Three years before that, their singer Pelle Ohlin, also known as Dead, killed himself. Understandably, Eriksen has moved on. Norwegian black metal, though, is inseparable from its history. It is bruising and brutal — when it screened at the London film festival last November, a man vomited, a woman fainted and an ambulance was summoned.
Members of legendary Norwegian black metal band Mayhem look back at their bloody, convoluted past. So it has been my personal path to understand and embrace the darkness. And it set the tone for musical extremism for a generation, inspiring legions of disaffected headbangers to dress in black and hail Satan literally. But for all its importance and mythos, the group was never able to tour behind it. The murder effectively ended the group. That, combined with coverage surrounding a spate of church burnings in Norway, carried out by black-metal bands, and an unrelated murder, established black metal as the most dangerous musical genre since gangsta rap. Hellhammer remembers having his money stolen and nights without a place to sleep. Regardless, the tour gave the group a chance to test-drive some of its new material.
Louis Pattison meets the author. But in , Mayhem are an ongoing concern. Mayhem used to be public enemy number one in Norway. When did things change? It was like people started to be proud of us, that Mayhem had done so well over the years. As I said at the time, the band that restarted in , we had nothing to do with those things.
Founding fathers of the Norwegian black metal scene, Mayhem emerged in the mid-'80s and went on to influence countless bands with their uncompromisingly abrasive music and sordid history. The group courted controversy from their inception with their blood-soaked live performances, occult imagery, and ghoulish corpse paint. Though the band continued to perform and record well into the next century -- they issued their sixth LP, Daemon , in -- they remain infamous for their non-musical history and their debut, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas , which is considered a classic of the genre. Manheim and Maniac left the fold the following year and were replaced by drummer Hellhammer Jan Axel Blomberg and vocalist Dead Per Yngve Ohlin , the latter of whom became notorious for his commitment to his chosen moniker: depressed and introverted, Dead was known to hoard deceased animals, bury his clothes in the ground the night before a show, and cut himself extensively on-stage. The band moved to a house in Oslo in to begin working on material for their first full-length effort. During this time, Euronymous opened his own record store, Helvete, which served as a hub for the burgeoning Norwegian black metal scene.