“Lords Of Chaos”
“Lords Of Chaos”
Michael Moynihan & Didrik Soderlind (Feral House)
“*****! The most incredible story in the history of music . . . (a) heavyweight book” – Kerrang!
Originally published back in 1998, “Lords Of Chaos” returned once again in 2003 as a “New Edition”! A copy mysteriously arrived by post at the tMx Bunker in early December - sans press release! It was posted in the US – that much is certain – but apart from that we have no idea why it turned up for review so long after it’s last publication date. Subtitled, “The Bloody Rise Of The Satanic Metal Underground”, this 404-page volume masquerades as a MUSIC/OCCULT/TRUE CRIME title purporting to chart the rise of Black Metal from its nefarious inception to its Church immolating heights - but in reality, is nothing less than a recruitment handbook for those interested in joining the Nazi-Odinist Fourth Reich!
We begin our tale of demonic destruction & decay with an evaluation of the role of Satan in populist culture: stand up Sir Francis Dashwood (Hellfire Club), Robert Johnson (Devil/crossroads/pact), Aleister Crowley (“Do What Thou Whilst Shall Be The Whole Of The Law”) & Anton LaVey (Church Of Satan), who in turn influenced musicians such as Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Black Sabbath, Black Widow & Coven (whaddya mean, who?). So far - so childish?
Well, that depends on your belief structure, I guess. To a middle class Scandinavian teenager full of establishment-baiting angst, alcohol & a ‘little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing’ style appreciation of Asartu, constantly challenging the ‘ruling Christian elite’ must have seemed like bloody good fun at the time (intellect notwithstanding). To any committed atheist worth their salt, however, Satan isn’t really an issue.
All this malarkey brings us squarely to the ‘Godfathers’ of Norwegian Black Metal, the Triumvirate Of Evil (my terminology): Venom, Mercyful Fate & Bathory:
Venom, formed in Newcastle at the death of the 70s, spearheaded what would eventually become known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, alongside Def Leppard, Diamond Head & Saxon (amongst others). Forging early Sabbath & vintage Purple to the power & disgust of the Sex Pistols, Venom’s antecedence – although lauded here by the authors – is dismissed elsewhere as ‘insignificant’ by Varg Vikernes (Burzum). One thing cannot be disputed, however: Venom coined the very term Black Metal!
Mercyful Fate, formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1980, & were led by mildly eccentric front-man, King Diamond, a self-confessed Satanist & member of the Church Of Satan to boot, who raised eyebrows as well as the pitch of his vocals over the course of a debut mini-LP & 2-further full-length offerings before Mercyful Fate dissolved in acrimony in 1985.
Our ‘Unholy Trinity’ (authors’ terminology) is completed by Bathory, formed in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1983, & named in homage to Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the infamous Slovakian serial killer (1560-1614) - with a possible secondary nod to Venom’s “Countess Bathory”, from their “Black Metal” LP. Bathory proved to be hugely influential on what was to follow a decade later with their resolutely lo-fi sound, Satanic lyrics, Dalek-from-Hell vocal technique & nifty line in Viking broadswords/threads.
Precursors established, the authors trace the subsequent development of the global underground Metal community, examining Thrash, & later Death Metal, as the genre/sub-genres continued to mutate throughout the 80s, eventually arriving at the birth of Black Metal & the formation of its two major players: Mayhem & Burzum.
The characters behind each group – namely Oystein Aarseth (aka Euronymus) of Mayhem - & Varg (nee Kristian – ho ho ho!) Vikernes of Burzum (aka Count Grishnackh) – were always uneasy bedfellows. Aarseth - a respected, veteran musician on the Thrash & Death Metal scenes - & a former member of Red Ungdom, a Marxist/Leninst Communist Workers party with a Pol Pot Jones – played the role of ‘catalyst’ to Vikernes’ ‘enemy within’. Many experts on the birth of Black Metal cite Aarseth as the true originator of the scene (& in this respect, the author’s insistence on Vikernes importance really does get the whole shebang arse-about-tit) – a man capable of bringing the darkest evil out of his associates through domination & manipulation. It was, let’s not forget, Aarseth’s Olso record shop, Helvette, that became the focal point of the evolving Black Metal scene – along with his Deathlike Silence Productions record label that became home to Mayhem, Burzum, Abruptum, Sigh, Merciless & Enslaved.
With the nascent scene floundering somewhat, & interest/business at Helvette in need of a boost, Aarseth allegedly pressurised Vikernes into conducting an interview with a mainstream journalist excited by the dubious practices & implied threat of the ‘Black Metal Circle’. The interview was duly conducted, & Vikernes camped it up to the max with exaggerations & fantasies to the fore. The journalist, genuinely concerned by what he heard, informed the Norwegian Police of this cult of Satan-worshiping-head-bangers & Vikernes was subsequently arrested & held in detention for 8-weeks. This, & Vikernes later allegation that he himself had lent Aarseth the money to found Deathlike Silence but has not been reimbursed, are seen as the beginning-of-the-end for both men by many insiders within the scene. Ironically, once the attention had been drawn to Helvette & the crowds did actually begin to flood into Oslo in search of Black Metal sedition, Aarseth chose to close the shop on the advice of his parents – an irony heavily milked by those opposed to Euronymous & his implied ‘control-freakery’.
