when Davis helped with the black metal and experimental music ‘zine Descent alongside editor Stephen O’Malley. (O’Malley is responsible for an article on the topic of black metal published by the white supremacist Resistance magazine in 1995.(83)) Davis’ Ajna Offensive distributes a number of Allerseelen titles, and Davis will be following along with the Allerseelen tour(84). Davis is also planning to issue a book of Petak’s collected tracts from the 1990s (issued as Gerhard Hallstatt) entitled Blutleuchte(85). While Tyler Davis is involved with issuing and distributing many titles that are not related to fascist politics—many instead focusing on Satanism, evil and the occult—he also seems to have no problem with fascists. The Ajna Offensive, for example, reissued the album “Blodsband (Blood Religion Manifest)” by white nationalists Sigrblot in 2005(86).
Petak has frequently denied having any interest in politics, stating for example that “I do not believe in economics or politics. I believe in the power of art.”(87) Yet Petak continually deploys imagery from fascist movements, maintains associations with others on the far‐Right, and puts forward politics that appear as a combination of völkisch, Conservative Revolutionary and European New Right influences. Allerseelen is also promoted by publications and websites that stem from the fascist political tradition. As well as Petak’s interview in Kerry Bolton’s The Nexus, Allerseelen was also interviewed in Lutte du peuple, a publication of the French “national revolutionary” organization Nouvelle Résistance(88). Allerseelen is also promoted by in the far‐Right culture war efforts of Richard Lawson’s Flux Europa site(89), and is reviewed on national anarchist Troy Southgate’s RoseNoire website(90).
What is the meaning of Petak’s denial of any politics or political motivation? While not referring explicitly to Allerseelen, Anton Shekhovtsov’s article “Apoliteic music: Neo‐Folk, Martial Industrial and ‘Metapolitical Fascism’” points to an answer by discussing Evola’s concept of apoliteia as well as European New Right influence in relation to certain sectors of the post‐industrial scene(91). From a stance of apoliteia, Petak is able to claim detachment from worldly politics, yet apoliteia is far from the same as pure political apathy. Rather, Petak appears to be active in a metapolitical “invisible order” engaged in anti‐Enlightenment culture wars, along the lines of the European New Right and its Right‐Gramscian project. While Petak does not dirty his hands in Right‐wing Party‐building, he nevertheless contributes to a climate favorable to fascist politics, through fighting for the hearts and minds of countercultural audiences. He knows what he is doing. As antifascists, we can only wonder whether Agalloch equally knows what it is doing, by helping such a fascist propagandist to access new audiences.
- (1) Gules quoted in ‘Allerseelen interview’, Stigmata magazine (Belarus), No. 2 (August 2001)
- (2) Junge Freiheit article quoted in Shekhovtsov, Anton, “Apoliteic music: Neo‐Folk, Martial Industrial and ‘Metapolitical Fascism’”, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 43 No. 5 (December 2009), 431‐457 (Shekhovtsov gives his source for the Junge Freiheit quote as: Farin, Klaus: Die Gothics: Interviews, Fotografien (Bad Tölz: Tilsner 2001), 15.) quote as:0 Farin, Klaus: Die Gothics: Interviews, Fotografien (Bad Tölz: Tilsner 2001), 15.)
- (3) Petak quoted in Tasmanian National Anarchists, “Dark Green Romanticism”, Tasmanian Autonomous Zone: Heathen Anarchism in the Apple Isle website, February 24, 2010
- (4) Allerseelen interview, Stigmata magazine, op. cit. (Note 1). (Petak: “I am the heart of ALLERSEELEN. Usually I am only collaborating with other people on stage.”)
- (5) Gotrich, Lars, “First Listen: Agalloch, ‘Marrow Of The Spirit’,” National Public Radio website, November 14, 2010
- (6) “Steinklang‐Industries präsentieren: OAK FOLK – compilation,” Klang‐Konsortium wordpress blog, November 29, 2010
- (7) Allerseelen, Myspace Music site (Listing of “Allerseelen Live Performances” on front page, accessed December 3, 2010.)
- (8) Allerseelen, Discogs website.
- (9) Passmore, Kevin, Fascism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford / New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 11. (Passmore attributes the phrase “A and not A” to Ortega y Gasset; the contrast provided by Passmore himself, is that fascism “idealizes the people” while it shows contempt for mass society.)
- (10) Bündnis gegen das Allerseelenkonzert (Rosenheim), “Nein zum Allerseelen Konzert in Rosenheim,” April 2005 (“Coalition Against the Allerseelen Concert” / “No to the Allerseelen Concert in Rosenheim.”)
- (11) Lee, Martin A., The Beast Reawakens (Boston / New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1997), 209‐10.
- (12) Lee, op. cit. (Note 11), 210.
- (13) ‘Allerseelen interview’, Stigmata magazine, op. cit. (Note 1).
- (14) De Benoist, Alain, “Democracy Revisited,” Telos, No. 95 (Spring 1993), 63‐75, 75. (Translation from Démocratie: Le Problème (Paris: Le Labyrinthe, 1985) by Tomislav Sunic.)
