World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Early Norwegian black metal scene


Early Norwegian black metal scene

The early Norwegian black metal scene was a black metal music scene and subculture in Norway during the early 1990s. It is credited with creating the modern black metal genre and produced some of the most highly acclaimed and influential artists in extreme metal.

The scene attracted massive media attention when it was revealed that its members had been responsible for two murders and a wave of church burnings in Norway. The scene had an ideology and ethos and was likened to a cult, with the core members referring to themselves as "The Black Circle" or "Black Metal Inner Circle". It consisted primarily of young men, many of whom gathered at the record shop Helvete ("Hell") in Oslo. In interviews, they voiced extreme anti-Christian and misanthropic views, presenting themselves as genuine Satanists who wanted to spread terror, hatred and evil. They adopted pseudonyms and appeared in photographs wearing 'corpse paint' and wielding medieval weaponry. The scene was exclusive and created boundaries around itself, incorporating only those it deemed to be "true" or committed. Musical integrity was highly important and artists wanted black metal to remain underground and uncorrupted.

In August 1993, several of its members were arrested and in May 1994 were convicted variously for arson, murder, assault and possession of explosives. Most showed no remorse for their actions. The Norwegian media covered events closely, but the reporting of the scene was often sensationalist. For example, one Norwegian TV channel interviewed a woman who claimed Satanists had sacrificed her child and killed her dog.[1] The early Norwegian black metal scene has since been the subject of books and documentaries.


  • Musical innovations 1
  • Dead's suicide 2
  • Helvete and the 'Black Circle' 3
    • Ideology 3.1
  • Church arsons and attempted arsons 4
  • Murder of Magne Andreassen 5
  • 6 Bergens Tidende article
  • Murder of Euronymous 7
  • Conflict with other music scenes 8
  • List of artists 9
  • List of music releases 10
  • Documentaries 11
  • References 12
  • Bibliography 13
  • External links 14

Musical innovations

Norwegian black metal singer Gaahl wearing corpsepaint

During the 1980s, black metal was a loose grouping of a handful of metal bands who shared Satanic lyrics, although most of the "first wave" bands referred to Satanism only for shock value.[2] During 1990–1992, a number of Norwegian artists, who were strongly influenced by those bands, began performing and releasing a new kind of black metal music. The surge of interest and popularity that followed is often referred to as the "second wave of black metal". The Norwegian bands developed the style of their 1980s forebears as a distinct genre of heavy metal music. This was partly thanks to a new style of guitar playing developed by Snorre 'Blackthorn' Ruch of Stigma Diabolicum/Thorns and Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth of Mayhem, in which guitarists played full chords using all the strings of the guitar in place of power chords using only two or three strings.[3][4] Gylve 'Fenriz' Nagell of Darkthrone has credited them with this innovation in a number of interviews. He described it as being "derived from Bathory"[5] and noted that "those kinds of riffs became the new order for a lot of bands in the '90s".[6]

Visually, the dark themes of their music was complemented with corpsepaint, which became a way for black metal artists to distinguish themselves from other metal bands of the time.[7]

Dead's suicide

On 8 April 1991, Mayhem vocalist Per Yngve Ohlin (who called himself 'Dead') committed suicide while alone in a house shared by the band.[8][9] Fellow musicians described Dead as odd, introverted and depressed. Before going onstage he went to great lengths to make himself look like a corpse and would cut his arms while singing.[3][10]

Dead was found by Mayhem guitarist Euronymous. He was found with his wrists and throat slit and a shotgun wound to the head. Before calling the police, he went to a shop and bought a disposable camera with which he photographed the body, after re-arranging some items.[5][8][11] One of these photographs was later used as the cover of a bootleg live album: Dawn of the Black Hearts. Necrobutcher recalls how Euronymous told him of the suicide:

Øystein called me up the next day ... and says, "Dead has done something really cool! He killed himself". I thought, have you lost it? What do you mean cool? He says, "Relax, I have photos of everything". I was in shock and grief. He was just thinking how to exploit it. So I told him, "OK. Don't even fucking call me before you destroy those pictures".[3]

