By Kurt Krumme
It would be easy; too easy, to say that this film is about a rock band and how everything eventually plays out in a rock band. However, there is quite a bit more to this film than immediately meets the eye. Stories about rock bands are easy in general. The band is down and out, things happen, and the band makes it, then they deal with the consciences. Turns out, this one is a bit more complicated. This is why it is worth watching. Spoiler alert.
Most people do not know anything about Norwegian Black Metal music. I hardly do. But now I know its origins, which is in part what the film is about. Primarily, it’s about how it happened, the lives of the people who created a genre of music, and the subsequent consequences. Sounds typical, right? It’s not.
Our protagonist is the guitar player for an “up and coming” band. They have no fame or fortune besides their parents. I’ve been there myself. Anyways, they slowly develop into…nothing. That is until sheet gets absolutely bonkers. Its Norway. I bet you would confuse it with Sweden on the map. In the middle of nowhere (Norway is beautiful, however) and it isn’t exactly on most people’s radar. Turns out it should be.
The best thing about this film is the progression of the band going from a basement into insanity. It took years but they got there. Our protagonist cannot even be quite a protagonist, as he is at his core a musician who likes metal. When, in a hail-mary, their lead sing slits his arms open on stage to spray the small crown with his own blood, (he went by the name of Dead) it starts to get real and delve into the human psyche. Despite our protagonist being a simple human being, his lead singer, Dead, slits his writhes, his thought, and blows his F***ing head off with a shotgun. He was too metal for life. Duct tape on severe wounds? Not cool bro. Not cool. Metal as hell? I guess.
Eventually, the bad moves on brings in a new member, and everything eventually goes to shit. Recreational burning of churches. Murder. What started as a simple rebellious group turns into a mob of madness and our protagonist wants out. Too much, too much dark black metal, too much in general. Who could blame him? Despite creating Norwegian Black Metal, all he really wanted was a gyro in peace. Everything escalated out of his control, and there was nothing he could do.
I won’t ruin the ending for you, dear readers. But if you are in the right mindset, it’s a film worth watching; a layer cake into the human side of sanity and insanity, and the brightness you can glimpse in the darkness.