Black Metal Mentalists. Tales Of Torture, Suicide and Murder.

On March 5, 2015 by Louis Falasha
Black Metal - Spray Wall
By Marieke Kuijjer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Art imitating life and life imitating art can be massive factors in the development of cult-media popularity. It’s interesting how some rappers, for example, tend to write exclusively about the life that’s been handed to them, whereas some Black Metal dudes have a tendency to hand a life to themselves that they’ve already written about. In some, wonky cases like these anyway.

Acting in the name of art, like that nut-nut GG Allin, is one thing, but art-ing in the name of act rocks the cradle that little a bit faster. Either way, the delusion in both still runs adjacently, regardless of how the craziness is expressed.

Perusing the Internet for fun pictures of corpse paint a couple of years ago led me to a documentary called ‘One Man Metal’. It’s about three separate American and New Zealand Black Metal artists who play ‘one-man-band’ because they’re not too keen on other humans and live in genuine inner misery and turmoil.



As we all know, the dubya-dubya-dubya is a dab hand at directing our fingers to other areas of current interest so, loaded with a first hand experience of Norway and a hung-over thirst to gawp at pain worse than mine, these heavy going Norwegian Black Metal cranks entered into the fray.

Norwegian Black Metal was born in the early 1990s. Adherents to the scene were involved in a wave of church burnings and a few got even more over zealous and killed some people. Wielding medieval weaponry, wearing ‘corpse paint’ and referring to themselves as the ‘Black Metal Inner Circle’, these guys presented themselves as genuine Satanists who wanted to spread evil, hate and terror.

In particular, three Norwegian Black Metal mentalists have grabbed me by the kahunas of fascination. First up is a nutbar named Per ‘Dead’ Ohlin.

Black Metal - Mayhem Death

Dead and Euronymous” naudotojo Iš Vikipedija.

Unsurprisingly, Dead was a troubled youngster. As a child he suffered from sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, and was bullied so badly his tormentors once ruptured his spleen, clinically killing him for a short time.

1988, at the age of 19, Dead contacted the band, Mayhem, asking to join. He sent them a demo tape, letter and a crucified mouse. Must remember that next time I apply for anything. Such was his personality, introverted and depressed. Mayhem guitarist, Euronymous, once said:

I honestly think Dead is mentally insane. Which other way can you describe a guy who does not eat, in order to get starvation wounds?

It is thought that Dead suffered from Cotard delusion, meaning that he believed to be dead himself as a result of childhood trauma. Covering his face with black and white face paint, or ‘corpse paint’, Dead is considered by former band-mate, Hellhammer, to be the first to fashion himself in this way because unlike Kiss or Alice Cooper, he wanted to look like a real corpse. Alongside the ever-popular onstage self-harm, Dead would bury his clothes in the earth until they began to rot and kept a dead crow in a glass, having a big whiff before shows so he could sing “with the stench of death in his nostrils”.

Dead grew exponentially more cuckoo and would regularly cut himself whilst in the company of his pals, who would try to stop him or patch him up. Euronymous, the guitarist mentioned earlier, became fascinated with Dead’s suicidal tendencies and encouraged Dead to kill himself.

In some woods outside Kråkstad, Norway, Dead, Euronymous and Hellhammer shared a nice little cottage and lived in miserable glory, being depressed and not liking each other very much. According to Hellhammer Dead “just sat in his room and became more and more depressed”.

On April 8th 1991, Dead was alone in the abode and felt a bit glum so he slit his wrists and throat then blasted himself in the forehead with a shotgun. Being the pleasant lad he was, Dead left a short suicide note asking the reader to “excuse the blood” and apologized for firing a gun indoors.

Euronymous found Dead’s body, bought a disposable camera and took some shots before calling the police. What’s more disturbing than the suicide is that Euronymous made a stew from Dead’s brain and fashioned necklaces out of fragments of his skull. Euronymous claims to have dished out the necklaces and shared the tasty repast with musicians he deemed worthy. Lucky them!

After claiming to have destroyed the photos of Dead dead, Euronymous sent one to the owner of Warmaster Records in Columbia. What a trickster, eh. The shot was used as the cover of the bootleg live album, Dawn of the Black Hearts, which was released in 1995.

Next up is a similarly grim story, once again featuring Euronymous, although this time, he is the one that ends up brown bread.

Varg Vikernes, or Burzum, was deep in the Black Metal scene at the same time as Mayhem and was signed Euronymous’ newly formed record label, Deathlike Silence Productions. Believed to be responsible for burning down Norway’s Fantoft stave church, Burzum put a picture of the torched holy house on the front cover of his EP Aske. That’s well bait if you ask me. In 1994, Vikernes was found guilty of burning down Holmenkollen Chapel, Skjold Church and Asane Church.

Black Metal - Varg_Vikernes

Varg Vikernes” by Рустем Адагамов (Rustem Adagamov) (drugoi) – Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Having been to Norway myself on a number of occasions, I can verify how reserved and conservative it is as a nation and I would probably rebel pretty heavily if I grew up there but doubt that church burning would be my thang. Drugs would suffice nicely.