Euronymous used Dead's suicide to foster Mayhem's 'evil' image and claimed Dead had killed himself because black metal had become 'trendy' and commercialized.[12] In time, rumors spread that Euronymous had made a stew with bits of Dead's brain and had made necklaces with bits of his skull.[7] The band later denied the former rumor, but confirmed that the latter was true.[7][13] Moreover, Euronymous claimed to have given these necklaces to musicians he deemed worthy,[14] which was confirmed by several other members of the scene, like Bård 'Faust' Eithun[15] and Metalion.[16]

Necrobutcher later speculated that taking the photographs and forcing others to see them was a way for Euronymous to cope with the shock of seeing his friend dead.[3][8] He claimed that Euronymous "went into a fantasy world".[8] Mayhem bassist Jørn 'Necrobutcher' Stubberud noted that "people became more aware of the [black metal] scene after Dead had shot himself ... I think it was Dead's suicide that really changed the scene".[17] Faust of Emperor believes that Dead's suicide "marked the point at which, under Euronymous's direction, the black metal scene began its obsession with all things satanic and evil".[3] Kjetil Manheim said that, after the suicide, Euronymous "tried to be as extreme as he had talked about".[8] The suicide caused a rift between Euronymous and some of his friends, who were disgusted by his attitude towards Dead before the suicide, and his behavior afterwards. Necrobutcher ended his friendship with Euronymous.[8] Thus, after the suicide, Mayhem was left with only two members: guitarist Euronymous and drummer Hellhammer. Stian 'Occultus' Johannsen was recruited as Mayhem's new singer and bassist. However, this was short-lived; he left the band after receiving a death threat from Euronymous.[9]

Two other members of the scene would later commit suicide:

  • "In the Face of Death" - article about the early Norwegian black metal scene, focusing on Mayhem (2005)

