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Now Drink to Desolation, Drink to God's Demise

By TK Burton | Trailers | October 29, 2009 |

By TK Burton | Trailers | October 29, 2009 |

There’s been a run of great music documentaries recently, from Johnny Cash biographies to It Might Get Loud, which dealt with the bizarre collaboration of Jack White (The White Stripes), Jimmy Page (Led Zepplin) and The Edge (U2). What we have here is something completely and totally different… and pretty damn intriguing, to boot.

Here’s the trailer for Until the Light Takes Us, a documentary about the history of the genre that’s come to be known as black metal. Dealing with largely misanthropic, antisocial and usually vehemently anti-Christian themes, black metal was both a source of some pretty severe criminal allegations in the ’90s as well as an easy target for censorship groups. At the same time, some truly remarkable bands came out of the scene, so as with all things, the truth of their history lies somewhere in between. It looks like Until the Light Takes Us attempts to find some of those truths, particularly paying attention to the rash of church burnings in Norway in the early- to mid-’90s, as well as the suicide of Mayhem vocalist Per Yngve “Pelle” Ohlin (whose dead body was photographed and used as a bootleg cover), and the subsequent murder of their guitarist by a member of another band. Here’s the official synopsis:

Until the Light Takes Us is a feature length documentary chronicling the history, ideology and aesthetic of Norwegian black metal - a musical subculture infamous as much for a series of murders and church arsons as it is for its unique musical and visual aesthetics and extreme ideologies. This is the first film to shed light on a movement that has been shrouded in darkness and rumor and further obscured by inaccurate and shallow depictions. Featuring exclusive interviews and verité with the musicians, a wealth of rare, seldom seen footage from the “Black Circle’s” earliest days, Until the Light Takes Us is an intimate exploration of the controversial movement that has captured the attention of the world. The filmmakers spent a couple years in Norway getting to know the key players in the scene, and this is their story.

It’s a dark, murky history, the kind of thing that my mother probably wrung her hands over when I was younger. The reviews for the film have been remarkably positive, and given my love of bands like Behemoth and, yes, Mayhem, I’m absolutely intrigued about it.

(h/t to reader tris for the outstanding heads up on this)

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TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.