The point of Satanic rock was to scare the Normals while fucking with the minds of its pimple-faced, predominantly male (nerdoid) audience, who needed to create a counter-world, with counter-morals and counter-aesthetics, to empower the nerdoids against the cooler, more successful jocks. But metal had its rivals for the hopelessly angry nerdoid: punk, hardcore and metal’s own competing mutations. The competition forced metal’s leading edge to metamorphose into harder, faster and more violent forms, reaching its apex with the rise of Death Metal in the mid-80s. Death Metal was as violent, Satanic and musically inaccessible as metal could go, or so it seemed.
And here is where Norway, the comic straight-man character in this dumb, bloody saga, comes in. Norway is not only a completely humorless society (it banned Monty Python’s The Life of Brian for being too offensive, leading to ads in rival Sweden boasting that the movie was “so funny it was banned in Norway!”), but worse, a deeply oppressive society, in a recognizably bland, caring, pious, Social Democratic way. Which raises an interesting question: Do boredom and blandness “count” as real suffering, and if so, do they justify murder the way other forms of oppression make murder seem a likely, even understandable response? The Black Metalists of Norway think so.
The humor and empty boasts inherent in Death Metal were lost on Norway’s youth. They took Death Metal literally, and quickly discovered that it wasn’t “evil” or “authentic” enough. There were too many “poseurs.” And more important, too few genuine corpses for a scene that claimed to be so obsessed with death and violence. So Black Metal offered up one of its own as its first sacrificial corpse: the lead singer of Mayhem, who ingeniously had changed his name to “Dead,” offed himself with a shotgun. His friend and lead guitarist, Euronymous, discovered Dead’s brains splattered all over their apartment. So the first thing Euronymous does is run down to the village store to buy film, run back, snap a whole bunch of photos of Dead’s corpse, boast to all his friends about it, then call the cops. Now that is fuckin’ cool, dude.
Where as the nerdoids in Lords of Chaos were vainly trying to recapture the lost, centuries-old glory of their Viking ancestors in a diminished modern Norway, uber-nerdoids Richard Perle and David Frum seem hell bent on destroying contemporary America’s glorious imperial war machine right at the very peak of its power. Their plan for leading America, lemming-like, over the cliff of self-destruction is laid out in their sparsely-worded manifesto, An End to Evil. The title alone shows how very Black Metal these grown-up war nerds are.