In the early 90s, Norways black metal scene turned into a satanic cult as musicians burned churches, self-harmed and killed. As the film Lords of Chaos is released, the real-life protagonists look back
That period of my life is a swampy lake with skeletons in it, says Rune Eriksen, AKA guitarist Blasphemer. This will probably be one of the very few moments Im willing to go back and talk about it.
It has been 11 years since Eriksen left Mayhem, the worlds most aptly named band. He joined in 1994, rejuvenating the Norwegian black metal group after their guitarist ystein Aarseth, known as Euronymous, had been murdered by their former bassist Varg Vikernes, AKA Count Grishnackh. Three years before that, their singer Pelle Ohlin, also known as Dead, killed himself. Understandably, Eriksen has moved on.
Norwegian black metal, though, is inseparable from its history. This month sees the release of Lords of Chaos, director Jonas kerlunds intense dramatisation of events, focusing on the friendship and fatal rift between Aarseth (played by Rory Culkin) and Vikernes (Emory Cohen). It is bruising and brutal when it screened at the London film festival last November, a man vomited, a woman fainted and an ambulance was summoned.
kerlund wants the film to have an impact. A director of music videos for Beyonc, Madonna and Lady Gaga, among others, this is his fourth film, and his most personal. From 1983 to 1984, he was the drummer in the Swedish band Bathory, who were a major influence on Norwegian black metal, not that he takes any credit for that, heaping praise on the bands singer Quorthon. The sound we created was a mix of what we liked, says kerlund. And the whole punk thing, but playing it fast, which really wasnt what metal was about back then. That, along with Quorthons raspy wailing and satanic lyrics, threw down a gauntlet. Mayhem, formed in 1984 in Oslo, by Aarseth, bassist Jrn Stubberud (AKA Necrobutcher) and drummer Kjetil Manheim, set the gauntlet on fire.
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