Wrapped up tightly in the Black Metal scene, it didn’t take long for Vikernes to expand on his artistic expression and kill someone. Euronymous was the one to cop it. On August 10th 1993, Vikernes travelled from Bergen to Oslo to meet Øyatein ‘Euronymous’ Aarseth. A confrontation occurred in Aarseth’s apartment, which resulted in Vikernes stabbing him 23 times – two in the head, five to the neck and sixteen to back. Flawless fatality.

Vikernes himself claims that he was acting in self-defense. He reckons that a rumour had been brought to his attention, Euronymous plotted to “stun him with an electroshock weapon, tie him up and torture him to death while videotaping the event”. That night, in Euronymous’ apartment, Vikernes claims that he was going to hand him a record contract and tell him to ‘f-off’ but Euronymous panicked and attacked him first. 23 stab wounds obviously didn’t stand up in court as self defense because Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in the slammer.

During his time in prison, controversy continued to surround Vikernes. In 1997, police arrested five neo-Nazis in Hemnes, Norway, for plotting terrorist attacks on religious and political figures and even had plans to break Vikernes out of jail.

Vikernes’s mum was arrested for supplying the group with 100,000 kroner. She confessed, but claimed she did not know they were ‘right-wing extremists’ and said her son was “being attacked by fellow inmates”. In late 1996 his jaw had reportedly been broken in a fight with another inmate. At this time, Vikernes had adopted a ‘skinhead’ look and wore a belt buckle with SS insignia. Police suspected that the money came from Vikernes himself.

After his conviction, Vikernes began to refer to himself as a neo-Nazi. He was released on probation in 2009 after serving 15 of his 21-year sentence. Days after his release, another church was burnt down. I think the Norwegian prison system needs to take a closer look at their rehabilitation programs.

In 2013, Vikernes and his wife were arrested in France on suspicion of planning acts of terrorism. Released with no charges due to a lack of evidence to prove the terror suspicion, the pair was charged with inciting racial hatred against Jews and Muslims. On July 8th 2014, Vikernes was convicted of inciting racial hatred and sentenced to six months of probation and a fine of €8000.

I don’t like the sound of him one bit.

Black Metal - Burzum aske

Burzum aske” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Last on this list of metal mentalists is a dark character that goes by the name of Gaahl.

Black Metal - Gaahl_Gorgoroth

Gaahl Gorgoroth” by [1] – self-made (en-wiki). Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Kristian Eivind Espedal, or Gaahl, is best known as the former frontman of Black Metal band Gorgoroth. To get a rough idea of what the band were into, Gororoth played a gig in Kraków, Poland in February 2004 displaying impaled sheep heads, satanic symbols and a mock-crucifixion performed by naked models covered in blood. As of 2008, Gorgoroth are no more but Gaahl is involved in other projects such as God Seed and Wardruna.

The focus of this tale though is Gaahl’s thirst for a good old binge on violence. Although not a convicted murderer, I still regard Gaahl as a class-a crank.

A local journalist once commented on Gaahl’s actions:

There were four convictions for severe violence and physical abuse. The violence got more and more severe. There were physical beatings for hours on end. The victims have remained ill for many years. Gaahl attacked and continued to abuse them for hours while the victim was unable to protect him or herself.

In 2002, Gaahl was sentenced to a year in prison for assaulting and torturing a 40-year-old man for several hours at a party. The victim had apparently said something Gaahl didn’t like so he bashed him over the head, tied him up, repeatedly slapped him and squeezed his balls while singing pretty Norwegian lullabies and collecting his blood into a cup. The courts claimed that Gaahl drank the blood and forced the dude to drink his own blood but Gaahl claims it was just to prevent it from getting on his carpet. Gaahl defended his actions as self defense but admits that he “crossed borders”. He said of the incidents and victims:

It’s like a painting, you don’t stop until it is finished. If they were a bad seed they would spread it. Just by saying no to someone, you punish them enough and some people you probably need to cut into small pieces and sew back together.

Extreme violence aside, Gaahl won ‘gay person of the year’ in Bergen, is a practitioner of Norse Shamanism, once described black people and Muslims as subhuman and during the 1990s, the anti-defamation league put his band, Trelldom on its Hate Music Groups list. Another nice fellow.

There’s one last fully-fledged fruitcake Id like to quickly mention.

Jon Andreas Nödtveidt from a Swedish Black Metal band called Dissection.

Black Metal - Jon_Nödtveidt

Jon Nödtveidt” by Jon_Nodtveidt.jpg: Shadowgatederivative work: Elizabeth Bathory (talk) – Jon_Nodtveidt.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

He was convicted of murdering an Algerian gay man in 1997. Police described it to be a homophobic hate crime but a satanic alter and human body parts were also found at his home.

In August 2006, Nödtveidt was found dead after shooting himself inside a circle of lit candles, holding a satanic grimoir.

Speaking about suicide, Nödtveidt once said:

The Satanist decides of his own life and death and prefers to go out with a smile on his lips when he has reached his peak in life, when he has accomplished everything, and aim to transcend this earthly existence. But it is completely un-satanic to end one’s own life because one is sad or miserable. The Satanist dies strong, not by age, disease or depression, and he chooses death before dishonour! Death is the orgasm of life! So live life accordingly, as intense as possible!

Lovely stuff, eh? In the words of an annoying builder I used to work for “cheer up love, it might never happen”. If only these Black Metal mentalists had worked for him.

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