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Grude, Torstein (director) (1998). Satan rir Media (motion picture). Norway: Grude, Torstein. 
  2. ^ Moynihan, Michael; Søderlind, Didrik (2003) [1998].  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Campion, Chris (20 February 2005). "In the Face of Death".  
  4. ^ Mudrian, Albert (2009).  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Aites, Aaron (director, producer); Ewell, Audrey (director, producer) (2009).  
  6. ^ "Web-exclusive interview: Darkthrone's Fenriz (Part 2)". Revolver. 14 January 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Dome, Michael (director) (2007). Murder Music: Black Metal (motion picture). Rockworld TV. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Martin Ledang (director), Pål Aasdal (director) (2007). Once Upon a Time in Norway (motion picture). Another World Entertainment. 
  9. ^ a b c d Rydehed, Stefan (director) (2008). Pure Fucking Mayhem (motion picture). Index Verlag. 
  10. ^ Basik, Dmitry (June 1998). "Hellhammer interview". Archived from the original on 19 February 2008. 
  11. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 49.
  12. ^ Lords of Chaos, pp. 59–60.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Sam Dunn (director) (2005).  
  15. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 55.
  16. ^ Kristiansen, p. 219.
  17. ^ magazine #15: Necrobutcher interviewUnrestrained
  18. ^ MusicMight: Biography of Immortal
  19. ^ Discogs: Erik Brødreskift
  20. ^ Find A Grave: Erik "Grim" Brødreskift (1969-1999)
  21. ^ Ravn: Strid. In: Slayer, No. 20, Blood Fire Death, 2010, p. 78.
  22. ^ a b Olson, Benjamin Hedge: I am the Black Wizards: Multiplicity, mysticism and identity in black metal music and culture. Bowling Green State University, May 2008. p. 27.
  23. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 119.
  24. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 66.
  25. ^ a b "Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth". June 1992. Retrieved 10 October 2009. Well, the original idea was to make a specialist shop for metal in general, but that's a long time ago. Normal metal isn't very popular any more, all the children are listening to 'death' metal now. I'd rather be selling Judas Priest than Napalm Death, but at least now we can be specialized within 'death' metal and make a shop where all the trend people know that they will find all the trend music. This will help us earning money so that we can order more EVIL records to the evil people. But no matter how shitty music we have to sell, we'll make a BLACK METAL look on the shop, we've had a couple of 'actions' in churches lately, and the shop is going to look like a black church in the future. We've also thought about having total darkness inside, so that people would have to carry torches to be able to see the records. 
  26. ^ Norwegian dictionary entry for "Helvete"
  27. ^ Christe, Ian (2003). Sound of the Beast: the Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. p. 271. 
  28. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 64.
  29. ^ a b c Lords of Chaos, p. 39.
  30. ^ Ekeroth, Daniel: Swedish Death Metal. Second printing. Brooklyn, NY: Bazillion Points 2009, p. 247.
  31. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 68.
  32. ^ Vikernes, Varg (13 August 2004). "Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship and Rock'n'Roll"A personal review of Gavin Baddeley's book . Retrieved 31 January 2007. 
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Olson, pp. 7f.
  36. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 220.
  37. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 76.
  38. ^ a b Lahdenpera, Esa: Northern Black Metal Legends. In: Kill Yourself, no. 2, August 1993. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  39. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 222.
  40. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 218f.
  41. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 161.
  42. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 137.
  43. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 134.
  44. ^ Christe, Ian: Sound of the Beast: the Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2004.
  45. ^ Kristiansen 2011, p. 39.
  46. ^ Kristiansen 2011, pp. 266–269.
  47. ^ Fridh, Sanna. Satan: The Perfect Man: A Symbol and Gender Analysis of Satanism in Black Metal. University of Gothenburg, 2010. p. 7.
  48. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 255.
  49. ^ Kristiansen, p. 222.
  50. ^ MLO. Misantropiska Lucifer Orden. In: Jon Kristiansen: Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries. Bazillion Points Books 2011, p. 551.
  51. ^ Kristiansen, Jon (2011). Metalion: The Slayer Mag Diaries. Bazillion Points Books. p. 274. 
  52. ^ Halupczok, Marc. Waldschrate & Met-Trinker. In: Metal Hammer. March 2010. p. 30.
  53. ^ Enslaved: Frost. Osmose Productions 1994.
  54. ^ Various Artists: Nordic Metal - A Tribute to Euronymous. Necropolis Records 1995.
  55. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 106.
  56. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 93.
  57. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 100.
  58. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 94f.
  59. ^ a b Lords of Chaos, p. 89.
  60. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 105.
  61. ^ a b c d e f g Lords of Chaos, pp. 82f.
  62. ^ Kristiansen, p. 261.
  63. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 117.
  64. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Church of Norway (Den Norske Kirke) - History (Historie) - 1994
  65. ^ a b c d e f Church of Norway (Den Norske Kirke) - History (Historie) - 1995
  66. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Interview with former Emperor drummer Faust". Retrieved 30 May 2008. I was never a Satanist or fascist in any way, but I put behind me the hatred and negativity. Those feelings just eat you up from inside. 
  67. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lords of Chaos, pp. 95–97.
  68. ^ a b Satan Rides the MediaVarg Vikernes's review of .
  69. ^ "Count" Regrets Nothing.
  70. ^ Vikernes, Varg: A Burzum Story: Part II - Euronymous.
  71. ^ a b Lords of Chaos, p.120.
  72. ^ A Burzum Story: Part II - Euronymous
  73. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 42.
  74. ^ Lords of Chaos, p. 143.
  75. ^ Steinke, Darcey. "Satan's Cheerleaders". SPIN
  76. ^ Bill Zebub (director) (2007). Black Metal: A Documentary (motion picture). Bill Zebub Productions. 
  77. ^ The End of a Legend? Isten smokes Holocaust Vengeance out of BEHERIT. In: Isten, no. 6, 1995, pp. 44f.
  78. ^ "The Oath of the Goat's Black Blood". Sinister Flame 1: 28–32. 2003. 
  79. ^ CD coverA Blaze in the Northern SkyDarkthrone -
  80. ^ Burzum "Det Som Engang Var" 1993 -
  81. ^ Burzum "Aske" (mini-LP) 1993 -
  82. ^ Burzum "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" 1994 -
  83. ^ vinyl coverEmperorEmperor - at
  84. ^ vinyl coverAs the Shadows RiseEmperor - at
  85. ^ Burzum "Filosofem" 1996 -
  86. ^ Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Deathlike Silence Productions 1994.
  87. ^ cassette coverDark Medieval TimesSatyricon -
  88. ^ vinyl coverTransilvanian HungerDarkthrone - at
  89. ^ Until the Light Takes Us (2008)



