Jul 212013

I wrestled with myself about whether to continue writing about Varg Vikernes’ arrest in France on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack and its aftermath. About the only news we generally cover (and we don’t do anything like a comprehensive job of it) involves music, and this episode certainly doesn’t qualify. I also feel uncomfortable adding to the publicity about someone who I don’t want to publicize except to the extent he makes music as Burzum that’s worth hearing (and even then, I have some recurring qualms).

But I crossed a figurative bridge with the first post about Varg’s arrest and the second one about his release, and I’ve decided I might as well finish the story — or at least finish it as far as this site is concerned, especially because so many people read those first two posts.

As expected, Varg has now written — at length — about his arrest, interrogation, and release by French authorities. What may surprise some is that it is not a rant, nor does he seize on the events as an excuse to play the persecuted victim (at least not much) or to re-publish his anti-Semitic and racist ideologies. To the contrary, he is respectful and complimentary of the French police, particularly by contrast with his views about his treatment in Norway (which he refers to as “Soviet Norway”). Ironically, his treatment appears only to have solidified his love of France as an adopted home. Continue reading »

Jul 182013

Earlier this week we posted about the arrest of Burzum’s Varg Vikernes in France on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack. Based on reports at that time, the evidence justifying the arrest seemed thin. To close the loop on this story, French authorities have now released Varg after two days in custody.

According to news reports, the police failed to uncover evidence of any terrorist plot. However, it appears Varg will be charged with violating French law relating to incitement of racial hatred. If Varg’s writings violate French law, something about which I know nothing, it seems that such charges could have been brought long ago. This has the appearance of a face-saving maneuver, and though defending himself will no doubt be expensive, my guess is that Varg will relish the publicity, as well as the opportunity to write about his false arrest.

Here are excerpts of a July 18, BBC News report about Varg’s release:

“A Norwegian neo-Nazi musician has been released two days after he was arrested in central France on suspicion of “preparing a major terrorist act”.

Kristian Vikernes was arrested after his wife bought four rifles.

Officials say questioning of the suspect did not bring to light any evidence of a terrorist plot. Continue reading »

Jul 162013

This is breaking news, and therefore the details are sketchy and, as is often true with early reports of just about anything scandalous, there may be inaccuracies. However, news reports have appeared in Europe that Burzum’s Varg Vikernes has been arrested at his farm in France by the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence (DCRI) on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack. Reports indicate that Varg’s wife Marie Cachet has also been arrested.  I’m just going to quote THIS REPORT at Euronews for now (with a few comments after that), and update the post as more info becomes available (additional info has appeared at French publications, such as this one):

“Black metal musician and neo-nazi sympathiser Kristian “Varg” Vikernes was arrested in southwestern France on Tuesday after his wife bought four rifles, raising suspicions he could turn to violence, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

The police suspect the Norwegian national of planning a “massacre” and searched his house for weapons and explosives. His wife, a French national and a member of a shooting club, had recently legally purchased four rifles.

The anti-terrorist prosecutor has been put in charge of the investigation. In a statement, the French Ministry of the Interior deemed him “likely to prepare a large-scale act of terrorism.” Continue reading »

May 062013

In every field of artistic endeavor, whether it be music, painting, writing, sculpture, acting, filmmaking — you name it — there are examples of people who have created great works of art but are deplorable as human beings. They make you question yourself: Is it right for me to admire, enjoy, and even praise this person’s artistic work if the creator is someone whose actions or expressions outside of their art clash with my own principles and beliefs?

Metal is no exception to this quandary. Perhaps the single most notorious example is Varg Vikernes. On the one hand, he played a leading role in the origination and development of Norwegian black metal under the name Burzum (and as a member of Mayhem), and he has continued to create notable music under the Burzum name nearly two decades later. On the other hand, in 1994 he was convicted of murdering Mayhem guitarist Euronymous and burning churches in Norway, and he spent 16 years in prison for those crimes.

He has also written extensively about his own beliefs in the racial purity of Northern Europeans and the superiority of its pagan traditions, filling volumes’ worth of words with racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic diatribes. In Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, director Sam Dunn described him as “the most notorious metal musician of all time”, and it’s hard to disagree.

Well, metal may have seen the last of Varg Vikernes. In an April 30 post on one of his blogs (Thulean Perspective), he summed up his own role in the history of black metal and the evolution of that movement into what he terms “nihilstic shit”, ending with the proclamation that “I no longer play metal music”.  Continue reading »

Jan 092013

Burzum’s Varg Vikernes and his wife Marie Cachet have made a movie entitled ForeBears. But before getting to that, some background:

On the night of March 31, 2012, I discovered that someone had uploaded the entirety of the new, as-yet unreleased Burzum album Umskiptar to YouTube. At the same time, whoever manages Varg’s web page uploaded a batch of photos of Varg wearing, among other things, chain mail and an archaic helmet. The YouTube stream didn’t stay up for long, but long enough for me to listen to the album once. On April 1, I posted (here) a generally unflattering review along with some snarky comments about Varg and those photos.

