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Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground Paperback – December, 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gangsta Rap's white-kid counterpart, black metal music enjoys a continued obscurity that is baffling in light of the made-for-tabloid events detailed in Moynihans's and Soderlind's book. Their book is a sort of guide to the Norwegian black metal scene, where, the authors claim, this latest, more rebellious form of heavy metal music originated. Moreover, Norway is the recent setting for the burning of numerous churches, and for two gruesome murders for which a small group of black metallers have been convicted. Whereas gangsta rappers might cite ancient African traditions that have been violently uprooted as a cause for their crimes against society, Norwegian black metal-heads cite the slaughter of their pagan traditions at the hands of early Christians as their justification. For most readers, such rationalizations will fall apart as they note that black metal kids murder their own kind (as, often, do gangsta rappers). It does not require 344 pages (plus appendices) to become disenchanted with the authors' rather disorganized history, but rabid fans will find much to savor here, such as lengthy interviews with the scene's icons. This is an exhaustive look at a few, extremely disturbed young men who, tragically, did not get Ozzy Osbourne's joke.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Committed campaigners against rock culture excesses may enjoy this look at the weird world of black metal as much as the local goth contingent will. Centered in Norway, though not confined there, black metal is a refinement of heavy metal, the genre minions of decency loved to hate before the rise of gangsta rap. Combining the lyrical stance of death metal with the melodic stylings of thrash, black metal takes its name from the English band Venom's second album. But what distinguishes black metal from, say, Marilyn Manson, is that the Nordic tunesmiths aren't kidding. The ones cited here openly advocate and occasionally admit to suicide, murder, and church burnings. Satan worship and its trappings are important to the black metal ethos, yet many musicians and fans aren't Satan worshippers but Odin devotees, and some seek to revive notorious Norwegian Nazi puppet Vidkun Quisling's Universism. Though the prose is stiff in places and the presentation desultory at times, this is gripping stuff, a book about scary rock that is really scary. Mike Tribby

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Feral House; 1st edition (December 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922915482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922915484
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ilker Yucel on June 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
"Lords of Chaos" is a very well-written book that documents certain key events in the rise and fall of the Satanic movement in extreme metal. Beginning with a slight history of the proto-black/death metal bands of the '80's (i.e. Bathory, Venom, King Diamond, Slayer, etc...), and bringing the reader to the early '90's when the Norwegian black metal scene declared its supremacy, this book tells it like it was. Everything from the church burnings (for which Samoth of Emperor was imprisoned), to Faust's (Emperor's drummer) murder of a homosexual fan, to the suicide of Dead (Mayhem's vocalist), to the murder of Oystein "Euronymous" Aarseth (Mayhem's guitarist) at the hands of friend and Burzum mainman Varg Vikernes, to the German band Absurd's own transgressions in the following years, this book is pretty much a black metal historian's dream. The philosophy is not elaborated on as much as it should, but there are several chapters that deal specifically with Anton LeVay's brand of Satanism (right down to an interview with him) to several notes on Nordic/Viking mythology, and plenty of rare photos and interviews with key personalities in the scene, including Ihsahn (Emperor), Varg (Burzum), and even the guys in Cradle of Filth (a.k.a. black metal goes pop). It is definitely not for all tastes, and even fans of black metal may find it horrid to find that a scene that carries so much enjoyment also carried such terror and insanity. Not for the weak of heart. Other than that, it is an interesting read...
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Format: Paperback
...are some of the customer reviews I have just read, from impressionable, probably disturbed youngsters writing things like "Hail Sathanas" and recommending this book to all black metal scenesters as a "how-to" guide. Obviously these kids have MISSED THE POINT. Sure, the music is compelling--having worked in a record store that sells recordings by Burzum and Emperor, amongst others, I agree that black metal is quite unlike anything else out there and musically ingenious. But the philosophy behind it--NO WAY. I have no love for Christian belief systems, either, but this does not mean I condone the sort of blind, unrelenting, emotionless hatred and destruction perpetrated by the followers of black metal philosophy. The two journalists who wrote this book did a fine job of researching, interviewing and trying to be objective, but nothing in this book acts as an encouragement to embrace national socialism, or Satansism, or murder and church-burning--nothing. The most intriguing part of this book, which unfortunately the authors did not address in detail, is how little jail time and punishment was given to these black metal criminals. They are continuing their message of hate from jail, inciting their (very young) followers, and they'll be out in a matter of years, with every intention of committing other crimes. Even Vikernes will only be 42 when he is released. It saddens and frightens me that some people see this work of research into destruction and violence as some sort of handbook. I urge those people to read this book again, more carefully, without focusing only on the bloody murders and the nihilistic spoutings, and at least try to understand what happens to these people, what the consequences of their actions are.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: the author of this review is a serious Burzum fan.
Moynihan comes off as a man with a mission in this one . . . the mission being to prove that the entire second wave of black metal, of which the so-called Norse Black Metal Mafia was an integral part, was an expression of the rebirth of the spirit of National Socialism and Paganism within Scandanavia and people of Germanic/Scandanavian descent. While this may have been the view of a very few select members of "the movement," particularly Varg Vikernes; it certainly wasn't the outlook of others who helped create the medium. The book focuses mainly upon Moynihan's misrepresentations of Varg's anti-Semitic Neo-Pagan philosophies and Moynihan's own biases and views, and completely omits large parts of the entire history in order to make the Black Metal Movement seem like it was a well formed crusade in the name of Quisling influenced Facism and Paganism. The history and role of many key bands, most glaringly Darkthrone and Thorns, are completely omitted, while more interesting and obcure stories such as the death threats levelled against the band Fleurety are completely ignored. Moynihan also turns a blind eye to important non-Scandanavian bands such as Tormentor and Sigh.
"Lords of Chaos" is well written for all of its faults, and is important in that it attempts to chronicle the history and philosophies evolved by an astounding group of musicians. It contains a great deal of photos and does contain a few good interviews - the most exciting of which are probably those with Garm of Ulver. One may wish to take these interviews with a grain of salt, considering to what degree Varg's comments were apparently distorted. The book gets a second star simply for the photos and the fact that Moynihan even bothered to tackle a difficult topic, despite his cheesy paparazzo approach to the subject.
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Format: Paperback
Most books about metal focus on trivial sociological interpretations of behaviors of the most deluded morons in ay group. This book thankfully is tackled by two authors who know enough to find the reasonably articulate youth who made great albums in the black metal era, and ask them questions about their beliefs, ideals and music.
What is revealed is fascinating, and easy to read for information as it traces the formations of the movement and then launches into a way of explaining, through various ideological views, what the actual beliefs in common of the movement of black metal are.
For example, it's heavy on Burzum in the second half, because Burzum defined in words what others would not speak, and changed black metal radically with his music and eventually, the murder of Euronymous. If any single act brought metal toward an understanding by the people who weren't burnt out in the mainstream, it was bands like Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone and Immortal who revived a sense of pride in a method of making music as ancient as the European people, with passions appropriate to their history, culture and individual selves. As such, these bands are both fantastic voyages into creativity and a strike against society, through a blow against its attitude of socialization, meaning a docile morality and spectator mentality.
As such, the description of Burzum is like those of other bands here a chance for them to speak, and both score and blunder, as we the audience can see where their knowledge falls short but where they have put their fingers on the pulse of a certain segment of humanity in frustration with the stagnation of post-modern life, waiting for globalism and technology to turn us into the little green men people think they see piloting saucers at night.
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