Year/Month Band Title Notes
1987-03 Mayhem Deathcrush recorded in February/March 1987 at Creative Studios and released in August 1987
1989-12 Stigma Diabolicum Luna De Nocturnus
1990-03 Stigma Diabolicum Lacus De Luna
1990-04 Mayhem Freezing Moon and Carnage these songs feature Dead as vocalist and appeared on the 1991 Projections of a Stained Mind compilation
1990-11 Mayhem Live in Leipzig recorded live on 26 November 1990 but not released officially until July 1993
1991-03 Arcturus My Angel recorded in March 1991 at Studio S and released in July 1991
1991-04 Thou Shalt Suffer Open the Mysteries of Your Creation recorded in April 1991 at Notodden Lydstudio and released in July 1991
1991-06 Thorns Grymyrk recorded on 3 June 1991
1991-07 Enthrone Black Wings
1991-07 Burzum Burzum Demo I
1991-08 Darkthrone A Blaze in the Northern Sky recorded in August 1991[79] at Creative Studios but not released until February 1992
1991-10 Immortal Immortal
1991-10 Thou Shalt Suffer Into the Woods of Belial recorded in October 1991 at Notodden Lydstudio
1991-11 Burzum Burzum Demo II
1991-12 Enslaved Nema recorded on 6–7 December 1991 at Slakten Lydstudio
1991-?? Malfeitor Malfeitor
1992-01 Burzum Burzum recorded in January 1992 at Grieghallen Studio and released in March 1992
1992-02 Ildjarn Unknown Truths
1992-04 Burzum Det som engang var recorded in April 1992 at Grieghallen Studio but not released until August 1993[80]
1992-04 Immortal Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism recorded in April 1992 at Grieghallen Studio and released in July 1992
1992-05 Emperor Wrath of the Tyrant recorded on 8–11 May 1992
1992-06 Satyricon All Evil recorded on 21–22 June 1992
1992-06 Enslaved Yggdrasill recorded on 28–29 June 1992 at Micro Music
1992-06 Darkthrone Under a Funeral Moon recorded in June 1992 at Creative Studios but not released until March 1993
1992-08 Burzum Aske recorded in August 1992 at Grieghallen Studio but not released until March 1993[81]
1992-09 Carpathian Forest Bloodlust & Perversion recorded in September 1992 at Star Studio
1992-09 Burzum Hvis lyset tar oss recorded in September 1992 at Grieghallen Studio but not released until April 1994[82]
1992-10 Enslaved Hordanes Land recorded in September–October 1992 at Lydloftet and released in May 1993
1992-12 Fimbulwinter Rehearsal Demo recorded in October–December 1992, re-released as a full-length album, Servants of Sorcery, in 1994
1992-12 Emperor Emperor
As the Shadows Rise
recorded together in December 1992[83][84] but released separately in May 1993 and August 1994 respectively
1992-12 Sabazios Wintermass recorded in December 1992 at Rolf's Cellar and released in January 1993
1992-?? Thorns Trøndertun
1992-?? Malfeitor Pandemonium
1992-?? Incarnator Nordic Holocaust
1992-?? Ice Wind The Call of the Ice Wind
1993-01 Ildjarn Ildjarn
1993-03 Burzum Filosofem recorded in March 1993 at Grieghallen Studio but not released until January 1996[85]
1993-03 Satyricon The Forest Is My Throne recorded on 27–28 March 1993
1993-03 Ildjarn Norse recorded in March 1993
1993-03 Fleurety Black Snow recorded in March 1993 at Grim Sweeper Studio
1993-04 Enslaved Vikingligr Veldi recorded March–April 1993 at Grieghallen Studio but not released until February 1994
1993-04 Carpathian Forest Journey Through the Cold Moors of Svarttjern
1993-04 Gorgoroth A Sorcery Written in Blood recorded on 28 April 1993
1993-05 Gehenna Black Seared Heart recorded in May 1993 at Soundsuite Studios
1993-05 Manes Maanens natt recorded in May 1993
1993-06 Mysticum Medusa's Tears recorded in June 1993 at Rolf's Cellar and released in July 1993
1993-06 Hades Alone Walkyng recorded in June 1993 at Grieghallen Studio
1993-07 Forgotten Woods Through the Woods recorded on 19 July 1993
1993-07 Emperor In the Nightside Eclipse recorded in July 1993 at Grieghallen Studio but not released until September 1994
1992-??-1993-?? Mayhem De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas recorded in 1992/1993[86] at Grieghallen Studio but not released until May 1994
1993-08 Ancient Eerily Howling Winds recorded in August 1993 at Verftet Lydstudio
1993-09 In the Woods... Isle of Men recorded June–September 1993 at SL-Studio and released in November
1993-09 Satyricon Dark Medieval Times recorded August–September 1993[87] and released in early 1994
1993-09 Immortal Pure Holocaust recorded in September 1993 at Grieghallen Studio and released in November 1993
1993-09 Grimm Nordisk vinter recorded in September 1993 at Star Studio
1993-10 Ulver Vargnatt recorded on 15–17 October 1993 and released in November 1993
1993-10 Fleurety A Darker Shade of Evil recorded in October 1993 at Stovner Rockefabrikk but not released until Fall 1994
1993-?? Isvind Nivelheimen recorded in Fall 1993
1993-?? Helheim Helheim recorded in Fall 1993
1993-12 Darkthrone Transilvanian Hunger recorded in Nov–Dec 1993[88] at Necrohell Studio and released in February 1994
1993-12 Forgotten Woods Forgotten Woods recorded in late Winter 1993
1993-12 Mock Cold Winter recorded in late Winter 1993 at MC Quake Studio and released in 1994
1993-?? Tulus Demo I
1993-?? Thule Der Vinterstormene Raste
1993-?? Strid End of Life

