When Strong Scene Productions, a previously unknown record label with a roster of ageing international metal acts announced they would be teaming up with retail giant H&M to bring out a collection of jackets and t-shirts paying homage to the greats of the genre, including legends like Mortus (Mexico), LANY (France), Mystic Triangle (US) and Grey (the ‘originators of the symphonic female metal genre’), it didn’t take long for fans to sense something was amiss. For one, every act’s entire internet presence seemed to have materialised within the past week, despite having histories dating back to the ’80s and ’90s (also no-one had heard of them?). Then there was the fact that at least two of the selected bands heavily employed Nationalist-Socialist (aka NEO-NAZI!!!!) motifs, Break the Internet right?
The wave of think pieces which followed this was largely split between those who thought the music and merch which popped up in the announcement’s wake was a clumsy attempt at guerrilla marketing on H&M’s part, and speculation this was all an elaborate prank.
For those still following events, Henri Sorvali from actual bands Moonsorrow and Finntroll has claimed responsibility for the campaign along with ‘tens’ of other creatives, as a comment on the commodification of subcultures. Sorvali told Billboard, “There is so much controversial stuff (associated with metal) which is definitely not suitable for mass marketing, and we wanted to bring the ugly side of metal to their campaign, to show that we as metalheads are more aware of the content you are selling people that you are as sellers.”
So there you go, as of now you can no longer rep a Mortus bomber or a pair of LANY patch jeans c/o H&M but you can still pick up a Misfits, Slayer or Metalica tee if you want, Rock on :-)!!!