Aaron Aites/Aubrey Ewell – Until the Light Takes Us DVD (Variance Films)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Black metal hasn’t been able to hide in its once-reclusive sphere in eons, so it was only a matter of time before it became the subject of a feature film, which Until the Light Takes Us is. Released in select theaters in late 2009, the film rounds up a select cast of BM notables to inquire about obvious topics like the scene’s formation, its subsequent rise, demise, and social impact. What is common knowledge to a lot of us (church burnings, Satanism, etc.) could be shocking to others, so that in itself provides the need for a film like this.

The mouthpiece and central figure of the film is Darkthrone drummer Fenriz (aka Glyve Nagell), which makes perfect sense – the man is never at a loss for words. Fenriz’s English and appearance (he looks quite young; boyish even) lends the necessary human aspect to the film. Striking the counterbalance is Burzum’s Varg Vikernes, who (aside from being a noted racist) is smug, arrogant, and flippant. The film makes no inroads toward glorifying Vikernes’s past “misgivings,” but it’s able to shed some light on the man’s (twisted) social and religious views.

Little in terms of how black metal actually sounds is discussed, which is fine – the producers would probably miscategorize it anyway. Mayhem’s Hellhammer proves to be even-keeled when discussing the death of fellow bandmates Dead and Euronymous, in spite of vouching for Bard Faust (ex-Emperor) and his killing of a homosexual. The pair of Abbath and Demonaz from Immortal manage to steal a few scenes, only because they were free and clear of any criminal mischief. Satyricon/1349 drummer Frost (who looks even more messed-up without his corpse-paint) is shown performing at an art showing where he burns down paintings and proceeds to (fake) mutilate himself.

The Norwegian black metal story is too long and convoluted to tell in one film and if filmmakers Aaron Aites and Aubrey Ewell are looking to start some social debates and rekindle some past fires (great pun, we know), then Until the Light Takes Us could certainly warrant some fresh discussion in North America. Everywhere else, black metal is not quite the fascination…


(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)

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