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Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground is a book by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind. The book presents itself as a non-fiction account of the early Norwegian black metal scene, with a focus on the string of church burnings and murders that occurred in the country around 1993. A film adaptation loosely based on the book and directed by documentary film director Hans Fjellestad is in pre-production.The book has been the subject of an amount of controversy over the alleged political leanings of author Michael Moynihan, though Moynihan denies these allegations.
Lords of Chaos was originally published by Feral House in 1998 (ISBN 0-922915-48-2). A second, revised edition was released in 2003 and expands the original book by fifty pages (ISBN 0-922915-94-6). A German edition was published in 2002 with a respective revised edition following in 2005 (ISBN 3-936878-00-5).
The book focuses on the scene surrounding the extreme heavy metal sub-genre black metal in Norway between 1990 and 1993. The first few chapters give an outline of the progression of heavy metal from bands such as Black Sabbath, Coven, and Black Widow to proto-black metal bands such as Bathory, Mercyful Fate, and Venom and finally to the early Norwegian black metal band Mayhem.
The book then details the April 1991 suicide of Mayhem front man Per Yngve "Dead" Ohlin and the formation of a radicalized "inner circle" around Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, based out of his small black metal retail shop Helvete (Norwegian for "hell") in Oslo, Norway.
In 1992 and 1993, members of the group became connected with a series of crimes, starting with the arson of the Fantoft stave church on June 6, 1992, although the book mentions that there had previously been a "small, ineffectual fire at Storeveit Church.". Church arsons continue but with a steady decline up until the year 1995. (The cover of Lords of Chaos shows a "19th Century Swedish church in flames").
An interview in a Norwegian Newspaper given by Burzum founder Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes, also a member of the Helvete group, leads to a media outrage condemning the arsons as acts of Satanism. On August 21, 1992 Bård "Faust" Eithun of the band Emperor murders a homosexual man in the Olympic Park in Lillehammer. He is subsequently convicted of this crime and sentenced to 14 years in prison (of which he subsequently serves nine years before being released in 2003). On August 10, 1993 Aarseth is murdered by Vikernes, who receives a 21 years sentence for the murder and several cases of arson related to the church burnings.
Interview passages with Varg Vikernes are spread out through several sections of the book. On www.burzum.org Vikernes has said, that he would not use the term Nazi any longer as self-descriptor, however, the statement is ambiguous. An interview with Vikernes about Nasjonal Samling founder Vidkun Quisling, executed in 1945 for High treason by the Norwegian government after the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, is the main source for Vikernes admiration of him, and the source for the rumor that Quisling had some influence on certain extreme strains of Norwegian black metal.
The book presents other interviews with Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, Tomas "Samoth" Haugen of Emperor and Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth. Filth claims the existence of a "Satanic Gestapo", when he recounts an incident where he was apparently attacked on stage with a knife (which he states may have been a prop) during a concert in Germany.
Satanism and the heathenism from which it ultimately descends are themselves the products of the archetypes and differentiated psyches of nations and peoples, and they therefore spring from the same “occult” or mystical sources as nationalism itself.
German online magazine Telepolis questioned Moynihan's neutrality towards the ideologies portrayed in the book, as it leaves several far-right and racist statements by interviewees such as Vikernes uncommented on and uncriticized. The author's questions during these interviews are noted to resemble "cue-giving" at times.While a reviewer for the left-oriented German newspaper Die Tageszeitung did not appreciate Moynihan earning royalties from the sales of Lords of Chaos, he still called it "the most thrilling non-fiction book since the Old Testament". Televangelist Bob Larson stated that he and Moynihan were "poles apart spiritually and philosophically", but that he respected the book as an "exhaustive resource regarding the seamy and Satanic side of pop music and culture".
However, an article on www.burzum.com that is allegedly written by Varg Vikernes evaluates the book differently. There it is said that "The book is pretty much objective.", and although this statement is followed by a criticism of some of the people that were interviewed, it is far less polemical than the one on burzum.org. Vikernes states that www.burzum.org is the official site where he speaks out and has asked burzum.com to be shut down, though they refuse to do so for the reason that they believe that Vikernes does not understand what he is asking.
Japanese director Sion Sono is set to direct a movie based on the book, with Vikernes to be played by Twilight actor Jackson Rathbone. Filming is scheduled to begin in Norway in September 2009.
Here an illustration commising for my editor about Euronymous