Musically, as we have already established, Black Metal was the bastard child of Thrash & Death Metal. In this respect, Mayhem’s sound was as derivative of both genres as Burzum’s was unique. Burzum, perhaps because they were the twisted vision of one man, Vikernes, created a sound as unique & desolate as its misguided creator himself. Vikernes, a student of JRR Tolkien, an RPG obsessive & a career racist, was raised by his equally racist mother, Lene Bore, who blatantly indoctrinated her son from a very early age (not that that excuses him in any way). Whether as a youthful skinhead in his mid-teens – or a career Satanist in his early 20s – Vikernes was always more concerned with the re-establishment of ancient Odinist traditions, their application in establishing his dream of a United Aryan North European enclave & the expulsion on anyone not in possession of a pair of blue eyes & radiant blonde hair, than taking on the forces of US-sanctioned piss-poor-Metal. However steeped in ancient Magick the original aesthetic behind Burzum may have been, its subsequent association with National Socialism/Nazi-Odinism & the forces of the far-right can hardy be viewed as a surprise.
Sonically speaking, the sound Burzum forged was as unique to Black Metal as the Sex Pistols were to Punk Rock – another youth movement not averse to flirting with fascist imagery (hello Joy Division/New Order – the worst offenders by far – & to this day, still not averse to leaning inadvertently to the right! Eh, Barney? Eh, Hookey?). Between 1991 & 1993, Vikernes recorded several LPs worth of material that the Count himself retrospectively refers to as ‘the golden period of Burzum’. Astride a musical chariot more Killing Joke than Megadeth: mid-paced, gothic & riddled with dubious Pagan symbolism - Vikernes’ guitar sound owes as much to Geordie as it does to Dave Mustaine! The keyboard flourishes & splashes of ambience also recall Jaz Coleman at his most eclectic. In many ways Burzum’s music does indeed convey a sense of Magick – which only further complicates the conundrum: how does one separate the art from the ideology?
Meanwhile, back at the plot, we witness the death of Dead, vocalist for Mayhem, who blew his own brains out in 1992, upping the ante somewhat for those he left behind. Aarseth himself discovered the body, &, rather tellingly, photographed the corpse for possible use in future Mayhem promotional material before calling the emergency services. Live by the sword, die by the sword?
Dead’s death was seen as a ramping up of the war against fakers, as far as the members of the so-called Black Metal Circle were concerned. It would appear that ‘actions’ – up until this stage in the story, usually restricted to the desecration or vandalism of graveyards/stones – took a turn for the sinister with the arson attack on Fantoft Stave Church in June 1992, which left the building in ruins and inspired the series of church burnings, violence & murder that Black Metal has become synonymous with ever since: Belfagor (Nefandus) beat up a black man in an action he himself described as a ‘niggerhunt’, Faust (Emperor) battered a homosexual to death who he claimed had come onto him as he was innocently strolling though a public park, Jon Nodveidt (Dissection) cut up an Algerian economic migrant & members of the self-confessed Nazis & students of Vikernes’ ideology, Absurd, slaughtered a male hanger-on who began to get on their nerves.
Vikernes campaign of association boasted of his implicit involvement in the organisation behind much of this sedition without actually admitting his role directly. A very dangerous game, & one that was soon taken to its logical conclusion by British Metal teen-mag, Kerrang! “Arson, Death, Satanic Ritual – The Ugly Truth About Black Metal” - screamed the strap-line – below which Jason Arnop sensationalised dramatically.
The stakes were raised on the night of the 10th August 1993 when the Count murdered Euroymous in the stairwell of the Prince Of Darkenss’ Oslo apartment. In his defence, Vikernes has cited self-defence, the fact that Euronymous was actively plotting to kill him (advanced self-defence?), homophobia (Vikerenes insists that Euronymous was gay), racism (Euroymous was allegedly of Lappish/Sami descent), financial revenge (as mentioned above) - & most deffinitely not as part of some power struggle within the Black Circle. Either way, Vikerenes was sentenced to Norway’s maximum jail term of 21-years for the murder. A few smouldering churches & the small matter of the possession of a bunch of explosives with intent to blow up an Anarchist squat were also taken into consideration (oops, almost forgot, Euronymous was going to grass him up for that too! Yet another justification for murder!). Ostracised by his former compadres in the Black Circle, friendless & with no one to talk to, so to speak, Vikerenes wasted no time expanding & refining his Nazi-Odinism, his story (history?) & his ever-growing list of excuses. Vikerenes mother, by the way, was later arrested in 1997 herself for donating close to $20,000 to a Neo-Nazi clique plotting to free her son.
