Arts, Culture & Media

'Black metal' musician elected to Greek Parliament with anti-immigrant political party

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Giorgos Germenis of the Greek Black Metal band Naer Mataron was elected to the Greek Parliament. (Photo by Naer Mataron.)

The election to parliament of a bass player from the Greek Black Metal band Naer Mataron has the Greek media scrambling to find connections between facism and heavy metal.

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Chaos, as Greeks like to say, is a Greek word. And Greeks might agree that the election of a Black Metal musician to a country’s legislature does not bode well for political stability. This is the band that everyone in Greece is talking about these days.

Giorgos Germenis will represent the Golden Dawn political part and the Greater Athens district in parliament. He’s known by the stage name “Kaiadas.” That’s the chasm in ancient Sparta where children were thrown to their deaths after being judged unfit to meet the rigors of Spartan life.

See a video of Naer Mataron performing at TheWorld.org.

Golden Dawn isn't exactly what you'd call a mainstream political party. Academics say it has neo-Nazi and facist leanings, though the party rejects those labels. The party has promised to get all immigrants out of the country, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail and has contemplated mining the country's border with Turkey. In the current election, it won 7 percent of the vote, enough to claim seats in parliament for the first time — 21 of them.

It's not often that a Black Metal band gets to bask in the glow of the mainstream media spotlight. But it's even less common that the bassist of a Black Metal band becomes a member of parliament.

“Black metal is a type of heavy metal, but it's more aggressive and more atmospheric,” said Stefanos Stefanopolous of webzine Rockway.gr. “Instead of clean vocals, the singers are using growls. They are more brutal vocals.”

Stefanopolous says Black Metal lyrics often concern Satanic and pre-Christian pagan themes and Naer Mataron is pretty much run of the mill.

“He wasn’t a well-known musician here in Greece,” Stefanopoulos sais. “And to be honest, not many webzines were paying attention to Naer Mataron. It was just another black metal band, a mediocre one, so no one was really paying attention.”

That’s changed now. The Greek media are looking for connections between Naer Mataron’s music, their bloody ghoulish stage attire and Golden Dawn’s politics.

Germenis says there's none. Take the song, “Death Casts a Shadow Over You,” from Naer Mataron’s latest album “Praetorians”.

Germenis says “Death Casts a Shadow Over You” is a song about the feelings black metal fans have when they hear the band performing live on stage. It's a metaphor, he says, for the shadow they feel covering them as the band plays.

As for politics, Germenis says there’s an easy solution for Greece’s myriad economic problems. First the country needs to resolve its sea border issues with neighboring countries. There’d be big money in gas and oil exploration that would return Greece to greatness. He blames unspecified “interests” for holding Greece back.

“We, Golden Dawn, say that Greece is a rich country,” Germenis said. “In order to rebuild Greece, we also need to revitalize our factories and small workshops. In this way, Greece can stand on its own two feet. We won’t need the European Union or anyone else. We’ll just need Greeks.”

With coalition-building in Greece now in limbo, it’s unclear what affect Germenis and Golden Dawn will have on Greek politics. But Stefanopolous says there is one definite side-effect of his accension to politics: Black metal has gotten a black eye.

“Black metal already had a bad name,” Stefanopolous said. “Most musicians claim to believe in Satanism and stuff. They are blasphemers. They already had a bad name, but now it’s even worse. Now you are a satanist and a nationalist too.”

Greek democracy isn’t looking so great either. Greeks are already talking about if the new parliament will form rather than when. If not, then another round of elections will have to be held.

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