This article is part of a series about Finland’s national socialist music scene. We offer now an English version of the text due to several requests. The English version has been amended slightly from the original to give some basic details of the events, people and other information described that might not be familiar to people outside Finland. This text was first published in Finnish by Finnish anti-fascist network Varis 17th of January 2019.
(Note: This article includes lyrics from Vapaudenristi and Clandestine Blaze, and the latter include rather specific fantasies of antisemitic violence.)
Mikko Reino Juhani Aspa from the town of Lahti is one of the central figures in the Finnish national socialist (NS) music scene. He plays in NS bands, releases NS music, collaborates with other people in the scene and also spreads NS music and neo-fascist literature through his record store Sarvilevyt. His company Ivras (formed in 2002) owns the business names Sarvilevyt and Sarvipaidat, former for his record store and latter for printing shirts. Aspa has several labels and bands, and most of them are listed on the web site Discogs. In this article we provide information on some of Aspa’s bands, his political views, label activity and his record store Sarvilevyt.
Mikko Aspa’s RAC band Vapaudenristi
Aspa formed Vapaudenristi in 2006. In 2012 Vapaudenristi got a full live line-up (in which Aspa currently handles guitar and vocals) and started playing various NS oriented gigs. Vapaudenristi is the most active RAC band in Finland at the moment, and also performs live and releases records a lot more often than Aspa’s other projects. Between years 2012-2018 Vapaudenristi has played at least 22 gigs and has done 18 different releases. Majority of the releases are splits with other Finnish NS bands, such as Pagan Skull, Pylvanainen, Uskonrauha and Pyhä Kuolema. Most of the records are released by Aspa, but some of them have been released by Sakaramiina, a Finnish RAC label. Most of the gigs have been held at secret locations in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Tampere, Orivesi and Turku.
Probably the most infamous one has been the support gig for Jesse Eppu Torniainen on 7th October 2016. Torniainen is an activist of the Finnish branch of the national socialist organization Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM, in Finnish Pohjoismainen Vastarintaliike) who was at the time jailed for killing Jimi Karttunen at a demonstration held by the NRM in front of Helsinki railway station. There have been a couple of public appearances as well, including in the recently bankrupt Alem (2016 and 2017, Alem was a restaurant in Helsinki that had numerous NS gigs) and at the afterparty of the 612 rally (2017 and 2018, 612 is organized by various far-right organisations on the Finnish Independence Day). Playing bass in the live line-up of Vapaudenristi is the neo-fascist Mikko Ilmari “Riimu” Pöyhönen, who is known mostly for his neofolk band Pyhä Kuolema. NRM’s Riimuradio podcast also interviewed Vapaudenristi in spring 2015. Later the program changed name to Studio 204 (based on Adolf Hitler’s birthday).
Even with a full line-up Vapaudenristi is still Aspa’s own creation, as he has also stated in various interviews. The lyrics revolve around racism, antisemitism, anti-liberalism, anti-humanism, anti-marxism, calls for a white revolution, national mythology as seen from a far-right perspective, ultra-nationalism, nazi-esotericism and the praise of nazi skinhead culture. The songtitles don’t leave a lot of room for interpretations: Veri ja maa (Blood and soil), Mun maa (My land), Apinajahti (Monkey hunt), Ei maata ilman kansaa (No country without people), Valkoinen kapinahenki (White spirit of rebellion), Vapaussota 18 (Freedom war 18, right-wing way of referring to the finnish civil war), Suomen SS-sankarit (Finland’s SS heroes) and so on. The band has also recorded covers of other RAC bands such as Sniper, Mistreat, No Remorse and Bully Boys.
Vapaudenristi clearly plays music that can be categorized as neo-Nazi hate music, but the lyrics contain also some “constructive” messages. Instead of focusing solely on hating “the Left”, “the Elite”, and “the Other”, the band wishes to serve their fascist nationalistic ideas to the listener. In this way Vapaudenristi stands out from other RAC bands – they do not simply perform hateful angry music but also try and attract more apolitical listeners to adapt their ideology through building a positive image. They do this in a similar way as the political fascist movement, by presenting a secure future with jobs and unity if they accept the other pillars of the fascist ideology: injustice, hierarchy and violence. Vapaudenristi also communicate the idea of palingenesis, the return to an imaginary golden age of a united people. This is by many fascists supposed to be achieved through a civil war where all dissidents, leftists and minorities would be killed, isolated or deported. A lot of Vapaudenristi´s lyrics discuss Finnish and European history through a contemporary far-right perspective. For them the music serves as just another tool for propaganda. Sometimes appearing as a rowdy RAC band and sometimes as proud patriots, they wish to gather supporters also outside underground nazi music scene. It is no wonder that the webzine Sarastus (“The Dawn”, a Finnish fascist “intellectual” website) has booked Vapaudenristi twice to the 612 rally after parties. Both Vapaudenristi and the far-right Independence Day rally try to promote their fascist ideas under the disguise of “nationalism and patriotism”.
