Escalation of Evil

Lords Of Chaos

Thriller, Filmcasino Wien, Austria 20190223


Former Bathory drummer Jonas Åkerlund mostly is known for his impressive music videos. “Smack My Bitch Up” or “Turn The Page” are just two examples of his countless successes. But also especially his first movie “Spun” gained benevolently critics. With his thriller “Horseman” he could win Dennis Quaid as main actor, “Small Apartments” is an outstanding comedy and on Netflix recently “Polar” premiered. But if he did himself a favour with this one is questionable.

The story of the early Norwegian Black Metal and the bands Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor and Darkthrone is widely known not only in the scene itself. A singer that shot himself and his band colleagues use a picture of his corpse as a cover and pieces of his skull as necklaces. A series of curch burnings and the killing of a gay man. Plus the summit of the power struggle of two protagonists ending in the brutal stabbing of Euronymous, who was founder of Mayhem and is the main character in Lords Of Chaos.

Slam Alternative Music Magazine presents the movie at the Filmcasino. That it was produced at Vice Studios let the first ones in the audience murmur. During scenes like the brutal suicide of Dead people even leave the room. Jack Kilmer does a great job as do Rory Culkin as Euronymous and Emory Cohen as Varg Vikernes. Their characters appear convincing, and Åkerlund manages that the actions act conclusively.

The start of the band and their way of living are told quickly in the beginning. But the longer the story goes on, the more the music itself gets the minor matter. Key locations are the cottage where Mayhem lived and the record store Helvete (nowadays Neseblod Records). Apart from all the violence, the script leaves space for some jokes, e.g. about Death Metal. For actions like the lighting of a cigarette Åkerlund uses his typical fast editing, but for the crimes he takes his time.

And so the film ends with Varg, who is no longer the shy boy from the beginning, brutally stabbing Euronymous. His off-voice that leads through the movie relativizes his own death by saying he created Black Metal and Mayhem. Lords Of Chaos is no documentary even though Åkerlund used some nice archive material, but a great entertainment film “based on truth, lies and what actually happened”.