1/10/15

UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US (2008)

Written by Greigh Johanson

This documentary got its outbreak in 2008 and since then it has puzzled a large crowd of diehard enthusiasts. The title "Until The Light Takes Us" is directly taken and translated from Burzums album "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss". People might think I'm late to behold this film, but the truth is that I actually have shot most of my previous Black Metal live aside. I haven't actually bothered about upcoming projects until now. This is only one documentary of the crowd that I've missed over the years, but different from what I have seen before, you'll get a better idea about what is true and what is bullshit.


This documentary tells the story about Black Metal, what the genre stands for and on parts from the music scene and its cultural rebellion. It goes further into the depth and partially removes the things that upsets the artist in question. Black Metal leapt over the world of fame in the mid-nineties, when a wave of suicides, murders and fires of churches was followed by an explosive artistic growth and production of musical life that would forever redefine what "heavy metal" is and what it stands for in accordance with other musicians, artists and music fans worldwide. This film goes behind the highly sensational media reports of "Satanists running amok in Europe" to examine the complex and largely misunderstood principles and beliefs that led to the revolt against both Christianity and modern culture.


To successfully capture this spectacle on film, the directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell traveled to Norway and lived with, among others "Fenriz" (Darkthrone) and "Frost" (Satyricon) for several years. They built up relationships that allowed them to create a surprisingly intimate portrait of this violent, but ultimately misunderstood movement. The result was a poignant and touching story that is as much about the idea that reality consists of that which is about a music scene that paved the way for murder and arson across the northern sky.

The documentary focuses on three elements: the music, the culture and the people. What is new and what is old is entirely up to you as a viewer to decide. But based on previous films, I see this subject as taboo. On a broken and depraved way I see how fucking tired and sad Fenriz is on this shit. All the memories that he would rather forget, has now been torn up again; These iterative approach we find in other films like "Once Upon a Time in Norway", "When Satan Rides The Media" and "True Norweigan Black Metal".

The only depiction of this documentary is that we may have access to different adventures and discoveries along with artists and musicians. Fenriz travels to Stockholm, Sweden and go to an art exhibition where Bjarne Melgaard has set up a project about the former Black Metal scene in Norway. We will also see a funny appearance by director Harmoney Korein, where he so adorable dancing around with corpse-paint. But the sad thing with this color shift (which had actually been able to accomplish something good) was that Fenriz never asked any questions to the artist. He just stood there, focused on the art and dreamed back to the old days. It would have been nice to have seen some spontaneous reflections and hear what he really thought about the exhibition and the actual idea about it. But it felt more like Bjarne's art did not appeal to Fenriz at all.

During the second half of the film we meet Varg Vikernes, this was still during the time he was incarcerated in prison. But the answers he gives way to; the old rumors about him, is extremely interesting to listen to. It's this part of the documentary that feels renewed. Vikernes has outgrown his boots, he has become wiser and here he's trying to investigate a story about what really happened before he went to jail. Sure, his story and picture of the whole thing may be false, I don't care. But it was really interesting to see his opinions about the case.

Qualitatively, I thought it was good that the sound was changed between time and space in this documentary. It felt more authentic, just like that I was near the performers mystery. The scene where Bjarne has exhibited "Frost" in the performance of "Kill Me Before I Do It Myself" is insanely good, beautiful and demanding. It's scary and above the true, decadent black metal environment.

As a documentary, I think you should focus on this newer material. It feels like a waste of time to watch the old material that has incorporated new ideas over the years. It's obviously worth giving it a try, even if I found this documentary only was a small part of what already exists out there.



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