"until the light takes us" does for the Norse black metal scene what temple's "the filth and the fury" did for early u.k. punk, in that it attempts to retrospectively and yet accurately paint a picture of a so-called extreme music scene ruined by its own strict ideology, media over-exposure, and the inexperience of youth. indeed, many parallels exist between British punk and Norse black metal, not the least of which revolve around corrupt in-scene bosses, misguided fan-boy attempts at emulating the supposed actions of the originators of the particular movement, and a stated ideology lashing out against a generalised societal goal at odds with the very well-being of mankind.
however, whereas our British protagonists used the very rails of pop culture to drive the roller coaster car of punk into the parlour rooms of staid English families from brixton to Liverpool, black metal kept its sounds and image underground during its prime years, leaving only the charred remains of norway's Christian past to give the confused public any hint of its existence. eventually, of course, the media seized hold of the scene, the music, and its participants, and all but re-wrote the events into a cartoonish mythology over the past fifteen years. the core creators of Norwegian black metal have been loathe to give much insight into the impetus behind their actions or ideology in the mainstream media in anything but print, and most of that has been twisted.
Aaron aites and Audrey ewell have gone to great lengths to treat a history long the subject of hysteria and misrepresentation with the venerability and respect due a subject so weighty. for while in the world at large, black metal, if known at all, is a comical footnote to heavy metal - a genre known largely for its "heavy metal parking lot" beer-swilling fans; in norway varg vikerenes is known as the Norwegian Charles manson, and the scene associate with rape, murder, arson and the knife. the film is well balanced, with shots in austere art galleries, forests, pubs, and open air markets. the story line is neither rushed nor over-indulged, and over all the film makers try to maintain a certain neutrality, leaving the audience to judge for itself what to make of these decidedly revolutionary and publicly misanthropic individuals.
there are surprises for all audiences. those unfamiliar with the history of the scene will get a clear picture of what probably transpired in a violent youth scene notorious for satanism and murder in norway between 1989-1994. for black metal devotees, prepare for a treat - rarely seen footage of early, core bands, interviews with many of the musicians who mattered, and untainted interviews with varg himself. prepare for a film with none of the cringe-worthy material you might have previously associated with the sensationalism, ignorance or low-brow blundering of the vbs "true Norwegian black metal" fiasco. interviews with other characters in the scene make for a much different impression than one might otherwise hold.
"until the light takes us" is that rare creature of the underground documentary world; a true portrait of the subject in glistening oils a la van Gogh, rather than some coney island boardwalk pencil caricature.
Chronicles the history, ideology and aesthetic of Norwegian black metal - a musical subculture infamous as much for a series of murders and church arsons as it is for its unique musical and visual aesthetics. This is the first (and only) film to truly shed light on a movement that has heretofore been shrouded in darkness and rumor and obscured by inaccurate and shallow depictions. Featuring exclusive interviews and verité with the musicians, a wealth of rare, seldom seen footage from the "Inner Circle"s earliest days, Until the Light Takes Us explores every aspect of the controversial movement that has captured the attention of the world. This is the movie that gets inside the minds and hearts of black metal's musicians. The filmmakers moved to Norway, living and filming there for two years. The movie is not about them though - it's about the extraordinary people and events that make black metal unique, unforgettable, and inevitable. This is black metal as seen through the eyes of those who created it, of those who live it, of those who are at the center of the story of black metal.
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