The following is a list of black metal recordings and releases by the aforesaid bands during 1987–1993. Releases in bold are albums, while the rest are demos and extended plays.

List of music releases

Band Formed From
Ancient 1992 Bergen
Arcturus 1991 Oslo
Burzum 1991 Bergen
Carpathian Forest (aka Enthrone) 1990 Sandnes, Rogaland
Darkthrone 1986 Kolbotn
Emperor 1991 Notodden, Telemark
Enslaved 1991 Haugesund, Rogaland
Fimbulwinter 1992 Oslo
Gehenna 1993 Stavanger, Rogaland
Gorgoroth 1992 Bergen
Hades/Hades Almighty 1992 Bergen
Ildjarn 1992 , Telemark
Immortal 1991 Bergen
In the Woods... 1991 Kristiansand
Manes (aka Perifa) 1991 Trondheim
Mayhem 1984 Oslo
Nidingr (aka Audr) 1992 Borre
Satyricon 1991 Oslo
Strid (aka Malfeitor) 1991 Askim
Taake (as Thule) 1993 Bergen
Thorns (aka Stigma Diabolicum) 1989 Trondheim
Thou Shalt Suffer 1991 Notodden, Telemark
Tulus 1993 Oslo
Ulver 1993 Oslo

The following is a list of the original Norwegian artists that released black metal music in the scene during 1987–1993.

List of artists

There was also rivalry between Norwegian and Finnish black metal bands. Impaled Nazarene printed "No orders from Norway accepted" and "Kuolema Norjan kusipäille!" ('Death to the arseholes of Norway!') on early pressings of their first album and innuendo and snarky comments were made in fanzines. Beherit's mainman 'Nuclear Holocausto' used the rivalry to play a series of telephone pranks on Mika Luttinen (of Impaled Nazarene) in which he would call him in the dead of the night playing nursery rhymes at high speed on a cassette recorder. At the time, Luttinen upheld that the messages were threats from Norwegian black metallers.[77] The Finnish band Black Crucifixion criticized the Norwegian band Darkthrone as "trendies" due to Darkthrone originally being a death metal band who later played black metal.[78]

There was a strong rivalry between Norwegian black metal and Swedish death metal scenes. Fenriz and Tchort have noted that Norwegian black metal musicians had become "fed up with the whole death metal scene"[76] and that "death metal was very uncool in Oslo" at the time.[8] A number of times, Euronymous sent death threats to some of the more 'mainstream' death metal groups in Europe.[8] Allegedly, a group of Norwegian black metal fans even plotted to kidnap and murder certain Swedish death metal musicians.[8]

Conflict with other music scenes

On the night of 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Snorre 'Blackthorn' Ruch drove from Bergen to Euronymous's apartment at Tøyengata[9] in Oslo. When they arrived there was a confrontation and Vikernes stabbed Euronymous to death. His body was found outside the apartment with 23 cut wounds – two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back.[75] Vikernes was arrested on 19 August 1993 in Bergen.[71] He was released from prison on parole in May 2009.