That post became a gathering point for a ton of comments, mostly from people who are not regular visitors to NCS, and it still gets a lot of traffic to this day. I’m not sure why — maybe because it was such an early review of Umskiptar. It also led Varg’s wife Marie Cachet (though I didn’t know she was his wife at that time) to ask that I remove the Varg photos that I had added to my article — which she had made — because I posted them without her permission. I then had a very polite e-mail exchange with her, and she graciously agreed to allow me to keep the photos with the post after adding proper credit, despite the fact that I was poking fun at them. Continue reading »

Apr 012012

Seems like it was only last year that Varg Vikernes released the most recent Burzum album, Fallen, possibly because Fallen was released only last year. Nevertheless, Varg is already preparing to release another Burzum album this May, with the name of Umskiptar, which means “metamorphoses”. According to Varg, the album’s concept is “a deeply rooted European (i.e. Pagan) Stoic concept of changes. This concept was chosen in a world heading for a new Ice Age, and can therefore also be seen as critique of all the popular political movements of our age of lies.”

The lyrics (in Norwegian) are all drawn from a Norse poem called “Völuspá”. Varg explains that Umskiptar is “a return-to-the-roots album for me, with a strong focus on atmosphere and wholeness rather than anything else.” He also says that the vocals on the album “are more important than on any other Burzum album, and more varied too – and as honest as it gets.”

You don’t have to take Varg’s word for it — and of course no one in their right mind would take Varg’s word for much of anything — because at some point in the last 48 hours either he or someone acting with his approval someone also uploaded the entire new album to YouTube. As far as Burzum music is concerned, this is was pretty much an ideal situation for me, because it allows me to hear the music (a) without paying for it (because I really don’t want to give Varg any of my money), and (b) without stealing it (because I don’t even want to steal from Varg).

Also, I would like to applaud Varg for making it even easier not to take much of anything he says seriously by posting a batch photos to his web site and Facebook page yesterday, most of which I thought were just embarrassing. Specifically, he published 13 promo photos of himself as the “Hunter”, decked out in camouflage, wearing a helmet vaguely reminiscent of WWII-era German army headgear, and armed with . . . a crossbow. He also posted a different series of photos depicting himself as “WargaR”, garbed in chain mail and a Viking helmet but not really looking all that menacing. Continue reading »

Dec 262010

Despite all my humbuggery about Christmas, yesterday was a good day, spent with family, unmarred by even one Christmas song. In what little time I spent listening to metal, I wandered back to a long song I’d discovered only the day before and have been listening to repeatedly. It’s called “Glemselens Elv” and it’s by Burzum. In other words, it’s by Varg Vikernes, from the 2010 comeback album called Belus. It’s an amazing piece of music, and so I decided to add another chapter to the mini-series on long songs that I thought I’d finished weeks ago. (What I thought was the last post in the series is here.)

According to Vikernes, Belus is “the name of the ancient European solar deity of light and innocence”, a more ancient name for Baldur — the “White God”, which was the original name planned for the album until it stirred up such controversy that Vikernes abandoned it. He further explains on the Burzum web site:

Belus is not a religious album or an anti-religious album, nor is it a political one, but an attempt to explore the myths about Belus and unveil the oldest roots of our cultural heritage. The album deals with the death of Belus, his sombre journey through the realm of death and his magnificent return. In essence the album and the story of Belus is meant to be an entertaining story about something that once upon a time played a major role in the forming and shaping of Europe. . . .

Inspiration for the album has come from a variety of sources, and I find my inspiration from fairy tales and myths, from classical music, from memories of what once was, from traditional music, from fantasy, from the wind and weather, from deep forests and running water, from the sky and the sunset, from misty mountains and from yellow leaves falling from age old trees.

Vikernes recorded the song in 2008 in the Tromsø prison, the year before his parole after serving 15 years of a 21-year sentence for burning churches and for the murder of his Mayhem bandmate, Euronymous. (more after the jump, including the song . . .) Continue reading »

Mar 132010

When we started this site, we committed to ourselves (and to you) that we would post something new here every day — rain or shine, weekdays and weekends, holidays and mornings-after-binging — no exceptions. Inevitably, something will happen and someday we’ll fail to live up to that commitment. But so far, so good.

Thinking of something new to add every day that meets even our minimalist standards hasn’t been easy. Sure, there’s always new music to hear and then write about, but that takes a fair amount of time, which we don’t always have. So, sometimes we let our minds wander around the interwebz, just to see what might make an impression.

Like yesterday. Two things caught our eye: (1) a recent interview by black metal legend, convicted murderer and arsonist, and recently reinvigorated Norwegian recording artist Varg Vikernes; and (2) more info than we wanted to know about the artificial insemination of an elephant that was perpetrated earlier this week in Seattle, as reported in grotesque detail by the city’s daily newspaper.

Are these two items related to each other? Well, not actually, though pairing them in the title to this post seemed like an eye-catchingly good idea. Do they both relate to extreme metal? Uh, not actually. What the fuck, we fudged a bit. So sue us. Actually, don’t sue us. Read these bits instead, which include our always-incisive commentary (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »