Sunday, May 31, 2009

Never Enough Metal Shows & Documentaries Department

I don't want to get too in-depth into either subject, but to touch base:

I attended Pagan Fest 2 earlier this month. It rocked. We missed the first couple of bands, which sucked--I wanted to see Oakhelm!--but I really liked Blackguard, Primordial, and Korpiklaani a lot.

And since people have asked: It's called "Pagan Fest" because most of the bands on the bill are pagans. (I'm not sure about Swashbuckle, who does what they call "pirate metal", and was thus automatically the goofiest act on the bill--but they did know their thrash!) They write songs that include references to their non-Abrahamic beliefs and mythologies. This is not a new phenomenon in metal. Bathory changed mid-career from singing about Satan and evil, to singing about the Norse gods and battle. I am sure I can dig further and find older examples if you need, however. It should not be surprising that paganism in metal is prevalent, and can support its own scene.

I also got to see the documentary, Until the Light Takes Us, which is a very candid look at the roots of the Norwegian black metal scene. It pulled no punches, but it succeeded in finding the souls behind the mythology of Norwegian black metal. Fenriz, drummer for the seminal black metal band Darkthrone, comes across as a fairly thoughtful and complex character with a sense of humor and a defiant desire to remain underground even as black metal explodes into an international phenomenon. Even Varg Vikernes, whose reputation comes across as extremely evil, seems more like someone who summoned up that which he could not put down, rather than the grand master of some malevolent scheme. The story is presented in a way that by and large proves both accessible to novices and fascinating to followers of the black metal genre. I only have one objection--I didn't mind the addition of artists who were using black metal as the subject of their gallery showings, but... TAP DANCE? No, sorry, that was epic fail. The rest of the movie was too fantastic for me to care, however. Do check it out if at all possible--there are to be theatrical releases and DVDs to be announced.


d.bellwether said...

I like your writing.

Do you have a copy of that film yourself?

~ Rose ~

Popess Lilith said...

Why, thank you, Rose!

But no, as of yet it is only having occasional showings. They played it at the Northwest Film Festival, and it's only been played at festivals so far. As I mentioned, a general theatrical release and DVD is expected later this year.

BTW, NWFF announced before the showing that they've never sold out on a Thursday night--until that night. That was the most metal movie crowd I've ever seen, too. Most of us wore band t-shirts and studs of one sort or another. Very impressive. I do wonder if the filmmakers--who were there to answer questions--were concerned at all about the reaction of such a largely metal-fan audience. I guess not, given who they hung out with in order to make this movie. ;)