Monday, December 20, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance with the Stars of Norwegian Black Metal

       If you're familiar with Norwegian Black Metal and some of its most lovable misfits then you knew it was only a matter of time before they all got together and starred in a screwball comedy or reality show of some sort, and if you're like me you were hoping against hope that they would somehow find a way of reanimating the dead ones so that they could truly all be united as one happy, incorrigible family again. Well I am proud to announce that that day has finally come.
       I understand that some of you may doubt my ability to raise the dead. I'm going to have to ask those individuals to a) try a little thing called suspension of belief and b) not be such insufferable little twats. Think you can manage? Good. Now if you are at all NBM savvy then you have heard of Euronymous. You've seen him on the cover of Tiger Beat and you've wanted to be just like him and wished you had his hair. But if you don't know about him and are too lazy to click on the link then you can just go and shit the bed because I'm not here to write a biography. In fact do me a favor and don't read the rest of this because you are completely unworthy and Euronymous would agree. So would Dead and Count Grishnackh, or anyone else from the seminal NBM band Mayhem. Euronymous started Mayhem in 1984, and had another dubious distinction of being the owner of Helvete (Norwegian for "Hell"), a record store that became the focal point of the scene. He also had a label called Deathlike Silence Productions which recorded mostly chillwave.
      Euronymous was not a very nice guy. His mother has reported that even in his early teens he would deliberately pee in the tub while she was bathing him. He was also a practitioner of theistic Satanism and a proponent of communism, not in the idealistic, theoretical sense, but in the sense of Stalinist communism, state terrorism and totalitarian rule, you get the idea. It is thought that he believed in these things because he was clinically fucktarded. Dead, on the other hand, was a more complicated figure. He was not so much mad as he was sad--so much so, in fact, that on April 8, 1991 at the ripe old age of twenty-two he killed himself by both slitting his wrists and blowing his brains out for good measure. Unfortunately for Dead's corpse it was discovered by Euronymous, who proceeded to do fucked up shit with it and took pictures, one of which would later become the cover of a Mayhem record. Euronymous also made necklaces out of fragments from Dead's skull and sent them to people he thought were cool. Pol Pot never received his, though.

 Interviewer: "What is so solid with evilness?"

Euronymous: "What is so solid about goodness then? It's just the way it is. I neither can nor will define it. It is basically a hate to humankind. I have no friends, just the guys I am allied with. If my girlfriend dies I won't cry, I will misuse the corpse."

- - - - - - - - - - 

Dead: "I am not a human being. This is just a dream, and soon I will awake. It was too cold and the blood kept coagulating all the time."

       But the most complicated of the three was probably Count Grishnackh. I would characterize Count Grishnackh as both mad and sad, and unlike the other two he was not so much into evil as he was into Germanic neopaganism and being racist. He was sad (and mad) because the Christians had beat his pagan ancestors in a game of tug of war several centuries ago, adding insult to injury by pulling them right into some mud, and they were all wearing white because it was after Easter. And also the Christians may have desecrated some of their graves, though let's keep in mind that this was hundreds of years ago, but the Count was still ripshit pissed about it so he decided to burn some churches, some very old churches that were considered national treasures, and then everyone thought he was hardcore like when Fonzie jumped the shark.

       The problem was that he was now considered to be even more hardcore than Euronymous, who had previously been considered the most hardcore kid on the block. Now there was this new kid on the block who was stealing his thunder. It didn't sit very well. And what was more, this new kid didn't even love Satan, and he didn't even have the decency to espouse Stalinist communism. At the same time the Count and his friends were getting fed up with Euronymous, because every time they burned a church he would try to act like he was all in on it and stuff, even though he so completely wasn't. Then one day it got back to the Count that Euronymous was going to kill him. So the Count decided to pay Euronymous a visit and killed him instead.

"I waited to see if he would attack me again, but he just went past me and tried to kick me, and then I just stabbed him in the head."

       Before meeting his end, Euronymous ran down the halls ringing his neighbors' doorbells, and the neighbors reported high-pitched screams which they believed to be a woman's. Not a very metal way to go. If you're going to go ahead and name yourself after a demon, you might want to go ahead and not die like a little titty-baby, especially when your opponent has decided to name himself after a goddamned orc. I think even the most casual Dungeons & Dragons player could tell you that a demon beats an orc. You have pretty much failed your whole species on this one, Euro.

Son, I am disappoint

       Well it turned out that the orc was actually named Varg Vikernes, and Varg was put on trial for the murder of Oystein Aarseth, which was the actual name of the demon. It turned out they were just two misguided young men, as in earthlings of Earth with no Middle- in front of it. And Varg was sentenced to 21 years, for the murder and a few of the church burnings, but he was released after 15.
       And Dead, despite his statement to the contrary, was an earthling as well. He was Per Yngve Ohlin, and he was just as human as any of us. He just didn't want to be, and on some level I understand. I'm not sure his explanation that the world was not evil enough for him was actually the truth, and I'm not suggesting that he was not evil enough for the world or something gay like that. I just think that in his twenty-two years he never got a chance to look at the world rightly, and I think that's a tragedy, because I believe that he could have.

Not so racist when it's Chad Ochocinco, are you, Varg?
       I've never believed heavy metal was scourge, in the United States or elsewhere, and after learning about Norwegian Black Metal I am even more convinced that it isn't a scourge, because it is nothing more than an allergic reaction to societal norms which can seem pretty oppressive, and often times really are. And I also don't think it's a scourge because it provides a vital catharsis to a large number of people, and yes a few people have killed themselves and others while listening to it, but it has probably saved more lives than it has taken. I seriously might not have made it through middle school without Alice in Chains, and I know that's anecdotal evidence, but I know there are plenty of other people out there who had a band like that, a band which was considered to be unsavory at the time but may have literally saved their lives. Another was Guns N' Roses. Now these bands are almost considered classic rock. I have actually heard Guns N' Roses on the classic rock station here. That's fucking crazy. But it also makes sense.

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