You’ve never seen a band biopic quite like Lords of Chaos, which explores the black metal music movement that emerged in Norway in the late ’80s.
“I was brought into this world to create suffering, chaos and death. This is my story.” So says Euronymous (Rory Culkin), the teenaged founder of seminal black metal band Mayhem, who achieved notoriety by burning down churches during a reign of terror that also encompassed murder.
Following the suicide of self-mutilating Mayhem frontman Dead (Jack Kilmer), Euronymous branches out into record producing and running a boutique record store, where he meets the introverted but musically gifted Varg (Emory Cohen), whose suggestion to torch a church as a promotional gimmick is the catalyst for the chaos that follows.
“We’re not normal people,” Varg tells a Kerrang magazine journalist, and Lords of Chaos shows you why.
The baby-faced Culkin (brother of Macauley, if he looks familiar) gives a solid performance as the deceptively well adjusted prince of darkness, whose introspective narration provides some insight into what makes Euronymous tick beyond building an empire through “seriously evil music”.
Director Jonas Åkerlund, a former member of Swedish black metal band Bathory, brings an insider’s perspective and a music video background to a biopic that transcends its niche appeal with a strong focus on character, not abrasive music. Moreover, there’s an undercurrent of tragedy that creates a vital sense of empathy for these misfits.
Black metal and its satanic trappings has been mined for laughs in Deathgasm, and while black humour resonates in this chronicle of Mayhem’s rise and fall, Lords of Chaos is a disturbing and often ultra-violent paean to an angry youth subculture.
In cinemas: February 22, 2018
Starring: Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Sky Ferreira
Directed by: Jonas Åkerlund
Get out your black t-shirts! Monster Fest presents in association with Umbrella Films ONE NIGHT ONLY screenings of Lords of Chaos on Friday, February 22nd in selected cinemas across Australia & New Zealand. STACK has eight double passes – one in each state – to give away. Enter now!