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Yet another black metal documentary

by Cosmo Lee

Another day, another black metal documentary. A fellow named William Shackleford is filming a new black metal documentary called Out of the Black. He is a Christian in Kentucky who runs “The Rural Democrat,” a Democrat-slanted blog. Evidently he has been exchanging emails with Varg Vikernes. You can’t make this stuff up. The press page for the documentary is here.

The field of black metal documentaries is already overcrowded. (Why can’t someone make a doom metal documentary?) At least seven eight exist — not counting that upcoming Hollywood trainwreck.

Black Metal: A Documentary

This is by the infamous Bill Zebub. (Evidently, he has done another black metal documentary, and is working on yet another one called Black Metal: The Music of Satan.) The documentary is online in 13 parts. The first part is here. (Use the “Related Videos” sidebar to see the other parts.) The first part has a good bit by Cronos of Venom where he calls the Norwegian black metal scene “not black metal.”

Black Metal Satanica

I heard this was decent. Evidently it focuses on the religious/anti-religious aspects of the music. It is available online, in nine parts. The first part is here; use “Related Videos” for the rest.

Det Svarte Alvor

A Norwegian documentary from 1994. I have not seen this one. It is online in four parts (subtitles included): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

NRK1 Black Metal Documentary

A 2003 documentary on Norwegian state TV (subtitles included). I have trouble watching this because the female host is distractingly hot. It is viewable online in four parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Pure Fucking Mayhem

This came out recently. I haven’t seen this (I gave away my copy in a giveaway here), but evidently it’s decent. It’s not about black metal in general, but obviously the band’s history relates to the genre’s history. The trailer is here. The first chapter is online in two parts: Part 1, Part 2

Satan Rides the Media

Media about the media: a 1998 Norwegian documentary about press coverage of the church burnings, etc. Online in six parts (subtitles included): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

True Norwegian Black Metal

This is the infamous Vice TV documentary on Gaahl. It is enormously entertaining in ways it did not intend. You can see it online in five parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Until the Light Takes Us

We reviewed this here. This is the recent documentary focusing on Fenriz and Varg Vikernes. Evidently it does not try to encompass black metal as a whole. The trailer is here.

Tired yet? I am, and I haven’t even seen most of these. I’m sure they’re interesting in various ways, but I just don’t care to have black metal explained so much. It’s supposed to be full of mystery and magic(k). Reducing it to talking heads misses the point. By far my most fulfilling experiences with black metal have been hearing it in headphones and immersing myself in the music. My favorite black metal bands aren’t big names. They won’t make it into documentaries — and I prefer it that way. I’d rather discover them on my own terms.

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