Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Until The Light Takes Us" (2008) d/ Aaron Aites, Audrey Ewell

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Music is a funny thing. Sometimes it makes us dance like spastic jagoffs to impress some random melon-heavy cooze, who's been sucking on an appletini over in the corner. Sometimes we just ride the vibe and groove, bobbing our heads to the rhythm like so many pigeons in Washington Square Park, while sometimes it drives us to more extreme actions, as one quickly learns while watching tonight's review, a documentary overview of the Norwegian Black Metal scene and the characters that inhabit this cold, dark place shrouded in Norse mythology, nail-spiked wristbands, and corpse paint.

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At some point in time during his incarceration, Count Grishnackh apparently became Alan Ormsby.
For Varg Vikernes, aka/ Count Grishnackh, who founded one man black metal act, Burzum, and was later sentenced to twenty-one years in prison for various church arsons and the stabbing death of Mayhem frontman Euronymous (he maintains that the murder was in self defense after tensions escalated between the two), the signature foul, heavy doom-filled sound was/is a call for Norway to return to it's Pagan roots,  a counter strike against the smothering blanket of advancing Christianity, a Roman tool of control against the people of Europe. Fenriz of black metal pioneers, Dark Throne, on the other hand, seems more concerned with music and style than politics, as we see him reminisce about the good old days at Helvete, Oslo's one-time premier one stop shop for all things heavy and metal. We also revisit the life and death of the aptly-named Dead, former Mayhem guitarist and all-around depressed guy who took a shotgun and blew his brains out one day, leading the startled members of the band who discovered his body to grab for the nearest camera, never missing a brutal album cover opportunity...

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"A nice Hors d'oeuvre tray would have made this exhibit a thousand times more broooooootal!", notes Fenriz of Dark Throne.
We also see director Harmony Korine who professes his love for the dark musical style, before tap dancing around in corpse paint and a wig himself. A multimedia artist has a black metal-themed gallery opening that leaves Fenriz puzzled, later hooking up with Frost of Satyricon, who's very comfortable destroying the artist's work live on stage by breathing fire upon it, shocking a Milanese audience by tearing into his own forearms and neck with a hulking dagger and collapsing on a couch as the knock 'em dead finale. Most of the genre pioneers express the same disdain for the recent commercialization the style has undergone, sensationalized by the media to appeal to cartoonish Satanists who experience difficulty discerning the look, and thus, misinterpret the message, which has precious little to do with the Devil, if one is to believe the musicians behind the fascinating scene.

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"I love the smell of burning churches in the morning...", quips Varg Vikernes, of Burzum.
Personally, I listen to a little bit of everything these days, and occasionally I'll throw some Bethlehem into a heavy playlist, and I've even got a Burzum t-shirt in my closet, but I have to confess: though I've gotten laid in a church in the past (I confess, but I'll never apologize), I've never felt the urge to burn one to the ground for any reason. Just too much aesthetically-pleasurable architecture in a grand old church, even if the religion behind it doesn't do much for me, except in a kinky roleplay capacity with a busty brunette in a habit and lace garters n' stockings, maybe? I dunno. Thwack the ol' hangbag with a wooden ruler? Okay, before I get too sidetracked, you'd do well to see this documentary, even if your ears don't take to the music, it's still an engrossing look at an odd, shadowy culture and scene that you might not encounter elsewhere. On the scale, a perfect four Wops and my highest recommendation. See it.

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Frost of Satyricon v sacrificial dagger live on stage in Italy. Spoiler: Frost lost (blood).
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