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Did H&M Create Fake Underground Metal Bands (With Nazi Imagery) To Push Its New Clothing Line? [Update: Nope, Just A Hoax]

Posted by on March 23, 2015 at 3:10 pm Follow on Twitter | Follow on Instagram

Newest Update: After the promo company already distanced themselves from H&M, Finntroll guitarist Henri Sorvali and a few of his friends admitted this was all just "culture jamming" and a hoax. Here is his admission.

Original story follows…


Remember a few weeks ago we told you that Swedish clothing giant H&M licensed some Metallica and Slayer designs to sell in their stores? At the time, we remarked how you could get a Metallica shirt at H&M cheaper than buying direct from the band.

But it seems like their marketing efforts or going a bit deeper.

A new thread on the Metal sub-Reddit calls into question a new marketing campaign by an agency known as Strong Scene Productions. The production company claims to be working in collaboration with H&M to spotlight underground metal bands via a new clothing line:

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.

A demonstration sampler compiled by STRONG SCENE PRODUCTIONS showcasing the talents of these gone, but not forgotten underground metal talents has now been uploaded to Strong Scene's YouTube-channel for your listening pleasure at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRMZTqSrfxw

Here is that Youtube video:

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Here's the problem, none of these bands have any sort of history beyond pages created this year. For example, Strong Scene claims to be founded in 1999, yet they only recently launched a Facebook page. They have an amazing Geocities-like "official" website listing all their bands, none of which have info on them available anywhere.

This marketing project seems to dig deep. They even created tracks by these potentially fake bands to make it seem like all of this is real:

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If you look up any of these bands, all the info only dates back to this month. For example, here is The One's Myspace page, with all content uploaded this week.

Now I know you might ask, why is H&M going through all of this trouble? Well, they are doing it to create a backstory for these new branded lines of clothing they are selling. For example, that "band" Mortus already has a shirt for sale at the clothing retailer and a jacket featuring patches of some of the bands, in addition to other H&M owned imagery is also for sale.

Clearly, the label wanted to get the aesthetic right, so they had to hire some people in the know. It looks as though Finntroll/Moonsorrow member Henri Sorvali is involved as he has been heavily tweeting about the campaign: (Update: The tweets have been deleted since this publishing, but here is what they said:)

It's interesting how they are marketing this as finding "lost tapes." The music certainly sounds authentic. But is it? It's interesting that there is even somebody on Reddit claiming to have heard one of the bands in high school. This person has only been a Reddit member for four hours as of this writing.

But here is the absolute worst part, if this is all a giant marketing stunt. Two of the bands seem to have ties to the NSBM scene (that's National Socalist Black Metal aka racists/neo-nazis). For example, the bio of the band "The One" lists them as being a part of the official band page of the record label "National Heritage Pride." The band LA/NY have imagery of Hitler on their band profile:

Lany_Promoletter

Update: Since publishing this story, the above image has been removed.

In fact, Sorvali corroborates this fact when somebody tweets at him that they can't believe H&M customers would unknowingly wear metal gear:

Why, oh why, would H&M even go anywhere near this sort of thing? Even if H&M isn't behind this grand stunt and these bands are real, why would H&M associate with potential neo-nazis? Could it be that whomever H&M hired to manage this guerrilla marketing campaign thought it would be fun to put in a little easter egg troll to get the fashion label in trouble? So many questions, and yet no answers.

Metal Injection is attempting to reach out to H&M for further clarification. We will update this story if we get any.

Update: A Metal Injection representative was able to get through to H&M corporate who seemed confused by the whole ordeal and asked for links. He noted it was late in his country and he would get back to us with an official statement tomorrow. Additionally, the Facebook page of the promo company keeps the charade going:

Update 2: A leading theory amongst my colleagues and I is that this may just be a giant troll by somebody in response to H&M releasing this clothing. Basically, the goof is that somebody was annoyed that H&M is co-opting metal, so they created this fake promo company as a way to troll H&M and metal fans. Whoever is behind this has to have a very good working knowledge of heavy metal based on some references on these Facebook pages:

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[h/t Shayne Mathis & Scrapyard Magazine]

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