With Vikernes rotting in jail, the authors turn their attention to examining the fallout (according to them, anti-Judeo-Christian hordes are, as I type, massing across both Europe & the Americas united under the banner of Black Metal, just waiting for their signal to rise, so to speak) ramping up the association between Black Metal & Nazi-Odinsim & generally employing graphics beyond the pale of illustration, complete with contacts just in case any impressionable readers are looking to enrol on a course of physical & mental improvement at – for example - Aryan Living of Reading: 60, Elmhurst Rd, Reading, RG1 5HY. I shittest thou not. You can enjoy residential courses in:
There are also plenty of swastikas - & advice on cleaning with fire - as opposed to traditional substances, such as Mr Muscle! Alarmingly, the final third of Lords Of Chaos is exclusively dedicated to the authors’ case for Vikerenes role as the Charles Manson of the Nazi-Odinist Forth Reich, so to speak.
Didrik Soderlind is a veteran of the Norwegian music press who currently writes for Playboy Magazine. He presumably distances himself from any ethical concerns with regard to the sub-plot(s) behind Lords Of Chaos by his association with the International Humanist & Ethical Union: HYPERLINK "http://www.iheu.org" http://www.iheu.org
Michael Moynihan – aka Michael Jenkins, aka Michael Moynihan Jenkins aka Michael Jenkins Moynihan – on the other hand (the right one, methinks!), is a one-time member of the occultist-fascist think tank, Abraxas (he later formed his own wing of this organisation, which he dubbed Axis Sanguinaries). His blood fetish has allegedly led him to partake in the odd quaffing of a drop of the old red wine of life (non-AIDS infected, obviously), from time to time – when he’s not making industrial sound collages or warping cultural fascism to his own ends, that is. A long-standing mate of Abraxas founder, Boyd Rice, he formed his own industrial music vehicle, Coup De Grace, in 1984. Both Rice & Moynihan were once big mates of Genesis P Orridge of Throbbing Gristle - & later, Psychic TV (a new improved (?) version of Crowley’s Ordo Templis Orientis).
Another of Moynihan’s big mates is Adam Parfrey, owner of LA based Amok Press who now owns Feral Press, publishers of Lords Of Chaos & distributor of Burzum’s “Filosofem’ LP (1996) – recorded whilst Vikerenes was out on bail (although he never got to hear the finished mix himself, bless!). Parfrey also fronted the NYC based fascism-obseSSed Exit, a graphic design journal that has published drawings by Mark Chapman, Richard ‘Night Stalker’ Ramirez, Charlie Manson & John Wayne Gacy – along with contributions from Michael Moynihan & James Mason, the prominent US Nazi & author of Siege. Perhaps one of Parfrey’s most telling actions was the publication of Amok Press’ first title: Michael - an English translation of Joseph Goebels’ debut novel!
Moynihan is also heavily connected to the Church Of Satan, & interviewed Anton LaVey in 1994 for his own essay, The Faustian Spirit Of Fascism. This in turn links him to David Lane, Odinist leader of the far-right paramilitary unit, the Order, currently serving a life-stretch for plotting to murder Denver radio jock, Alan Berg - & George Hawthorne, head honcho for RaHoWa (Racial Holy War) - & founder of Resistance Records. I could go on - & on - & on – but at the risk of being pedantic . . .
Moynihan remains to this day continually active in the propaganda war being fought on Vikernes’ behalf. With his imminent release from prison set for sometime in 2008, Moynihan must surely be hoping – nee banking - that Vikerenes will repay the ‘favour’ & go into mainstream politics along with the ever-increasing number of European candidates scoring seats on the back of blatantly racist tickets (securing funding for their campaigns from the EU along the way). I’d advise him not to look at Vikerenes’ Burzum website, however – as Vikernes would appear to be onto him & is already planning to disappear into the Norwegian forests with his blue-eyed woman under one arm, his collection of Nazi memorabilia under the other & a sub-machine gun strapped across his back!
Despite it’s pretension to be a book about MUSIC/OCCULT/TRUE CRIME – Lords Of Chaos is in fact a thinly veiled lifestyle guide for budding young Nazis – whether Odinist, or not. As any UK TV viewer glued to the latest series of Big Brother will attest: Racism is alive & well just below the surface of everyday life. Some will continue to describe it as tribalism till the day they are denied entry into Valhala, the rest of us cannot drop our guard for a second. As far as the architects of doom are concerned, by any means necessary: They will destroy our world. What spins it round will bring it down in the end. As the distant sound of jackboot on tarmac grows ever louder, you have to ask yourself one question: Which Side Are You On?
For anyone left in any doubt – here’s a recent shot of Varg relaxing in prison! Hail? Or Heil?
Johnny Truant tMx 28 01/07
Or why not: www.lovemusichateracism.com
And also: www.searchlightmagazine.com
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