Black metal is not my go-to genre when it comes to heavy music, but I know quite a bit about it and can appreciate much of what I have heard. Couple that with the fact that I am a huge documentary film buff and Lords of Chaos fits nice and neatly into my wheelhouse.
In case you are unaware, this is an award-winning independent film that tells the violent story of the early ‘90s Norwegian black metal scene and is based on the life of former mayhem guitarist, Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth. With characters that you have most likely heard of, such as Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, Euronymous, Pelle “Dead” Olmin and many more, this film takes a look at what was known in the scene as the birth of true Norwegian black metal. This was a scene riddled with Satanism, death obsessions, destruction, and other heinous crimes that eventually led to suicide, murder, and a rash of widespread church burnings around Norway.
There is some debate as to accuracy of the details, and I have heard that people from the scene are split down the middle with Kristian “Varg” Vikernes calling the whole film a complete distortion of the truth, and others, whom I know personally, that were in and around the scene claiming it is quite accurate.
Whatever the case, the film on its own is very well done and extremely entertaining. The viewer does not need to be a fan of black metal or need to know the historical details to appreciate what Jonas Åkerlund has created here. There are many laughs, great cinematography and, unfortunately, quite a bit of tragedy in this film that make it an incredibly good watch.
Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Starring: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer
Distributor: Century Media
Release Date: February 8, 2019 (USA)
Run Time: 118 minutes
Here’s the trailer, full of all the wholesome church burnings you could ask for.