Norwegian diplomats given crash course in black metal as part of their training

Norwegian Foreign Service wants its diplomats schooled in the genre

The violence that erupted from the Norwegian black metal scene of the early '90s still has the power to chill the blood. The horrifying moral vacuum at the heart of the scene is illustrated by the suicide of Per Yngve Ohlin (aka Dead), vocalist with the band Mayhem (pictured here years after his death) in 1991. His body was found by bandmate Euronymous, who calmly took photographs of the gory scene, one of which emerged on the sleeve of a bootleg Mayhem live album.
Newly recruited diplomats in Norway are being educated about the history of black metal as part of their training.

According to a report in Kerrang!, the Norwegian Foreign Service has educated 20 of its newest diplomats in black metal, its history and the perception it presents of the Scandinavian country.

Steinar Lindberg, a spokesman for the Norwegian Foreign Service said: "The objectivity is to show Norwegian culture in all its diversity. In Italy, Japan or France, young people are learning Norwegian to decrypt the lyrics. Black metal is an export product and it's important that future diplomats are interested in it."

Black metal has a turbulent history, with church burnings, murder and violent crime among the unpleasant associations with the genre.

The genre's most notorious occasion came in 1994, when Varg Vikernes, singer in black metal band Burzum murdered Øystein Aarseth, singer of fellow band Mayhem. He was released from prison in 2009.

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