- (15) Lee, op. cit. (Note 11), 211.
- (16) Lee, op. cit. (Note 11), 210.
- (17) Shekhovtsov, op. cit. (Note 2). (”For example, the leader of the French New Right, Alain de Benoist, who actually enjoys folk music, finds it disturbing when folk artists … add ‘elements of Nazi subculture’ to their music, and considers them provocateurs.“)
- (18) Buckley, Joshua and Michael Moynihan, Eds., Tyr: Myth‐Culture‐Tradition No. 2 (Atlanta: Ultra Publishing, 2004). (Alain de Benoist interview is at 77‐109 following the publication of a de Benoist essay at 65‐76; the Allerseelen / Gerhard Petak interview is at 285‐296.)
- (19) Passmore, op. cit. (Note 9), 83.
- (20) Passmore, op. cit. (Note 9), 84.
- (21) Sedgwick, Mark, Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century, (Oxford / New York: Oxford University Press , 2004), 113.
- (22) Passmore, op. cit. (Note 9), 84.
- (23) ‘Allerseelen interview’, Stigmata magazine, op. cit. (Note 1).
- (24) Ghetu, Dan, “Synthesis Editor Troy Southgate” (2001 interview), Synthesis: Journal du Cercle de la Rose Noire website (Southgate, a theoretician of the fascist “national anarchism” tendency, is a former member of International Third Position, and names Gules’ Gazeta de Vest as “a thinly‐disguised propaganda outlet for the ITP.”)
- (25) Goodrick‐Clarke, Nicholas, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity (New York / London: New York University Press, 2002), 340‐41, Note 46.
- (26) “No Artist ‐ Eiserne Garde: Gardia De Fier,” Discogs website.
- (27) ‘Allerseelen interview’, Raunend website (undated).
- (28) Bündnis gegen das Allerseelenkonzert (Rosenheim), op. cit. (Note 10). (Petak is quoted from the scene publication Black 14 (1998): “Apparently every culture needs a witch’s mark, a Yellow Star. Today the accusation of fascism against industrial and dark wave music is a Yellow Star. The Yellow Star looks different today, they are the Ariosophic nationalistic symbols, runes, Thor’s hammers, the Kruckenkreuz and the swastika.”)
- (29) Buckley, Joshua, “Musical Ammunition: An Interview with Allerseelen’s Gerhard,” Tyr: Myth‐Culture‐Tradition No. 2, op. cit. (Note 18), 285‐296, 286.
- (30) Lee, op. cit. (Note 11), 210.
- (31) “Allerseelen CD Strib und Werde” (reviews), Aorta blogspot site.
- (32) “Wir rufen Deine Wölfe” (reviews), Aorta blogspot site.
- (33) Petak quoted in Tasmanian National Anarchists, “Dark Green Romanticism,” op. cit. (Note 3).
- (34) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit. (Note 25), 340‐41, Note 46.
- (35) “Allerseelen ‐ Alle Lust Will Ewigkeit / Traumlied,” Discogs website
- (36) ‘Allerseelen interview’, The Noiseist (France), No. 4 (2000)
- (37) Collins, Simon, “The Alchemy of Allerseelen,” Judas Kiss magazine website. Interview of May 20, 2006.
- (38) “Various – Riefenstahl,” Discogs website.
- (39) Bahn, Peter, “The Friedrich Hielscher Legend: The Founding of a Twentieth‐Century Pantheistic ‘Church’ and Its Subsequent Misinterpretations,” Tyr: Myth‐Culture‐Tradition No. 2, op. cit. (Note 18), 243‐262, 249‐250. (Translated from “Die Hielscher‐Legende. Eine panentheistische ‘Kirchen’‐Gründung des 20. Jahrhunderts und ihre Fehldeutungen” (Gnostika No. 19, October 2001) by Michael Moynihan and “Gerhard” - presumably Gerhard Petak.)
- (40) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit. (Note 25), 340‐41, Note 46.
- (41) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit.
- (42) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit.
- (43) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit., (Note 25), 135‐36.
- (44) “Allerseelen ‐ Gotos=Kalanda,” Discogs website
- (45) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit. (Note 25), 227. (Goodrick‐Clarke writes of “the rapid internationalization of this German neo‐Nazi symbol.”)
- (46) ‘Allerseelen interview’, Descent magazine (Olympia, WA), No. 3 (Spring 1996).
- (47) Flowers, Stephen E. (Trans.) and Michael Moynihan (Ed.), The Secret King: Karl Maria Wiligut, Himmler’s Lord of the Runes (Vermont / Texas: Dominion Press / Rûna‐Raven Press, 2001), Amazon Books “Look Inside!” result (“Kadmon” listed as having “contributed to the eventual publication of this book” on copyright page.)
- (48) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit.
- (49) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit. (Note 25), 340‐41, Note 46.
- (50) Coogan, Kevin, Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International (New York: Autonomedia, 1999), 310.
- (51) Coogan, Kevin, Dreamer of the Day, op. cit. (Note 50), 315‐316.
