Protest songs and politically-charged lyrics have been a part of our musical canon since before the White House was painted white, and the same is true of any country. In more recent times, the practice of mixing politics with music has been called into debate, with some questioning whether musicians had any right to incorporate their political views or agendas into their art. Does their doing so add to or detract from the quality and accessibility of the finished product? In some cases, politically active bands and songwriters have raised awareness of issues and inspired thousands to stand up for their beliefs, but many others have chosen to use their musical platforms to spread hatred, intolerance and fear.

Within the realm of extreme metal, the roots of this problem run deep. One of the most controversial elements of modern-day black metal are the right-wing, nationalist, anti-Semetic and racist ideologies that were built upon Varg Vikernes' prison writings and have given rise to a small but vicious subsect who will stop at nothing -- sampling Hitler rallies in their songs, sporting Nazi insignia, committing hate crimes -- to get their message across. Not all black metal bands are Nazis -- it's very important to stress that it is only a diminutive minority that participate in such ignorant methods of thought.

However, their very existence means that there is a certain hypersensitivity in effect; any band that seems even a shade 'too' patriotic or war-obsessed is often painted, quite unfairly, with the nationalist brush. Cruor, bassist for legendary German black metallers Endstille, offered up his opinion on the matter, saying, "I think that politics have a place in music ... but not in black metal or any other metal genre! I absolutely can't understand this NS/white power nonsense in the black metal scene. I don't get the idea behind that. How can some bands say in their songs that they're so misanthropic and on the other hand they describe that they like one race more than the other."

It just doesn't add up for Cruor. "That doesn't fit. You can't say: 'I hate all humans, but I like the white ones.' Isn't that a bit stupid?" he spits. "It's like you would say that you hate religion, but you like the Christians. That's not logic."

German bands in particular seem to deal with this issue more than their comrades in other areas, as the black metal warriors in Endstille have found throughout their many years at the front lines of extremity. Much like Marduk and Destroyer 666, Endstille's interest in military history and warfare is an integral part of their aesthetic, which has at times landed them in hot water with political and humanitarian groups who have gotten the wrong idea. Many bands have been forced to issue denials and explanations to confront rumors and accusations that aren't at all true, and as one might imagine, titling their 2007 album 'Endstilles Reich' and upcoming album 'Verführer' may not do much to help the band's cause.

Cruor weighs in,"We're a black metal band from Germany with CDs that are about German history. Of course there're a lot of people who think that we're Nazis. These people or organizations can't imagine that we can make songs about subjects like WWII without any political aspects, but our lyrics are about history, not about politics. We always explained that we're an absolute unpolitical band, and that no one of us is into this Nazi stuff. We're making music and no politics!" he emphasizes. "Of course there are always people who are spreading rumors about us, and I guess they'll never stop ... but hey ... I don't give a s---. I know who we are, and the people who are really interested in our music know that, too."

So why are Endstille so interested in the second World War? Cruor explains, "I think it's not possible that you don't get in contact with the topic of WWII when you're from Germany. Switch on your TV at any time of the day, and you will probably see a documentary about WWII. Also, there are a lot of monuments and memorials around here. So it's absolute impossible that you don't get in contact with it when you're from Germany, though of course not all Germans are as into our history as we are."

More From Noisecreep