After a rapid resurgence of allegations of anti-semitism and Islamophobia, long-running yet controversial Norwegian black metal band Taake has officially cancelled 10 dates of their upcoming tour; the full 19-date tour was scheduled to kick off at the end of March.
Thanks to its long history, Taake has become a respected force within the metal industry, but its history has been one rife with trouble, especially with accusations of white nationalism. For instance, Hoest, the leader of the band, performed with a swastika painted on his chest at a 2007 show in Germany. He has also sung explicitly anti-Islam lyrics.
The band, and Hoest himself, has explicitly denied being a Nazi, saying that they “only used that symbol as another symbol for evil. The usual symbols, the pentagram and inverted cross, don’t invoke reactions anymore.” They also claimed to be behind all religion, not Islam in particular.
Taake were originally planning on coming to the US for a tour in the coming months, but now that tour won’t happen. Venues in cities like New York responded to social-media outcry by cancelling shows, and King Dude, the tour’s planned opener, dropped off of the tour, telling Brooklyn Vegan, “The banner under which people enter a King Dude concert must be welcoming to all people of all walks of life, race, religion, gender etc.” Talib Kweli cancelled his own show in Kansas City when the venue, the Riot Room, refused to apologize for booking Taake.
In response to all the individual show cancellations, the band has called off the entire US tour. In a long statement on Facebook, they reiterate that they are not a Nazi band, and they blame the cancellations on “left wing agitators”: “If this reminds you of the McCarthy witch hunts, it is because that is EXACTLY what it is like.”
Read the full statement below.