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.
The suicide of Mayhem vocalist Dead has given rise to some of the black metal scene's darkest legends. He shot himself in the head, having written a suicide note that read simply: "Excuse all the blood". Upon finding his body, bandmate Euronymous made a necklace out of fragments of his skull. Pictured here is Maniac, who replaced Dead as Mayhem vocalist.
Another ugly feature of the Norwegian black metal scene was church-burning. Over 50 acts of anti-Christian arson were recorded between 1992 and 1996. Aside from scene ringleader Varg Vikernes, those convicted of church-burning included Samoth and Faust of the band Emperor.
The notorious Norwegian black metal scene returned to the headlines recently. Varg Vikernes, infamous frontman of Norwegian black metallers Burzum and convicted murderer, is set to be released from prison after serving 16 years of a 21 year sentence. The singer, who formerly styled himself as Count Grishnackh, was jailed for the killing of Ã
Many of the black metal scene's ugliest elements - militant opposition to Christianity, occultism, extreme far-right sympathies - came together in the form of Immortal. Early drummer Kolgrim decribed their sound as "pure holocaust metal". His successor, called simply Grim, committed suicide in 1999.
Some of the bands implicated in black metal's darkest chapter are still active today - most notably Emperor, whose drummer Faust was recently released from prison after serving 14 years for the fatal stabbing a homosexual man in Lillehammer, Norway on 21 August 1992. Faust is no longer in the band, but guitarist Samoth (jailed in 1994 for church-burning) is.
The Norwegian black metal scene of the early '90s is regarded as the darkest, most sinister chapter in music history. Under the influence of a toxic combination of Satanism, far-right politics and pagan mysticism, a small coterie of musicians (led by Varg Vikernes of Burzum, whose debut album sleeve is pictured here) committed acts of suicide, arson and murder.
Varg Vikernes, aka Burzum's Count Grishnackh, as he appears today, having served 16 years of a 21-year prison sentence for the murder of Ã