Sunday 10 March 2019

Movie Review: LORDS OF CHAOS (2018)

Out of all of Metal's subgenres, none has quite the high volume of utter cunts as the Black Metal scene. As a teenager, I remember the reports of the church burnings and murders, and how this scene sky-rocketed from nowhere as edgy teens embraced their inner nihilist after being easily impressed by the violence, racism, homophobia and general intolerance being purveyed by a handful of assholes in Norway.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past thirty years, you will probably be familiar with the infamous story that Lords Of Chaos is based upon. In short, Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, founder of Mayhem and arguably the inventor of True Norwegian Black Metal, is obsessed with being in the most evil band in the world. He is involved in a few church burnings along with his mates, and eventually gets stabbed to death by his former bass player and Burzum main-man Varg Vikernes. Oh, and before that, original Mayhem singer Dead blows his brains out, and Faust (from Emperor) stabs a gay man to death in some bushes. Fun true fact: Faust stabbed the man thirty-seven times as well as repeatedly kicking him in the head. He only served nine years in jail before being released.

As expected, many Black Metal fans worldwide have condemned this movie as inaccurate. However, with so many varying accounts of the story, everyone seems to have their own truth. Having done a bit of research, the script seems to be way more accurate than many Black Metal cry-babies believe. Sorry, but Varg Vikernes was a murderous Nazi sympathising scumbag, and he is depicted as the knob he is in real life. Having said that, this is a movie and there will always be some creativity and bending of the truth in order to make the story work in this context. After all, Lords Of Chaos is not a documentary.

Director Jonas Åkerlund, who incidentally used to play drums for Bathory, has done a fantastic job, especially with his attention to detail. Some of the real-life photos and locations from that era are replicated incredibly well. I was a little put off by the use of American actors instead of Norwegian ones, but in fairness, they are excellent, particularly Rory Culkin, whose depiction of Euronymous shows the character's vulnerable side as well as the vile qualities he was known for. The film accurately shows the geeky, awkward and immature side of these young men. As the viewer, you feel yourself being dragged further down the rabbit hole as their attempts to shock and convey an image of authentic evil, get out of hand as they continually try to impress and compete with one another.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lord Of Chaos. It had a good balance of humour and unsettling darkness, as well as being a perfectly paced, beautifully filmed, and overall well-made film. It has also given the Black Metal scene some mainstream attention, which I'm sure will enrage genre purists and gatekeepers everywhere. Such sweet tears.


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