Scandinavian pranksters troll H&M with fake Nazi metal bands
A group of Scandinavian artists and musicians is popping open some Skåne Aquavit after successfully convincing a bunch of people that H&M was selling jackets festooned with the logos of neo-Nazi metal bands.
It all started when the international clothing retailer attempted to capitalize on the extreme genre’s recent and confusing surge in trendiness by selling jackets covered in metal-related patches, including, naturally, one that just said “metal.” They also licensed out the names of some popular bands like Slayer and Metallica. But rather than license too many names, they decided to save money by just making some up. Nobody can read those fonts anyway, right?
This captured the attention of a loosely affiliated group of Scandinavian musicians, metal fans and artists, who set to creating music, imagery, and backstory for these fake bands, which they “released” under the umbrella of a fake label called Strong Scene Productions. They posted show fliers, album covers, and even a montage of music from these imaginary groups:
One particularly amusing Facebook post said that H&M stood for “Heavy & Metal” and claimed the label was resurrecting little-known gems (not to mention entire microgenres) that had only been available on tape the first time around:
STRONG SCENE PRODUCTIONS is happy to provide a musical trip down in memory lane in support of HENNES & MAURITZ Heavy & Metal clothing line showcasing the talents and forgotten jewels of global underground metal music.
As illustrated by the bomber jacket and t-shirts worn by the models of H & M, the new items feature logos from long-forgotten underground goth- and thrash acts such as the French LANY, Mexican MORTUS, American “cosmic hippie metal” -gurus MYSTIC TRIANGLE and GREY from Germany – the originator of the whole symphonic female metal-genre.
These groups together with the likes of extreme metallers MOTMROS and neo-folkers THE ONE formed the basis for a whole generation of music in 1980’s, music that was traded on tapes rather than as files, music that served as an inspiration to all of the most successful bands still recording today, from Meshuggah to the likes of Nightwish.
Song titles included “Holocaust Tomb,” “Sign of the Antichrist” and my personal favorite, “Vaginal’s Juice Dripping Into Cadaverous.”
As Metal Injection pointed out, at least two of the fake bands seemed to have ties with the National Socialist Black Metal scene, which is unfortunately a very real entity that harbors all manner of far right, neo-fascist, and straight up neo-Nazi idiocy. Had H&M made an embarrassing mistake? “Oops, we hired Nazis to do our licensing!” The Internet wanted to know.
(Either because its creators don’t want to be sued by H&M or because most actual neo-fascist bands try to obscure their beliefs at least a little, the above flier has since vanished from the Strong Scene Facebook page. But the SS Totenkopf below Hitler, at least, is totally realistic, as anyone familiar with the Death In June controversy will tell you.)
When they felt the joke had run its course, the pranksters stood up and took credit, describing themselves thusly:
We are not a label, but a one- time improvised, collective art project in the vein of Spinal Tap, Monty Python and the Yes Men with no intentions on anything except for art.
In an interview with Noisey, Strong Scener Henri Sorvali (of Finnish metal band Moonsorrow/Finntroll) further explained the project:
Is this a backlash against the commodification of metal by high street retailers?
Partially, yes. But we also wanted to point out the fact that you cannot commercialise a subculture without actually knowing all the different aspects of it. Knowledge on your product is essential in marketing, and Strong Scene supports self-awareness and education for everyone on the matter. And no, I also haven’t been hired for a job by H&M either, which the wildest rumors claimed!
Do you hear that, H&M? Next time you want to commercialize a subculture, hire a consultant who knows all the different aspects of it, like Henri Sorvali. Then proceed to commercialize away.