- (52) Sedgwick, Mark, Against the Modern World, op. cit. (Note 21), 179‐186.
- (53) “Various ‐ Cavalcare La Tigre ‐ Julius Evola: Centenary,” Discogs website.
- (54) François, Stephane, “The ‘Euro‐Pagan’ Scene: Between Paganism and Radical Right,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Vol. 1 No. 2 (2008), 35‐54
- (55) “Changes / Allerseelen, Men Among The Ruins”, Discogs website (Rather amazingly, in an article mentioning this association as well as Petak’s references to Wiligut and his release of Legionary music, François states that Petak “has never had an ideologically oriented message.”)
- (56) “The Nexus (journal),” SpiritusTemporis website
- (57) Gardell, Mattias, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 294.
- (58) Petak, Gerhard (as “Kadmon”), Aorta No. 20 (1995).
- (59) Moynihan, Michael and Didrik Søderlind, Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground (Venice, CA: Feral House, 1998).
- (60) Morrow, Charles, “Resurgent Atavism? Resurgent Nazism, Or, Wotan Made Me Do It,” in Burghart, Devin, Ed., Soundtracks to the White Revolution: White Supremacist Assaults on Youth Music Subcultures (Chicago: Center for New Community, 1999), 68‐70.
- (61) Petak, Gerhard (as “Kadmon”), “Oskorei,” in Moynihan and Søderlind, Lords of Chaos, op. cit.
- (62) Moynihan and Søderlind, Lords of Chaos, op. cit.
- (63) Moynihan quoted in Coogan, Kevin, “How Black is Black Metal? Michael Moynihan, Lords of Chaos and the ‘Countercultural Fascist’ Underground,” Hit List Vol. 1 No. 1 (February / March 1999), 32‐49, 45. (Coogan quotes from a Momentum interview with Moynihan.)
- (64) “Michael Moynihan’s Siege Mentality,” Who Makes the Nazis? blog, October 8, 2010
- (65) Evola, Julius, Men Among the Ruins: Post‐War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International, 2002).
- (66) Goodrick‐Clarke, op. cit. (Note 25), 340‐41, Note 46.
- (67) Buckley, Joshua, “Musical Ammunition: An Interview with Allerseelen’s Gerhard,” Tyr: Myth‐Culture‐Tradition No. 2, op. cit. (Note 18), 285‐296
- (68) “Blood Axis / Allerseelen ‐ Walked In Line / Ernting,” Discogs website.
- (69) “Allerseelen / Blood Axis ‐ Käferlied / Brian Boru,” Discogs website.
- (70) “Changes ‐ Fire Of Life,” Discogs website (The following year, Storm co‐released the first Changes CD, also titled “Fire of Life,” see: Discogs.com)
- (71) “Changes / Allerseelen ‐ Men Among The Ruins,” Discogs, op. cit. (Note 55).
- (72) Lunsford, John, “Nazis, Noise and Nihilism: Infiltrating the Experimental Music Scene” in Burghart, Devin, Ed., Soundtracks to the White Revolution, op. cit.
- (73) Wulfing, Robert (Robert N. Taylor), “Waiting for the Fall,” Folk & Faith website
- (74) Sunshine, Spencer, “Rebranding Fascism: National‐Anarchists,” The Public Eye Vol. 23 No. 4 (Winter 2008).
- (75) Evola, Julius, Men Among the Ruins, op. cit.
- (76) “Hex Contributors,” Hex Magazine website.
- (77) “Past Staff,” Hex Magazine website.
- (78) Registration list for July 29, 2009 David Irving event in Portland (Item leaked on internet following event. Scott Rautmann purchased two tickets and is listed as “married to Amy” [sic] .)
- (79) “Winternights/Samhain News 2010,” Hex Magazine website.
- (80) “2003 Allerseelen Pacific West Coast,” Aorta blogspot blog, November 14, 2005.
- (81) “Updates”, Soleilmoon website, August 4, 2005
- (82) Chicago Anti‐Racist Action, “Death in June, Der Blutharsch, Changes”, Infoshop News website, December 17 2003.
- (83) O’Malley, Stephen, “Nordic Darkness…,” Resistance magazine (Fall 1995).
- (84) “Allerseelen ‐ US dates,” The Ajna Offensive website.
- (85) “Gerhard Hallstatt: Blutleuchte,” Facebook page.
- (86) “Sigrblot ‐ Blodsband (Blood Religion Manifest),” Discogs website.
- (87) ‘Allerseelen interview’, Stigmata magazine, op. cit. (Note 1).
- (88) Bale, Jeffrey M., “‘National Revolutionary’ Groupuscules and the Resurgence of ‘Left‐wing’ Fascism: the Case of France’s Nouvelle Résistance”, Patterns of Prejudice Vol. 36, No. 3 (2002), 25‐49, 42‐43 Note 46.
- (89) “Allerseelen,” Flux Europa website.
- (90) Southgate, Troy, “Allerseelen ‐ Stirb und Werde,” Synthesis: Journal du Cercle de la Rose Noire website.
- (91) Shekhovtsov, op. cit. (Note 2).