Tag Archives: Mayhem

A Brutally Honest Review of the New “Lords of Chaos” Film

Lords of Chaos

Spoiler Alert; although I assume most inclined to watch the movie already know the bloody details of the “satanic black metal underground” in Norway.

Most in the metal community rightfully cringed while viewing the trailer for the recently released “Lords of Chaos” film. “Lords of Chaos” was released on Friday, February 15, 2019. The film was directed by former Bathory drummer Jonas Akerland and starred Rory Culkin (Macaulay Culkin’s younger brother) as Euronymous and Emory Cohen as Varg. It is loosely based on a true story as it was depicted in the bestselling novel “Lords of Chaos” by Michael Moynihan, which is widely known to have grossly exaggerated the events that took place between the infamous “Black Circle” in Norway in the early 90s. Despite the fact that the book is an obvious exaggeration of the events, reading it is still much more worth one’s time than watching this absolute disaster of a film.

The first notable detail was director Akerlund’s odd decision for Euronymous’ character, played by Rory Culkin, to provide a “Wonder Years” style narration to the film. This gave the movie an immediate air of cheesiness. And although the film did not appear to be taking itself too seriously, any real chances at humor were lost under a thick veil of discomfort that seemed to plague all the actors onscreen. As if watching a high school production, it was extremely obvious the characters were acting, which made them difficult to connect with.

What especially irked me was the disappointing portrayal of Varg Vikernes in the film. Although the man is completely bat-shit crazy, what makes him so dangerous is his intelligence. “Lords of Chaos,” however, portrayed Varg as slow-witted, reckless and a bit of a follower. They focused heavily on his involvement in national socialism but not all on how role-playing games influenced him. Later in the film, when his involvement in politics was supposed to be getting deeper, Cohen’s dedication seemed contrived or forced. I just didn’t buy it. Even his burgeoning anger toward Euronymous seemed disingenuous.

The movie was also sloppily put together. The depiction of Bard Faust, for example, was particularly thoughtless. The character is introduced only in passing at Euronymous’ store, Helvete. Moments later he’s depicted brutally stabbing a homosexual man to death. There’s little to no lead up to this horrific scene. It’s 0 to 100 with this character.

It’s flubs like these that led to, perhaps, the most disappointing aspect of the film — the utter lack of relevant music in the soundtrack. Aside from “Freezing Moon” and “Necrolust,” which were repeatedly played in the score, practically no Norwegian black metal appeared in the film. This is because the bands refused to sign off on the rights to the music after reading the script — which blatantly admits it’s full of lies. Instead of modifying the script to gain the support of the bands portrayed in the film, Akerlund went ahead and began shooting and it shows.

Dead- Lords of Chaos
Dead

Although I have very little positive feedback for this film, I must admit the portrayal of Dead’s suicide and the stabbings of Euronymous and Magne Andreassen were exceptionally brutal, which is fitting for such a dark story. They did not hold back on the blood or shy away from showing Dead blow his brains out. In fact, though he laid it on pretty thick, Dead’s portrayal in the film was probably my favorite. The book talks a lot about Dead macabre obsession with death, road kill and astral projection and the movie seems to accurately depict the character.

“Lords of Chaos” the novel

Despite having spent years in conceptualization, as a final product, “Lords of Chaos” seemed rushed. In interviews, the actors seem to know little outside the conventional mythos, and many elements of the whole story were left out of the film. The lack of overall character development made the story difficult to engage. At the end of the day, what was missing from this narrative was a purpose. Though Euronymous’ admission at the end was surprising, the movie seemed to be in a hurry to fit in all the events without attempting to convey a message of any kind. Overall, I’d say stream this one for the lulz. This is not a serious production in any sense of the word.

3/10

 

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The Top 6 Most Important Norwegian Black Metal Albums

Everything about Norway is metal. Its lush forests and snow capped mountains are more mystifying than any other countries’. Its subzero temperatures and spread out landscapes are depressive and isolating. Even the countries’ history is entrenched in warfare, bloodshed and jealous pagan gods. It is only natural that the most controversial metal in the world would be birthed from such a place.

If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you’ve heard the story. Back in the early nineties some overzealous, teenage extremists burned churches, killed people, served extensive jail time and made some awesome music, influenced by the likes of Bathory, Celtic Frost, Venom and Sodom. These fervent teenagers and twenty-somethings changed the face of metal forever with their raw, unprocessed, atmospheric dissonance. Black metal as we know it today was born.

Though many great bands hailed from the walls of Helvete and the emissions of Deathlike Silence Productions, there were a few that hallmarked the scene. These are the top six most important Norwegian black metal albums…..

6.Ulver- Nattans Madrigal
ulver

Intelligent, atmospheric, raw, experimental and progressive are just a few words that sum up Ulver’s 1997 release. The final album in Ulver’s notorious black trinity, Nattens Madrigal, is a thought provoking masterpiece; a beautifully grotesque glimpse of ingenuity. Each song is both a beguiling hymn to nightfall and a summoning call to hell’s hounds, delivered with a buzzing resonance and enthralling melody. From hypnotic acoustic breaks to sheer raw atmosphere, Nattens Madrigal is an absolute, must have album in any respectable black metal collection.

