Leaving nothing unadulterated and always draining its subjects, whether drop by drop or in a quick Halal style slaughter, Hollywood has its grip once again on the ever pervasive world of Black Metal. Teasing turns tortuous as the third attempt of bringing the blood drenched history of the early years of Norwegian Black Metal to the silver screen. The first failure to bring this to life was with Hans Fjellestad gearing up to make a feature length cinematic masterpiece in 2006. Then in 2009, Japanese director Sion Sono was set to direct a movie based on the book written by Michael Moynihan, which never came to fruition. Barring the negativity from the still living members of the associated bands of that period, Hollywood pushed on recently insisting they had some right in the exposure and further exploitation of the genre to which they have little to no connection to. Not giving any say or asking permission from the surviving members and cohorts of the historic period, the coming dramatization in all its shiny bio-pic form looms on the horizon.
Just this week, Metallica dropped a new video toted by the press as a supposed "Tribute to Mayhem". In the promotion buzz of their new LP, they have given each song off their new offering to an array of different directors. Spread out over this week, they have delivered their new clips which I will not comment on as a whole, since personally I find the new material lackluster at best. With the lastest vid, "ManUNkind", even they appear to be caught up in the greed stream of milking the spirit of Black Metal for all its "worth". Although we have no idea how close Metallica was to the production of each individual video which serve to represent their new work through varied perspectives, one thing is clear, putting a song of theirs in the hands of the next director of "Lords of Chaos" Åkerlund´s - the entire thing ended up as an artistically cheap foray which is now serving as a unofficial trailer for the mess which persists on being.
Granted, Åkerlund has some ghostly connections to Black Metal as he served in Sweden´s Bathory for one year back in the eighties. He has since gone on to work with the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Mainstream media using him for his darker currents, he seals the pact by using them for his career and paycheck . As we can plainly see, one year served drumming for Quorthon decades ago doesn´t necessarily bring any edge nor knowing hand in the presentation of the morbid material which he has now set himself to direct. This clip contains all the off putting posing many of the founders of Norwegian Black Metal have warned against when being asked about how they feel towards the release of a Hollywood dramatization of the events in question.
"This book Lords of Chaos is fucking crap and that some stupid Swedes are gonna make a movie out of it is not OK," Necrobutcher, original Bassist of Mayhem tells Rolling Stone. "I will do everything I can to stop this film…. Tell the Swedes and the Hollywood people to go fuck themselves."
I can only imagine how disgusting it must feel to have your own life portrayed against your permission, especially by a Swede with links to Hollywood backing, courtesy of Ridley Scott. Vice magazine, being the root of many underground cultures exploitation is also doing their part in backing the film, no surprise as the rather debated "definitive" book on Black Metal is authored by one of their chairman, that being Moynihan himself. All is now in place for the film to rear its burgeoning head, taking shape in what appears to be a crooked look down the barrel of defeat. The roster of B-list Hollywood personalities remains reminiscent of the film´s second attempt casting "Twilight" actor Jackson Rathbone with a rather futile idea of placing an unlikely bonus female into the mix played by Sky Ferreira.
Having worked and hung out in Berlin with one of the original Norwegian Black Metal personalities who is known for his publications as SLAYER magazine, Jon Kristiansen, I have read his own distaste at this portrayal in the past couple of months on Facebook. Imagine being contacted by an actor who is supposed to play you as a youth in a film you are basically totally against being produced. Nice enough that the actor sought him out on his own accord to introduce himself, however I still have a hard time getting my head around the entire concept. How can you produce a docudrama on a scene involving crimes when many of the surviving and still active members are 100% against the idea? How on Earth can it even be feasible to present a shiny fictionalized account of events which persist to make their voice known through real channels of touring bands? Below is a photo of Jon, a cover of Slayer mag, and the actor who is set to play him, Sam Coleman who can be spotted in Metallica´s new clip as the kid with videocamera....
Without rehashing the events which have been taken on almost mythological proportions, as I would assume you have some inkling as to what transpired back in the early 90s, I would like to point my attention to the mechanism which suffices to bastardize and commoditize the roots of what has given birth to countless bands, still standing strong today. As necrophiliacs in Hollywood chew on the remnants of what serves as a traditional tale, a grim coming of age, many artists go on to bring their best and darkest they can to their works - as they have been for decades. The sorry truth that a film based around some church burnings, a depressive suicide and the following famous murder which was already sloppily and disingenuously written and published by outsiders to the whole scene, burns on many fans and demon´s conscious. Not one to theorize what may or may not happen when this hits the 1st world tween´s slumberparties, I just wait and watch the reactions of others, in this instance to the new Metallica video which features the cast of the upcoming "film". Back in 2009, I made some rather amusing "boycott" Lord of Chaos cut-ups, also pointing out they would have no film without a female lead... Well look at that... they have one ! Where she fits in remains an absolute mystery.
In the end, we still will not know if this bio-pic can make its way from being a Hollywood scouted lip sync video for a new Metallica video to taking form as an actual finished film. It is still early days and a few failed attempts have hit the bucket so to speak. From a larger perspective, the commercialization of Black Metal can serve Hollywood in several ways, each of them just as sickening and insidious as the next. The present state of calling for watered down intent in a sea of political correctness already has made a mark on Black Metal in the past couple of years, I fear for the impact the feature length will have as a gross fictionalization of what still exists - active as ever. I have seen a few "boycott" images floating around the web pertaining to this debacle. Make of it what you will, but be aware that the true story lives fueled by death to this day.
On that note.... Here is an album which will stand the test of time,