Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sion Sono v. Mayhem

News broke the other day that Japanese director Sion Sono has plans to take on the saga of Norwegian black metal bad Mayhem. The story, reported on by the Playlist, focused on the fact that Sono was in talks with Ezra Miller, the young actor who played the bad seed in Lynn Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin. Far more interesting, however, is contemplating Sono's mad genius combined with one of the most fascinating annals in the history of metal music, and one that would forever stigmatize the entire genre.

When people say that metal is the music of the devil, they are ostensibly talking about Mayhem. In the 80s, the black metal scene was owned by two Norwegian bands: Mayhem and Burzum. Mayhem guitarist Øystein Aarseth "Euronymous" (most likely the person Miller will be playing) and Burzum leader Varg Vikernes aka "Count Grishnackh" where the undeniable kings in this dark underground world where fans fueled the fire of their crazed egos. First friends and then adversaries, Aarseth and Vikernes seemed to be in a competition of who could be the most committed to being a psychopath, resulting in church burning, celebratory suicides, and the eventual murder of Aarseth by Vikernes.

  Øystein Aarseth v. Ezra Miller

The sordid details of what really happened before Aarseth's death are murky and have, at this point, taken on some urban legend. Until the Light Takes Us (2008) attempted to chronicle the history, but ended up being convoluted and completely unfocused. Personally, I wish Errol Morris would take this story on, but in the meantime I am willing to see what Sono might come up with. Who knows, maybe Sono's fictional take on Mayhem will be closer to any truth we've heard yet on the band.

Mayhem still tours with two remaining original members, although they have lost their spark. Vikernes was released on parole three years ago and and has demonstrated with two releases of new material, one out just last week, that musically he still has something to prove and maybe even offer to the world of black metal.

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