Prepare for Mayhem in the black metal biographical drama Lords of Chaos

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Prepare for Mayhem in the black metal biographical drama Lords of Chaos 3

They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and if anything I’ve seen or read in the last little while, they’re one hundred percent right. It’s also cool to be metal, but maybe not this metal.

Lords of Chaos is an upcoming biographical drama with some thriller and horror elements to boot. It’s a very unusual combination to be sure, but when the subject is the notorious and aptly-named Norwegian black metal band Mayhem it’s rather appropriate.

Formed in 1984, the band is credited as one of the founders of the Norwegian black metal music scene, and was dogged by controversy for many years for their bizarre and bloody on-stage performances, and a string of crimes including church burnings and other violent acts that has links to them. When the band’s vocalist at the time, Per Yngve Ohlin – known by the stage name of Dead, committed suicide in 1991, his body was discovered by the band’s founder Øystein Aarseth (known as Euronymous), who proceeded to stage the scene and take photos before contacting the police. He also purportedly made necklaces that included parts of Dead’s skull and gave them to other musicians.

Euronymous was murdered in 1993 by Varg Vikernes, founder of another Norwegian black metal band, Burzum. Vikernes was sentenced to twenty one years in prison for the murder and his involvement in arson attacks on churches. You’d think that would be enough to bury the band, but they’re still actively touring and their fifth album, Esoteric Warfare, was released in 2014. What?

It’s directed by Jonas Åkerlund, a former drummer for Swedish metal band Bathory (under the name Vans McBurger), and he also co-wrote the script with Dennis Magnusson that drew its inspiration from the 1998 (and later revised in 2003) non-fiction book ‘Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground’ by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind.

The official plot synopsis is as follows:

A teenager’s quest to launch Norwegian Black Metal in Oslo in the 1980s results in a very violent outcome. Lords of Chaos tells the true story of True Norwegian Black Metal and its most notorious practitioners – a group of young men with a flair for publicity, church-burning and murder: MAYHEM.

Let’s take a look:

This looks like a serious trip down the rabbit hole, and I’m struggling to find something better than “WTF!” to describe what I just watched. The story sounds fascinating, the acting looks good, and there’s some excellent direction on display in the handling of the subject matter – and particularly with all the tonal shifts from humour, to drama, to “damn that’s really dark and well, it’s fucked up”.

What do you think?

Lords of Chaos is due for release in the US on 8 February. It stars Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, and Valter Skarsgård.

Prepare for Mayhem in the black metal biographical drama Lords of Chaos 4

Last Updated: January 23, 2019

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