Jonas Akerlund – Lords of Chaos (DVD Review)

Lords of Chaos starts at the very beginning, the creation of the infamous Norwegian Black Metal scene. Focussing on Mayhem and the life of Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth and all of his associates. Fans of the band would know their history, for those who don’t know, Mayhem are lauded as the originators of Norwegian Black Metal. With meagre beginnings, they gained notoriety with their extreme live performances, and also, when their original vocalist “Dead” committed suicide. Lords of Chaos obviously had to also focus on “Varg” Vikernes. The person behind the band Burzum, as well as several of the more incriminating acts of the time. The movie depicts these beginnings with some seriously graphic imagery, so viewer beware.

Showing the bands and the fans of the scene as young teens with nothing to lose while battling inner demons, navigating the rights of passage of the times in Norway and inventing the image of what ‘True Norwegian Black Metal’ was to become.

Lords of Chaos incorporates everything that made the Norwegian Black Metal scene the most infamous of its day, when it was truly terrifying to people, while also inspiring generations of musicians, bands and artists. Lords of Chaos uses an interesting contrast between fantasy and reality, showing the turmoil between presenting the image of being ‘True Black Metal’ and the reality of having friends, family and romance while trying to escape the guidelines of modern society. Lords of Chaos does its best to make you care about its characters and their struggles. The problem was the actions and words of the people involved look like boys playing at being men and hard to take seriously.

That is, of course, until the violent reality of what really happened sets in. I’m sure Lords of Chaos does this on purpose, to show us that Norwegian black metal really was all fun and games, imagery and illusion, until it went way, way, too far.

An at times depressing tale of misplaced anger and hatred, Lords of Chaos isn’t a bad film. Casual heavy fans and the uninitiated may have a hard time getting through its close to two-hour running length. But, using ‘Truth, lies and what really happened to tell its story, Lords of Chaos will be especially interesting to fans of the bands involved as well as fans of Extreme Metal in general. Well worth a look if that’s your deal.

Lords of Chaos is playing for one night only on Friday the 22nd of February in Australia and New Zealand.

Release Year: 2018
Category: DVD
Country: International

Reviewed by Jonathan Hurley