Corpse paint, odes to the underworld, music that summons the brutal, cut-to-the-bone Arctic chill of Scandinavia — this is Norwegian black metal. Or as Satyricon's drummer, Frost, puts it, this is "Darkness with a capital 'D.' "
In 1991, Norway spawned a second wave of black metal (a raw, shrieky, blistering splinter sect of heavy metal), and with it came a bewildering flood of suicide, arson, and murder. At its epicenter were the aptly named Mayhem, whose reign was marked by a maelstrom of violence that claimed the lives of two pivotal members.
In this glacially paced yet gripping documentary, directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell answer the question "How the hell did this happen?" through the intertwining narratives of various scene heavyweights — especially Burzum's Varg Vikernes and Darkthrone's Fenriz. Among the highlights: footage of the torchlit, subterranean record store Helvete; a scene in which Fenriz defends his love of techno to an aghast fan; and (inexplicably) Harmony Korine tap-dancing his way through his own black-metal tribute, "The Sigil of the Cloven Hoof Marks Thy Path."