5.Satyricon- Dark Medieval Times
satyricon

It would be unfair to do a countdown like this and not include Satyricon. Satyricon were not only formative members of the so-called “Black Circle”, they also gave life to the black metal image with their flashy “kvlt” regalia. They took the black metal look and made it into a true art form. Though their music has gone in some strange directions over the years, perhaps becoming a bit too symphonic or polished for some, their 1994 release, Dark Medieval Times is a beautiful example grim black metal with a Neo-Pagan edge. Beginning to end the album is a celebration of Valhalla and a dirge to olden gods. The folk elements are beautifully rendered and create a sort of enchanted atmosphere throughout the album. No “kvlt” elitist would disagree that Dark Medieval Times is a truly remarkable and important benchmark in the history of Norwegian black metal.

4.Burzum- Filosefem
burzum

There is perhaps no artist more controversial than Varg Vikernes. From arson to murder to extreme ideology, Varg had it all. Whether or not you agree with the man’s questionable actions, one must admit that black metal wouldn’t be the romantic impetus it is today without those infamous stories. As a rebellious teen, I don’t know if I would have been as drawn to black metal if it hadn’t been so shrouded in depravity.

Black metal is a form of music to be feared by most and no one understood this better than Varg. His 1996 release Filosefem is a magnificently crafted work of art, fittingly recorded on a tape deck. As a one man outfit, Varg was forced to experiment with ambient sounds on his recordings. These melancholy sounds paved the way for countless others. Filosefem is unarguably the highlight of the man’s career; flawless from beginning to end.

3.Emperor- In The Nightside Eclipse
emperor

Emperor was rooted deeply within the trenches of Helevete’s hellions from their humble beginnings. Always a bit more intelligent than company they kept, Emperor politely stood on the sidelines for the most part whilst the insanity persisted. And save for ex-member and convicted murderer Bard Faust, the band has kept out of trouble without losing any of their “necro” cred. Staying out of trouble could not keep them out of the spotlight however, their music was simply too impressive.

Emperor’s first full length album, In the Nightside Eclipse is flawlessly rendered symphony of darkness. Cold, melancholy and sinister, the album is an absolute staple in black metal history. Emperor’s use of the keyboards induces a doleful sensitivity in their sound. The occasional clean chanting found throughout In the Nightside Eclipse only adds to the album’s beautifully depressive resonance. They don’t begin and end at sadness however. Much of the album is an uplifting and victorious battle cry. The album sends the listener on an emotive whirlwind and is only satisfied with musicianship of the highest standards. From sadness to celebration, In the Nightside Eclipse is a true masterpiece.


2.Darkthrone- Transilvanian Hunger

darkthrone

Though Darkthrone’s initial beginnings were in death metal, they are most well known for their black metal efforts. It doesn’t matter how far they attempt to stray from the black metal sound, the brand will always be with them. This is because of the importance those three albums carry in black metal’s murky beginnings. A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger bore a significant influence on black metal.

It wasn’t until the release of Transilvanian Hunger that Darkthrone truly honed their black metal sound. Recorded on the cheapest of equipment, the sound is cold, atmospheric and ugly. The buzzing guitars, the effortless blackened growls and the paralyzing blast beats literally defined black metal’s sound. Everything about this release screams “kvlt”, from the simple yet nefarious cover art to the fact that the whole album is growled in the band’s native tongue. If this album isn’t in your collection yet, I pity you.

1.Mayhem- Live in Leipzig
mayhem

What can one say about Mayhem that hasn’t already been said? It seemed like everything that was happening in Norway at that time was surrounded around this notorious band. From Helvete to murder and untimely death to arson to Deathlike Silence Productions, all eyes were on Mayhem. They were simply dangerous and it comes out in their sound. No Mayhem album captures this element of danger better than Live in Leipzig.

Live in Leipzig is the only album which features the deceased, Per “Dead” Ohlin on vocals. His sickness, brutality and possible mental illness were a perfect fit for Mayhem’s raw and unpolished sound. There was little concern over whether or not the instruments were being play correctly. The band’s only concern was in sounding as evil as possible. They certainly achieved that goal. No release before or after has ever sounded as evil, sick or menacing as Live in Leipzig. Live in Leipzig is THE black metal record to have.

Everything on this list is only my opinion. If you feel I’ve left something out feel free to post it in the comments. And just so I don’t piss anyone off, here are some notable mentions…..
Enslaved- Vikingligr Veldi
Thorns- Thorns
Immortal- Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
Happy Listening! Hails!

Gestalte

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Everyone once in awhile it is necessary to go above ground for some much needed fresh air. My lungs have had their fill, however and I have plummeted deeper than ever into the very core of the underground to bring you Gestalte, black metal savages, hailing from the Netherlands. There is nothing quite like traditional, no frills, raw black metal and Gestalte continues to carry black metal’s message of evil.

Gestalte, (pronounced guh-stawlt) means a unified whole in Old German. Clearly the band has extracted their name from esoteric doctrine as the lyrics indicate a deep fascination with the occult and high ceremonial magic. The band formed back in 2009 and is soon to release their first, self-titled LP under small indie label, Heidens Hart Records. The demo is spellbinding and highly evocative of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas era Mayhem. The vocals range from high shrieks to low, Atilla-like, vibrations and the guitars maintain a hypnotic repetitiveness, definitive of atmospheric black metal. The production is shoddy yet listenable, in true kvlt fashion and the blast beats invariably attack the listener.

The band has been having some troubles with their bassist Wraak, which has lead to a delay in the release of their LP. We can only hope the issues are soon resolved. Overall, the demo drew me in and I have no criticisms. As usual, I will let you be the judge of that. Below is my favorite track off their self-titled demo, Pazuzu (Winged King of Desert Spirits). Happy Listening! Hails!

http://www.myspace.com/gestalte/music