The Real Ghostface Killahs

[rating:9/10]

Mayhem_Dead_Euronymous

While soaking up my vacation in NC this past week, I decided to reread Moynihan and Soderlind’s fantastic exploration of Black Metal from Norway and beyond entitled Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground. In stark contrast to the peacefulness and serenity of my vacation, the book highlights the horrible deeds and ideas that permeated the rise of Black Metal, primary of the Norwegian brand. From Dead shooting himself with a shotgun and Euronymous using pieces of his skull on a necklace to Faust’s grizzly murder of a homosexual stranger, the pale faced Scandanavian menaces make thug life look like a day on Sesame Street.

The in-depth study reads as several different books: a history of the scene, a true crime book, and a sociological ethnography (to name a few). Rather than explain the book bit by bit, I want to highlight some of the most intriguing parts of the book, notably a few of the many earmarks I made in the book during this second go round.

One extremely interesting piece of information referred to by many of the members of the scene, theologians, and other experts interviewed in the book is that suppressing nature of the Norwegian church. Often seen as a moralistic church with little substance, the church seems to do very little to bring itself back into reality. During an interview with Jacob Jervell, a retired professor and minister in the Norwegian state church, the interviewee is asked, “What is the position of the church with regard to Satan?”

The Church dutifully trots Satan out once in awhile, but only because it has to confirm that the Church believe in him too, since he’s mentioned in the Bible. But when he’s trotted out, he’s just a harmless ghost, a ridiculous character.

This lends itself very much to the prominence of Satanism in the Black Circle and the surrounding scene. When a church neglects to show Satan as a powerful demon that can only be defeated by the power of God, it is only natural for people to want to become devil’s advocates that want to show that Satan deserves the respect the rest of the church denies him. As a Christian myself, I was always taught (and real life reinforced it, quite a bit) that Satan’s power is real and that we cannot fight it on our own. To downplay spiritual warfare is very dangerous for a church, and I think helped to create a fertile ground for the roots of “Unholy Black Metal”.

Several interesting things surround Varg Vikernes and his alter-ego Count Grishnackh. Varg is now a prominent figure in racist communities, writing his racial diatribes about defending nationalism and pureness of race from his jail cell. That, in itself, is very interesting… but his revisionism and misrepresentation is what I find most… well… humorous. One of the most nefarious is his use of Tolkien in advocating belief in Norse paganism and mythology. While Tolkien was obviously familiar with much pagan religion, including the Norse tradition, and it showed in his work, it is impossible for anyone reader Vikernes’s interview not to chuckle if they have the slightest knowledge of Tolkien, a devout Christian man. Oddly enough, Vikernes even takes the name of his alter-ego from Toliken’s writings, as Grishnackh is a leader of a race of Orcs.

When reading about Vikernes, and others like Eithun (who killed a stranger, primarily for making homosexual advances on him) and Mobus (the now notorious racist figure whom first met the law when he killed a 15 years old peer in Germany), you can’t help but think how sick these kids were. What is most disturbing is that the trend can be right in our backyard. Thomas Thorn, of the Wisconsin based band, The Electric Hellfire Club, was asked whether or not he would “advocate Norway-style church burnings in America”:

I wouldn’t condemn them, I’ll say that. I’m not going to jail because somebody says I told them to go out and burn a church. Somebody called me up and said, “You’re not going to believe this but two little kids were taken into custody in Jacksonville, Florida for spray-painting a church and they cited a band called the Electric Hellfire Club and a song called “Book of Lies” that says “There’s a church across the street / Let’s spray paint the walls.” I’ll say that brought a smile to my face and I certainly had pleasant dreams that night.

Well, I guess, at least he’s not advocating killing anyone, right? But then again, a big fan of his band named Caleb Fairley, locked up a store owned by his parents while working just before closing time one night and proceeded to murder a woman and her young daughter… and then violate their corpses. Pardon my French, but that’s FUCKED UP, right? Presumably, he did this in order to gain a more “personal relationship with Satan.” Oh, and I guess I didn’t mention that this happened in King of Prussia, PA, right down the road from the home I lived in for 3 years not too long ago.

The connections between this scene and white supremacy groups is intriguing and frightening. The bloody history of the Norwegian scene is completely insane. The story of Mobus and the rest of his band, Absurd, torturing and killing Sandro Beyer is chilling. Most of all, the lack of remorse on all counts is completely disturbing… yet I am so drawn to reading about these things.

Moynihan and Soderlind are fantastic and this book gets better with each read. I promise you, you will become engulfed in parts of this book if you give it a chance. However, if you are like me, you may want to say a little prayer each time you open the book, just for a bit of added comfort.

Footnote: Looks like there is a movie in production based on the book.

~ by thepaintedman on June 22, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Real Ghostface Killahs”

  1. […] entered through acceptance like a child, or the faith of a child, spiritual rebirth, and doing The Real Ghostface Killahs – thepaintedman.brookiellen.com 06/23/2009 thepaintedman rates this:While soaking up my […]

  2. […] have been re-reading the book, Lords of Chaos, about the rise of Black Metal in Europe, notably Scandanavia. It seems like the Norwegian Black […]

  3. […] never once thought during my readings of Lords of Chaos that any media (book, article, movie, etc.) about this music scene could be in any way dull, but […]

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