Murder of Euronymous

Shortly after this episode, the Oslo police dispatched its Church Fire Group to chain mail, carrying two large knives in his belt, and flanked by the two young men who apparently behaved as if they were his bodyguards or henchmen". Vikernes "stated that he was fed up with being harassed by the authorities, and that the police investigation into the Black Metal scene should be stopped". When police told him he had no right to issue orders, Vikernes "took one step back and raised his right arm in a Roman salute".[74]

Norwegian magazine Rock Furore published an interview with Vikernes in February 1993. In it, he said of the prison system: "It's much too nice here. It's not hell at all. In this country prisoners get a bed, toilet and shower. It's completely ridiculous. I asked the police to throw me in a real dungeon, and also encouraged them to use violence".[73] He was released in March for lack of evidence.[67]

Euronymous decided to shut Helvete as it began to draw the attention of the police and media.[71] Vikernes condemned Euronymous for shutting the shop rather than taking advantage of the publicity: "by doing so he also made all my efforts more or less pointless. I spent six weeks in custody because of that".[72]

According to Vikernes, the anonymous interview was planned by himself and Euronymous with the goal of spreading fear, promoting black metal and getting more customers for Helvete.[69] Vikernes said of the interview: "I exaggerated a lot and when the journalist left we [...] had a good laugh, because he didn't seem to understand that I was pulling his leg".[70] He added that the interview revealed nothing that could prove his involvement in any crime.[67] Vikernes claims that, after he was arrested, "the journalist edited the interview and [...] published an insane version of it the following day, without even letting me read through it".[68] Some of the other scene members were also arrested and questioned, but all were released for lack of evidence.[67]

In January 1993, an article in one of Norway's biggest newspapers, Bergens Tidende (BT), brought the black metal scene into the media spotlight.[67] Two friends of Vikernes interviewed him and brought the interview to the newspaper, hoping they would print it.[67] In the anonymous interview, 'Count Grishnackh' (Vikernes) claimed to have burnt the churches and killed a man in Lillehammer.[67] BT journalist Finn Bjørn Tønder set up a meeting with 'Count Grishnackh'. The journalists were summoned to an apartment and, allegedly, warned they would be shot if the police were called.[67] There, Vikernes and his companions told the journalists that they had burnt the churches, or knew who had done it, and warned the attacks would continue. They claimed to be Devil worshippers and said: "Our intention is to spread fear and evil […] that is why we are telling this to Bergens Tidende". They told the journalists details about the arsons that hadn't been released to the press and so BT spoke with the police before publishing it, who confirmed these details.[67] The article was published on 20 January as the front page of the BT. It was headlined "Vi tente på kirkene" ("we burnt the churches") and included a photo of Vikernes, his face mostly hidden, holding two large knives. However, by the time the article was printed, Vikernes had already been arrested. The police allegedly found him by going to an address printed on a Burzum flyer,[67] although Vikernes believes that Tønder betrayed him.[68]

Bergens Tidende article

On 21 August 1992, Bård 'Faust' Eithun stabbed to death Magne Andreassen, a gay man, in a forest just outside Lillehammer.[5] In 1994, he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, but was released in 2003 after serving nine years and four months.[66]

Murder of Magne Andreassen

  • May 13: burning of Lord Church in Telemark[65]
  • May 25: burning of Såner Church in Vestby[65]
  • Jun 14: burning of Moe Church in Sandefjord[65]
  • Jul 21: attempted burning of a church college in Eidanger[65]
  • Sep 3: attempted burning of Vågsbygd church college in Oddernes[65]
  • Nov 3: burning of Innset Church in Rennebu[65]


  • Mar 13: burning of a church in Sund[64]
  • Mar 27: burning of Seegård Church in Snertingdal[64]
  • May 16: attempted burning of Gol stave church in Buskerud[64]
  • May 17: attempted burning of Åmodt Chapel in Buskerud[64]
  • Jun 4: burning of Frogn Church in Drøbak[64]
  • Jun 19: attempted burning of Heni Church in Gjerdrum[64]
  • Jul 7: burning of a church in Jeløy[64]
  • Jul 21: attempted burning of Odda's Church[64]
  • Aug 13: attempted burning of Loop Chapel in Meldal[64]
  • Dec 10: attempted burning of Åkra Church[64]
  • Dec 22: attempted burning of Askim Church[64]
  • Dec 26: attempted burning of Klemestrud Church[64]



