I had a sense of trepidation going in to Lords of Chaos. Americans playing Norwegian metal musicians could go very, very wrong. I was delighted to find instead that it was fucking great.
Lords of Chaos, or How To Edgelord Your Way To Insanity And Death, is a dramatisation of the rise and fall of the band Mayhem. This includes suicide, cannibalism, arson and murder.
We were warned before the film began that we may find it gory. This is because the suicide scene is explicit. I wouldn’t describe it as gory because it was not excessive or gratuitous, simply showing the manner in which Dead killed himself in a matter-of-fact way.
One guy in the audience didn’t agree with my assessment of the gore, and vomited and fainted. The film had to be stopped, the house lights brought up, first aiders brought in, and an ambulance called. I can think of no better advertisement for this movie.
What was good about the movie was, while simultaneously carrying you along in the world and attitude of these characters, occasionally puncturing it with reminders that these were actually weans, in their teens and early 20s. They aren’t evil geniuses, in fact quite the opposite. A bunch of showoff little boys with fragile egos and catty cliques.
The central theme of the film is about yearning for authenticity and validation. This is especially difficult in a music culture of reforged identities and false names.
Weirdly funny and surprisingly heartfelt, this movie overcomes the odds to feel like a real achievement.