The history of black metal in Norway is a very interesting study, it was possibly the most violent out of all the heavy metal scenes of the 90’s and crossed the line from imagery to actual actions. The scene was relatively small consisting of only a few major bands and met regularly at a local record shop. In the early 1990’s with the rise of this scene which was in lyrics and appearance extremely anti-christian, there was a wave of church burnings and violence against members of the black metal community between 1992 and 1996. Eventually ending with the murder of the lead singer of the band Mayhem and the conviction of Varg Vickernes of the band Burzum for arson, murder, destruction of property, assault and a few other crimes, as well as other band members within the community guilty of the aforementioned violence between.
The goal of this project is to try to understand the motivation of the church burnings and why these bands had such a strong hate for christianity. The metal scene in general had always had a connection with the occult and anti-christian and satanic imagery, however with this particular offshoot the violence came to life. Many bands talked about these type of acts but never followed through. The black metal scene of Norway was different and actually committed these acts in part because of an ideology of religious and cultural purity identity that they felt called for extreme action seen as retaliation for perceived attacks on their culture They also took these extreme actions for publicity purposes in an interview with a member of mayhem, in the documentary Until the Light Takes Us, the band member talks about how when they first started they already garnered a following without even putting out a record 1. This indicates a desire for notoriety, the most relevant reason this happened within this scene however, is due to the small cult like nature of the scene, which was selective of who was included and the members being the most involved displaying sociopathic tendencies and a disgust for modern society as a whole.
- Aaron Aites, and Audrey Ewell. Until the Light Takes Us. Documentary, 2009. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFfB3QXVHRE&app=desktop. ↩