  • May 23: attempted burning of Storetveit Church in Bergen[61]
  • Jun 6: burning of Fantoft stave church in Bergen[61] – Varg Vikernes is strongly suspected as the culprit, but was not convicted.[61]
  • Aug 1: burning of Revheim Church in Stavanger[61]
  • Aug 21: burning of Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo[61] – Varg Vikernes and Faust were convicted for this; Euronymous also participated, but was murdered in August 1993.[5][8][62]
  • Sep 1: burning of Ormøya Church in Oslo[61]
  • Sep 13: burning of Skjold Church in Vindafjord[61] – Varg Vikernes and Samoth were convicted for this.
  • Oct 3: burning of Hauketo Church in Oslo.[59]
  • Dec 24: burning of Åsane Church in Bergen[1] – Varg Vikernes and Jørn Inge Tunsberg were convicted for this.[1]
  • Dec 25: burning of a Methodist church in [1] – a firefighter was killed while fighting this fire.[1]


The following is a partial list of the church arsons:

Those convicted for church burnings showed no remorse and described their actions as a symbolic "retaliation" against Christianity in Norway.[59] Mayhem drummer Hellhammer said he had called for attacks on [14] Others, such as Necrobutcher and Kjetil Manheim of Mayhem, see the church burnings as having been futile, with the latter claiming that many arsons were "just people trying to gain acceptance" within the black metal scene.[8]

In 1992, members of the Norwegian black metal scene began a wave of arson attacks on Christian churches. By 1996, there had been at least 50 attacks in Norway;[1][25] in every case that was solved, those responsible were blackmetalers.[55] Some of the buildings were hundreds of years old and seen as important historical landmarks. The first was Norway's Fantoft stave church, which was burnt to the ground in June 1992. Police believe Varg Vikernes of Burzum was responsible.[1] The cover of Burzum's EP Aske ("ashes") is a photograph of the destroyed church. In May 1994, he was found guilty for burning down Holmenkollen Chapel, Skjold Church and Åsane Church.[5][56] To coincide with the release of Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Vikernes and Euronymous had allegedly plotted to bomb Nidaros Cathedral, which appears on the album cover.[8] The musicians Samoth,[57] Faust[58] and Jørn Inge Tunsberg[1] were also convicted for church arsons.

The Fantoft stave church.

Church arsons and attempted arsons

Regarding the term 'black metal', Euronymous said that it applies to any heavy metal band who are theistic Satanists and write Satanic lyrics.[38] Such ideas were repeated by other scene members, such as Faust.[51] At the time, bands with a style similar to Norwegian black metal, but without Satanic lyrics, tended to use other terms for their music.[52][53][54]

In retrospect, Metalion wrote: "In the past, people just wrote about Satan, but now people meant it. I believe it was serious—maybe not all the Satanism, but definitely the approach to the music and the lifestyle. It was certainly more destructive than metal had been in the past".[49] Tenebris from the Misanthropic Luciferian Order (a Swedish Satanic order) wrote that the Norwegian scene "meant a lot as long as it lasted. Back then, in 1991, things mainly concerned black metal and ideological Satanism (not so much practical Satanism, but anyway...) [...] It grew quickly to become a sort of black metal army [...] and kind of stood and fell with Euronymous and his shop. Therefore, it vanished with his death in '93 [...] Sadly enough, many people involved at the time betrayed their ideals and lost their interest when things fell apart. Like it was nothing more than a hype of temporary nature".[50]

