Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thoughts on "Until The Light Takes Us"

I finally got around to watching Until The Light Takes Us, a documentary about some of the criminal activities and the people involved in the Norwegian Black Metal scene of the early 1990s. I must admit, it wasn't a great documentary but it wasn't bad either. Some scenes seemed kind of useless but you get that with any film. I will assume that anyone reading my blog will at least have a general idea of the events the film is based on. Instead of detailing the suicide, murders and church burnings, I'm more or less going to summarize some of the things I took away from the film.
In no particular order:
I haven't finished reading Lords of Chaos yet. And since I wasn't a metal fan back then, and haven't really read a whole lot about what happened, the details of the events discussed in the film were rather enlightening. And frightening.
Varg Vikernes said something to the effect that Christianity is the root of all the world's problems. While I agree to a great degree, burning down churches just doesn't seem like the best approach to take if you are trying to make people see your point of view. People opened their eyes, yes, but instead of making people see that Christianity is a poison, they just branded the perpetrators as Satanists and that was the end of it. If anything it enforced their faith and built the walls of ignorance ever higher. Not to mention that being falsely accused as being Satanists, which had nothing to do with their motives. only further defeated their purpose. Which was to trying and "reclaim" their ancient Norse "pagan" culture.
Listening to Varg speak, I couldn't help but notice how intelligent he is. He seems like a guy that knows what he is talking about and can argue it successfully. His ideas might be FUCKED but at least he isn't some blind sheep playing follow the leader. (There's those darn Christians again....baaaaa)
I was also struck by how cold Varg is. Not frosty grimness cold. He has no heart cold. When he was describing the altercation that lead to his killing Euronymous there wasn't even a shred of remorse. Maybe he feels like he was justified in his actions as being self-defense but his description contradicts that notion.  He states that at one point Euronymous RAN AWAY from him. How is it self-defense when the victim runs away?! When he describes the moment he stabbed Euronymous, he says "so I finished him off and ran after the other guy." In that situation, another member of Mayhem had ran past Varg and he realized this guy had his car keys. So he just "finished him [Euronymous] off" and chased the guy down. What the hell? I believe at this point Euronymous had actually fallen down and was relatively vulnerable. It probably would have been easier for Varg to have just gone after the guy with his keys and left it at that. But no, he stabbed Euromymous in head instead.  Varg tells us that he died instantly. Like he wants us to think that he was doing Euronymous a favour by killing him quickly. I knew this guy was messed but I didn't fully realize just how cold he really is.
That picture of Dead, erm, dead was pretty fucking brutal.
I was shocked somewhat when Hellhammer was describing his thoughts on Faust killing a "fucking faggot" in Lillehammer. He said he was pretty proud of him. Are you serious? These dudes are fucking intense, man.
Demonaz looked like a bouncer in a movie or something. A bouncer you don't fuck with.  Especially sitting beside an equally imposing Abbath.
Fenriz seems to be a very complex man. He likes a wide range of music as well as modern art. He seems very open-minded but also firm in his convictions. He seemed very calm for the most part. but he got worked up pretty good a couple times. He seems to be a vast storehouse of metal knowledge. (I'm going to say "seems" once more time, ok? Seems.) But for being such a well respected and iconic member of the extreme metal community, the movie made him look very lonely. Perhaps he is, perhaps that's just the way the film was edited. Perhaps the events the film is centered around have left a mark on his soul that bled its way to the exterior durng the making of the film. Maybe it was all of those things, maybe none. Maybe I'm reading way too much into it. But it's just that he was alone in almost all the scenes he was in. Alone in the bar, his house, the office, the train. Ya, I'm probably just making too much of it. Fascinating individual though. I think I could listen to him talk all day.
I laughed out loud and the look on the kid's face that was sitting beside Frost on the train. And he wasn't even wearing full corpsepaint! 
I hang my head in shame as I humbly admit that my knowledge of the music that soundtracked these events is basically non-existent. Mayhem, Darkthrone, early Burzum, Immortal, all more or less foreign to me. Snippets here and there but I don't think I've really listened to any of their work from back then. (2 of the newer Burzum albums and that Demonaz one, I have heard.) I know, I know. Hand over my membership card. I don't even know what Bathory sounds like. (Fuck. Grim Kim's gonna kill me.) But, what I'm getting at is, I heard pieces of those bands in the film. What I heard sounded like my cup of goat blood! Which means I have to find the time to get my greasy mitts on those albums. I've known about these bands and their importance but for some reason just never got around to actually hearing them.
So if anything, Until The Light Takes Us, has exposed me to a taste of a handful of bands/albums that any self-respecting (wannabe) metal writer needs to know as a reference point to today's bands.
I suppose I have a task now, don't I?

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