Oh, black metal, you so silly. While it’s been in the works for something absurd like ten years, the most notorious chapter of the niche extreme metal subgenre is finally set to make its big screen debut as Jonas Akerlund’s Lords of Chaos gets a release next month. Check out the trailer below.
Based on the book of the same name by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind, Lords of Chaos follows Norwegian black metal band Mayhem, who, as much as for their music, are known for suicide, murder, and church burnings perpetrated by their members. Not to mention, being racist trash people.
The book itself is notoriously problematic, inaccurate, and sensationalist in a number of ways, and I’ll be curious to see the film deals with that, if at all. What we see here looks more like a wacky buddy comedy than anything, though reviews out of the festival circuit, where Lords of Chaos debuted last year, indicate it’s a mix of that style and heavier themes, including a variety of hate crimes. So, fun?
I’ve never been a huge black metal fan, I find the corpse paint and other theatrics more goofy and juvenile than sinister or spooky, and the music is meh IMO. (Not to mention you have to wade through a metric ton of racist, homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted nonsense I’m not willing to deal with.) If nothing else, it’s a strange, sensationalist story that should make for an interesting watch—check out the documentary Until the Light Takes Us for a more non-fictionalized version of the saga. And Jonas Akerlund seems like the perfect filmmaker to bring this back to life. Norwegian by birth, he played drums in the black metal band Bathory and was part of this scene when it all went down, so he has a perspective not many others do.
Lords of Chaos stars Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, Anthony De La Torre, and more, and features characters with names like Euronymous, Varg (a virulent bigot hilariously played by a Jewish actor, which is some next-level trolling), Dead, Hellhammer, and Necrobutcher. Don’t they sound like a hoot?
Gunpowder & Sky will release Lords of Chaos in North America on February 8.