The Norwegian black metal scene was bitterly opposed to Christianity and organized religion as a whole. In interviews during the early 1990s, Euronymous and other members of the scene presented themselves as misanthropic Devil worshippers[35] who wanted to spread hatred, sorrow and evil. They attacked the Church of Satan for being too "humane".[36] The theistic Satanism they espoused was an inversion of Christianity.[37] Euronymous was the key figure behind this ideology.[22][29] He professed to be in favor of totalitarianism and against individualism, compassion, peace, happiness and fun.[38] When asked why such statements were made to the press, Ihsahn of Emperor said: "I think that was very much to create fear among people".[39] He added that the scene "wanted to be in opposition to society" and "tried to concentrate more on just being 'evil' than having a real Satanic philosophy".[40] Vikernes said that the reason they claimed to advocate "evil" was to provoke.[41] According to Lords of Chaos, many who knew Euronymous say that "the extreme Satanic image he projected was, in fact, just that – a projection which bore little resemblance to his real personality".[42] They include Kjetil Manheim,[9] Vikernes[5] and Blackthorn[43] (the latter two were convicted for his murder). Faust said that with Euronymous, "there was a lot of smoke but not so much fire".[3] Mortiis, however, said that Euronymous "was such a devil worshipper you wouldn't believe it",[44] and Metalion (who knew Euronymous since 1985[45] and considered him to be his best friend)[46] said that Euronymous "was always telling what he thought [...] worshipping death and being extreme".[29] As for the other scene members, Sanna Fridh says that there is no evidence to support their early claims of being Devil worshippers,[47] and Leif A. Lier, who led the police investigation after Euronymous's death, said he and his men had not met one Satanist.[1] Faust said that "For some people it [Satanism] was bloody serious, but to a lot of them it was all a big hype".[48]


The store has since been reopened under the name Neseblod Records, in the same location but with much less floor space. [33] Many of the original artifacts still remain, and the store also identifies as a "black metal museum". [34]

First of all the so-called 'Black Circle' was something Euronymous made up because he wanted to make people believe there was such a thing, but it was nonsense and never existed. The media on the other hand believed it existed for a while, but quickly stopped talking about it when they understood it was a fake rumor.[32]

In his review of Lucifer Rising, Varg Vikernes said:

It's just a name that was invented for the people who hung around the shop […] there wasn't anything like members and membership cards and official meetings.[31]

Those who gathered at Helvete have been referred to as the "Black Circle" or "Black Metal Inner Circle". Faust says that the name was invented by Euronymous.[5] At the time, some in the media implied that the "Black Circle" was an organized, cult-like group. In Lords of Chaos, Faust said that the media made it seem more organized than it was:

Within just a few months [of Helvete opening], many young musicians had become obsessed with Euronymous and his ideas, and soon a lot of Norwegian death metal bands transformed into black metal bands. Amputation became Immortal, Thou Shalt Suffer turned into Emperor, and Darkthrone swapped their Swedish-inspired death metal for primitive black metal. Most notoriously, Old Funeral's guitar player Varg Vikernes had already left the band to form his own creation, Burzum.[30]

According to Stian 'Occultus' Johannsen, the space that Euronymous rented "was far too big and the rent was too high. That's the reason why it never did well". Only a small part of the building was used for the shop itself.[28] Euronymous would shut Helvete in early 1993 when it began to draw the attention of the police and media. Nevertheless, during the time that it was open it became the focal point of the Norwegian black metal scene. Jon 'Metalion' Kristiansen, writer of the fanzine Slayer, said that the opening of Helvete was "the creation of the whole Norwegian Black Metal scene".[29] Daniel Ekeroth wrote in 2008,

Mayhem guitarist Euronymous was "the central figure involved in the formation of the Norwegian black metal scene",[22] which he "almost single-handedly founded".[23] During May–June 1991,[24] he opened a record shop called Helvete[25] (Norwegian for "Hell").[26] The shop was at Schweigaards gate 56 in Oslo. Norwegian black metal musicians often met at the shop and in its basement. They included the members of Mayhem, the members of Emperor, Varg 'Count Grishnackh' Vikernes of Burzum, and Snorre 'Blackthorn' Ruch of Thorns. Euronymous also founded an independent record label called Deathlike Silence Productions, which was based at Helvete. It released albums by Norwegian bands Mayhem and Burzum, and Swedish bands Merciless and Abruptum. Euronymous, Varg,[5] and Emperor guitarist Tomas 'Samoth' Haugen[27] lived in the shop at various times. Emperor drummer Bård 'Faust' Eithun also lived and worked there.[3][5] The shop's walls were painted black and bedecked with medieval weapons, posters of bands, and picture discs, while its window featured a polystyrene tombstone.[3]

The basement of Helvete

Helvete and the 'Black Circle'

[21]) in 2001.Strid and Espen 'Storm' Andersen (of [20][19][18]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.