Lyric excerpt from Vapaudenristi – “Mies Aikaa Vastaan” (2014)
joka suuntaan revitään
ei tiedä itsekään
ei saa jäädä jälkeen
ei voi mennä eteenpäin
meille riittäisi sielu
meille riittäisi voitokas henki
lyttäämme juutalaisen myrkytyksen
mies toisesta ajasta
mies tätä aikaa vastaan
ei tyydytä sankarit vihollisen
kohti voittoa lopullista
kohti uljasta valtakuntaa
on se voima
se ei kysele lupaa keltään
ei kumarra edessä
harhaoppia seuraavien huorien
pyrkimyksen suunta on oikea
humanismin kahleet katkottu
nyt myös luonnolliset
ei kysy lupaa keltään
ei tunne syyllisyyttä
siis otan vastaan tuon
epätoivon ja kärsimyksen tuhkasta
nousee uusi voima
josta ilmaan arjalaiset
The song title “Mies aikaa vastaan” (Man against Time) refers to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, that Nazis perceive as a resistance to modernity and decay. The phrase was suggested by famous national socialist esoteric Savitri Devi in his 1958 book The Lightning and the Sun. Other themes are the Jews spreading poison, the Final Victory, the failure of the parasites, proud nations, natural hierarchy and the shackles of humanism – all common themes in national socialist propaganda. The lyrics also contain the idea that Aryans will defeat the Jews and form a kingdom governed by the rules of Social Darwinism. Similar messages are found in the 2016 song “Vanhan Maailman Demonit” (Demons of the Old World):
kuulen rappion äänet tasapäistettyjen massojen
loiset uhriutumassa omassa saastassaan
ryhmähalin tiukka rutistus vaikka kaikkia jo ahdistaa
velaksi ostetun hyvinvoinnin juhlat on lopussa
emme halunneet harhaista utopiaa
emme maailmankylää tai globaalia monokulttuuria
laput silmillä liukuhihnalla tie kohti tuhoa
valta pankkiirien ja koukkunokkaplutokratian
humanistit kaikille tän paratiisin haluaa
itseriittoiset hyötyjät vailla tulevaisuutta
emme halunneet harhaista utopiaa
emme maailmankylää tai globaalia monokulttuuria
luotamme pohjimmaiseen vaistoon: itsesäilytykseen
hylkäämme arvot jotka saa kansakunnan kaatumaan
olemme demonit vanhan maailman!
tervehdimme ilolla tulevaa taistelua
emme halunneet harhaista utopiaa
emme maailmankylää tai globaalia monokulttuuria
tämä harha tulee haihtumaan
nousee demonit vanhan maailman
In this song the naive, immigration friendly and hedonist “Left” is portrayed as collaborating with a greedy, elite “hook nosed plutocracy” that is destroying the people. This kind of imagery is a common cliché in RAC music and of course the song ends with a call to battle. Aspa´s antisemitism is perhaps most clearly expressed in the Vapaudenristi song “Tuhka” (Ashes) from 2010:
Siis katse maahan luotu on
piikkilanka-aidan takaa näky on lohduton
valittujen joukko kulkee
kohti lopullista ratkaisua
niin on pyyhitty osa
kuuma tuuli puhaltaa
tuhkaa kohti unholaa
historian kirjat kääntyy
syvälle maahan antaen
tilaa hengittää ja unohtaa
In this straight forward song the Jews are likened to an epidemic disease and the concentration camps of the Holocaust are praised. “The Final Solution” is a well known Third Reich euphemism for the ethnic cleansing of the Jews, and “the Chosen group” refers to the Jewish people as chosen by god. It is worth noting that Aspa´s antisemitism is visible in his other projects as well, such as the black metal band Clandestine Blaze that will be discussed later in the article. In an 2015 interview with Swedish neo-Nazi blog Midgård Magazine, Aspa explained the Vapaudenristi´s lyrics:
Midgård Magazine: You sing only in Finnish. Can you tell us about common lyrical themes?
