Jason Arment reviews Lords of Chaos, bringing the story of Black Metal’s birth to the silver screen.
Lords of Chaos is a chillingly believable film based on a book of the same name about a group of friends and their band, Mayhem. Not a documentary, this movie is an onslaught of everything that makes the music scene and its subcultures a tumultuous and foreboding wheelhouse. The characters behave as viewers familiar with the music scene will find believable. Subculture, despite what Hot Topic is selling, is full of broken people with no future. Lords of Chaos depicts how it can spiral out of control, morphing into a monster we didn’t know lurked inside us.
The way the movie is shot is extremely thoughtful, with pertinent details filling the background in a way that loudly echos, almost aping, Kubrick. The band of droogs tears through the countryside burning down churches, leaving bodies in their wake, driven by an ideology birthed of many: Nazism, Satanism, paganism, hedonism, nihilism, xenophobia, racism, misogyny, veganism, and privilege swirl into oblivion blacker than any of the kids involved ever expected.
Make no mistake, they are a bunch of petulant children, but not the sort you can turn over your knee. Parental support enables a record store and label, which turns quasi crime syndicate and influences countless youth. The black circle acts as a pack of dogs, attacking when opportunity presenting itself coincides with the swell of their self-indulgent wraith. If the lads were droogs in A Clockwork Orange, Varg would be brother Dim—I’ll leave the rest up to my dear readers to viddy well. But it’s not as easy as the viewer joining Varg in turning milk’s white innocence black, as so many did when they drank deeply with Smart Alex.
The difference is that A Clockwork Orange is fiction, while Lords of Chaos is not. And unlike fiction, this story doesn’t have to make sense. In the end, Lords of Chaos is a visceral take on another rock-and-roll fantasy turned psychotic break with reality.