Image: Metal Sucks (Facebook)

On Tuesday, March 27, MetalSucks posted a photograph that appears to show black metal band Watain’s live guitarist, Set Teitan (real name Davide Totaro), giving the Nazi salute (the ‘Sieg Heil,’ seen above). The image was forwarded to the popular heavy music publication by an anonymous source after it made rounds on various Facebook pages earlier in the week. The Swedish band have since parted ways with Teitan, who has performed with Watain since 2007. This is remarkable news for three very distinct reasons: 1.) The band acted damn fast on the new information 2.) They actually felt the need to do something based on this new information instead of protecting Teiten or distracting attention away from the indiscretion and 3.) Nazi shit continues to go down in metal music spaces, even though we’re seeing white nationalist sympathizers face real ass consequences.

Waitain frontman Erik Danielsson sent MetalSucks the following statement after firing Teitan:

“The gesture on that picture was done in jest that’s as much as we have to say about that, but to put an end to this tiresome and time-consuming nonsense the guitarist in question has decided to step aside for a period of time to avoid further hopeless discussions on the subject.

We furthermore spit upon the ill-willed ignorance of all those who maintain that Watain have any political agenda whatsoever, for 20 years we have proven otherwise and people should know better by now. Finally we would like to send a heartfelt fuck off to all who insist on feeding the mindless moral witch-hunt hysteria that is now festering on worldwide Heavy Metal culture. Hail Satan!”

Earlier this year, in January, Watain found themselves in hot water after Teitan flashed what many fans interpreted to be the seig heil (yes, this has happened before) at a 20th anniversary gig in Stockholm. (You can footage from that show, here, if you feel so inclined.) In that instance, the band declined foul play.

So maybe this is an instance of two strikes, you’re out? Maybe there’s a nefarious third strike that has gone largely undocumented in major music media? Regardless of the rationale, it’s fucking ridiculous that anyone would think nazi iconography should continue to fly in metal music—it was less than two years ago when Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo found himself in trouble for shouting “white power!” on stage and flashing a nazi salute, resulting in a slew of canceled tour and festival dates and a half-assed, drunken apology in Rolling Stone.

So, metal bands, I beg of you—quit the nazi shit. I would say you’re only hurting yourselves, but you’re hurting everyone else around you, in your periphery, your fans and fans of metal in general. Stop it.