Mikko Aspa: Most of my lyrics are about my world view. Some of them are straight forward, others more symbolic. I am not dogmatic when it comes to politics. I am against globalization, rootless alienation, uncontrolled invasion of populations, Marxist disorder and Zionist influence
When Vapaudenristi performed at the 612 after-party in 2018, the concert was promoted through the Nordic Resistance Movement´s web sites as well as Finnish neo-Nazi subcultural blog Ukonvasama. Other performers at the gig were Pagan Skull and Civic Duty. This could be seen as a difference between the 2017 and 2018 gigs – the lineup changed slightly towards the commonly preferred genres of the nazi music subculture.
Clandestine Blaze and antisemitism
Clandestine Blaze was founded by Aspa in 1998 as a one man black metal project. The lyrical themes are antisemitism, islamophobia, racism, Social Darwinism and the Ubermensch myth. The antisemitic songs revolve often around the common national socialist idea of a Zionist elite conspiring to control the world. Many of the songs glorify the Holocaust and mock the Jews, calling them sheep, trash, weak and worthless. Examples can be found on the records Tearing Down Jerusalem (1999), Chambers (2000), Fist of the Northern Destroyer (2001), Genocide Operation (2001) and Ashes of the Eternal Wanderer (2006). These are the lyrics for the song Tearing Down Jerusalem, from the 1999 record On The Mission:
Strike to the holy city
Torture the followers
Of weakening god
Let the blood stream
Through dirty streets
Faces zero tolerance
Tearing down Jerusalem
Crushing Zionist Power
Victory of unholy forces
The lyrics for the song do not leave much to analyze. Violent fantasies of destroying Jerusalem and therefore destroying all Jews is one of the most common themes in NSBM. More similar fantasies can be found in the song Genocide Operation:
Destroyed, humiliated, killed still while alive
Skeletal bodies, eyes full of emptiness
Stench of death floating over moist soil
Where creatures dig graves for themselves
You lead to the death and creatures will follow
Will and power of mind exists no more
Cut their wrists and command to lie in grave
And their own do the rest
Buried bodies, piled corpses
Burned filthy flesh
Charred remains of the children
Mutilated corpses of women
Mutilated corpses of women
Crushed bodies of men
Altogether, like garbage
Just like they are,
Just like they are…
Lead them to death and they will follow
You command and they submit
No glory, no victory, nothing
Genocide operation, wiping out the worthless
The lyrics glorify the Holocaust, dehumanize the Jews and see their genocide as a justified part of the Social Darwinist struggle, where only the strongest survive and the weak perish. The national socialist ideology has transformed the Social Darwinist idea of strong hierarchies into representing the Jews as weak sheep, deserving to die and that Aryans defend their own race when taking part in genocide. This is one of the most brutal and disgusting traits of nazi ideology. Aryans are seen as strong and the Jews are seen as rootless, unnatural and opportunistic, and the fascist atrocities against them are presented as justified. Aspa´s lyrics all represent this ideology as we will show in this article.
Apart from Clandestine Blaze, Aspa has praised antisemitism in the lyrics he provided to RAC group Pagan Skull in “Lackeys of Six Pointed Star” and in contributing to industrial band Deathkey´s record “Behead the Semite”. The record was released by Aspa´s Freak Animal Records. Aspa´s other label Northern Heritage has also released the critically acclaimed Polish black metal group Mgła. The members of Mgła perform in the live lineup of Clandestine Blaze and Aspa has appeared as Mgła´s live vocalist. Aspa has discussed the collaborations in the previously mentioned Sarastus interview.
Session drummer for NS bands
Apart from Vapaudenristi and Clandestine Blaze, Aspa has performed with at least two other NS bands: Pagan Skull and Goatmoon. Pagan Skull is a RAC group consisting of Sampsa Muhonen (one of the neo-Nazis that stabbed a doorman at the library in Jyväskylä 2013 because of an antifascist book event held at the library) and Paavo Laitinen, a Nordic Resistance Movement activist. In this band, Aspa is a live drummer, and Sampsa Muhonen confirms this in an interview with Midgård Magazine on 3rd July 2015. Goatmoon is probably Finland’s best known NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal) band, and Aspa has appeared with them on several occasions. He is the drummer on the 2011 Goatmoon/Azazel split, and has performed live with the band many times.
“An independent thinker”
Aspa has presented himself in many interviews as having “an outsider´s perspective” and many times he has avoided the subject when asked about his philosophy and political views. This is understandable, since he tries to make a living from his record store and labels. If he was widely known as a neo-Nazi this would likely have an effect on his economy. Several of his extreme metal projects such as Clandestine Blaze, Fleshpress and Deathspell Omega are mainly popular outside the nazi music subculture, and all of the fans probably don´t know about Aspa´s political views and connections. But despite of this risk, Aspa has been very outspoken several times and it is surprising that so few have reacted. This is an excerpt from an interview with Midgård Magazine, where Aspa talks about what he thinks of the future of the white race:
Midgård Magazine: What do you think are the greatest threat and hope for the white race?
