Kurt Loder Reviews 'Until The Light Takes Us'

FROM MTV.COM: My favorite Norwegian black-metal story, well-known by now to connoisseurs of the demented, is the one about the singer called — prophetically, as it turned out — Dead. Per Yngve Ohlin was his real-world name, and he fronted the influential black-metal band Mayhem. One day in the spring of 1991, at a house the group shared not far from Oslo, Dead blew his brains out with a shotgun. ("Excuse all the blood," his suicide note said.) His body was discovered by the band's guitarist, Euronymous, who of course realized the police would have to be called. Before doing so, though, Euronymous scurried out to buy a cheap camera, returned to the house, arranged the death scene a little more photogenically — the shotgun carefully positioned next to the corpse, with its frontal lobe still slopping out of the cranium — and snapped some pictures. He also gathered up a number of skull shards, which he later fashioned into souvenir necklaces for friends of the deceased; but that's not the good part. The good part is that one of those photos turned up a few years later as the cover art on a Mayhem bootleg called "Dawn of the Black Hearts." And that record is still in print — I just found a copy online, signed by the band's drummer ("Hellhammer," what else), retailing for $356. Dead not only lives, he gets a check.

The world is overstocked with flamboyantly wasted rock stars and heavily strapped rappers, but few of them can hold a guttering candle to the ghoul-boy nutters of Norwegian black metal. Theirs is a tale speckled with murder and church-burning rampages, perfumed with rumors of cannibalism and devil-worship, and marinated in a timeless broth of violent homo-anxiety and neo-Wagnerian nationalist mysticism (Sons of Odin, and so forth). For those to whom none of this is actually happening, it's a hoot.

Continue reading 'Until The Light Takes Us': Dead Boys, By Kurt Loder