Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, the filmmakes behind "Until The Light Takes Us" — a feature-length documentary about black metal — were interviewed on episode 135 of "Vinland Radio". The chat is now available for streaming using the audio player below.
The story is infamous. It begins like this: In the late '80s and early '90s, a small underground scene of Norwegian metal musicians was forming. At the same time, Norwegian churches started to burn. As reporters and police scrambled for answers, church after church went up in flames. The authorities had no leads until musician Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes, a complex thinker with an unconventional set of extreme nationalistic, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic beliefs, took credit. He was held for questioning long enough for the media to run with a largely fabricated story.
Spurred on by lurid reports of Satanic rituals, abductions and sacrifices, other young men began to appropriate the idea of black metal. Taking cues from Grishnackh, and finding encouragement in the man many thought of as the scene's godfather, Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth, they began a rash of copycat church burnings and other serious crimes. This lead to wider media coverage and black metal, or rather the sensationalized version of it, grew in popularity until it was available in record stores world-wide and was profiled in every major music publication, from Spin to Rolling Stone to Vice, even serving as the inspiration for popular animated shows in the U.S. Successful visual artists such as Harmony Korine and Bjarne Melgaard (both interviewed in the film) are now recontextualizing black metal as contemporary art in international exhibitions.
Part modern art movement, part terrorist movement, part rock scene, black metal has many meanings to many people and is fraught with misperceptions. "Until The Light Takes Us" gives the originators the chance to reveal, in their own words, what it was all about. Far from a 'rockumentary", the film is a thoughtful examination of this enigmatic movement, the impact it has had on the world and the lasting effect the world has had on its creators.
Featuring the music of: BLACK DICE, BOARDS OF CANADA, BURZUM, DARKTHRONE, ENSLAVED, GORGOROTH, LESSER, MAYHEM, MUM, SUNN 0))), THORNS, ULVER.
"Until the Light Takes Us" is directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, whose collaborative visual, installation and video art has been shown in galleries and museums in New York, Europe, and Japan.
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/blackmetalmovie.
Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell interviewed on "Vinland Radio" (click on player below to launch audio):
"Until the Light Takes Us" clip featuring Fenriz (DARKTHRONE):
"Until the Light Takes Us" clip featuring Varg Vikernes (BURZUM):