Mikko Aspa: The greatest threat is the consequences when one does not understand or care about the race and people´s future. I understand why some people don´t want to be a part of this world. I don´t ask anyone to be a slave to the system, but to take part in the movement because of what it might become. Most of the blame should be cast on the white man himself, that have severed the ties between past, present and future. Only able to notice their short, hedonist and meaningless lives, and nothing beyond that. I hope the flame burns bright in the men that find meaning in the struggle even when facing and undefeatable opponent. All roles are welcome. Lone wolfs and public characters. Cultural actors and rough street guys.
Jarno Alander, an editor of the neo-fascist webpage Sarastus, made an interview with Aspa that was published for Sarastus as well as at Heathen Harvest, another neo-fascist website (2nd January 2016). In the long interview, Aspa explain his musical and personal background as well as his views of the world:
Jarno Alander: You do not come across as a particularly politically oriented person, but still here and there one hears miscellaneous nobodies shouting—from a safe distance—that you are a right-wing extremist, a ‘Nazi’, or some other form of what they perceive as a political degenerate. Vapaudenristi, of course, has lyrics that could be interpreted as political in this nature. However, I interpret them as surrounding ethno-nationalism, associated with the idea of being Finnish or of any other nationality. It has to do with a blood heritage that any person either has or does not have. For example, the song ‘Ei maata ilman kansaa’ (‘No country without people’). Any comments on this?
Mikko Aspa: This will depend on how you define ‘political’. If the question is, do I represent some clearly defined, ideologically pure line of thought or political party, or do I vote in elections, the answer is, of course: I most certainly do not. If you phrase the question differently, you may come to the conclusion that I am an extremely politically oriented person. For me, ‘politics’ equals ‘worldview’. I am not interested the administrative issues or economic policies that mainstream politics are dominated by. I am interested in the issues in the background. I represent radicalism that rejects anthropocentrism and liberal humanism, but I am not especially dogmatic when it comes to deciding who I can collaborate with in order to advance these ideas.
The most clear case where Aspa has explained his fascist views is in a 10-page interview the 2015 book “Wolves Among the Sheep” that present the international NSBM scene:
I identify with the idea of Weltanschauung (world view) more that the everyday worldly political games or economical issues. I identify with that natural hierarchies and biological truths should be accepted. I identify with natural order as divine and the perspective that gives in many questions about life and death.
About national socialism Aspa says:
[…] It would appear that I know, live and identify more with national socialism than most of the people that describe themselves as such [nation socialist].
Sarvilevyt, Northern Heritage and Freak Animal
Aspa owns and runs the record store Sarvilevyt (Rautatienkatu 1, Lahti). Among many extreme genres, Aspa is distributing NS records and merchandise. In 2018 his webpages sold several NSBM and RAC records such as Dark Fury, Devilry, Fatherland, Goatmoon, Graveland, Hate Forest and Intolitarian. He also distributed Ukonvasama, a fascist fanzine made by former NRM Turku group leader Pauli Kaila.
Aspa runs several underground record labels, of which the largest are the extreme metal label Northern Heritage and the noise/experimental label Freak Animal Records. These labels have several subdivisions under different names, and several of them have released far-right artists. Northern Heritage has released Peste Noire, Diaboli, Necropole and Hate Forest. Freak Animal Records has released artists such as Deathkey, 88MM and Zyklon SS.
Aspas is also a moderator behind popular noise/industrial internet forum Special-interest and the fanzine Special Interest Magazine. Aspa has also made art installations and even had art exhibitions.
Mikko Aspa and other fascists like him are not interested in the freedom of speech, dialogue or other humanist values, and only use them to achieve their political goals – to crush open-mindedness and establish a “natural” hierarchy of white supremacy. We should not let these people have a place in any subculture or anywhere else. They should be driven underground and be forced to have a hard time being active even there. Together we must fight fascist music, their subcultures and politics.
What can YOU do?
-Spread the word about Mikko Aspa´s far-right connections and ideology – in Finland and internationally.
-Be in contact with concert promoters, venues and bookers that enable Aspa´s projects.
-Make sure that you don´t co-operate with Aspa indirectly. Do not allow your music to be sold in his shop or play together with his bands.
-Don´t support him economically by buying records that he sells or releases.
If you have more information on Mikko Aspa or other people in the Finnish nazi music subculture your help will be appreciated. Also if you want to ask more about the situation in or need specific information related to Finland feel free to contact us! You can tip us at varistoimitus[at]riseup.net.