LORDS OF CHAOS: THE BLOODY RISE OF THE SATANIC METAL UNDERGROUND by Michael Moynihan and Didrek Soderlind
Lords of Chaos focuses on the scene surrounding black metal in Norway in the early 1990s, with a focus on the string of church burnings and murders that occurred in the country around 1993.
The 2003 edition of LORDS OF CHAOS is revised and expanded, adding fifty new pages, detailing outbreaks of Black Metal crime in Finland, Germany and the United States; and includes the secret history of occult Rock, a new section on Varg Vikernes’ promulgation of bizarre Aryan UFO theories, and material on the career of Hendrik Mobus, an international neo-Nazi fugitive. This award-winning exposé features hundreds of rare photos and exclusive interrogations with priests, police officers, Satanists, and leaders of demonic bands who believe the greater evil spawns the greatest glory.
“The authors of Lords of Chaos clearly know the international Metal/Satanism picture and, largely through interviews, have brought information to light of which religion scholars as well as the general public ought to be aware… highly recommended.”
— Robert Ellwood, Historian of Religion, writing in Nova Religio
“With Lords of Chaos Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind paint a portrait of a fantastic realm where Satanism, neo-paganism and National Socialism energized a musical scene in which fantasy was actualized in the burning of medieval churches in Norway …a uniquely valuable history of Black Metal music in general and of the Norwegian scene in particular as it is viewed by the participants themselves.Lords of Chaos is a compelling work deserving of a wide readership on both sides of the Atlantic.”
— Dr. Jeffrey Kaplan, author of Radical Religion in America
“This definitive study of Black Metal bridges the gap between fans and students of music subcultures, avoiding the twin evils of fanzine hype and academic detachment. Wise, witty and informative, Moynihan and Soderlind have written a model genre study in an engagingly accessible style through which their deep understandings shine.”
— Deena Weinstein, author of Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology
“An unusual combination of true crime journalism, rock and roll reporting and underground obsessiveness, Lord of Chaos turns into one of the more fascinating reads in a long time. This unpredictable collection of interviews, histories, quotes and anecdotes stares long and hard into the dark heart of the Satanic Black Metal movement and returns with a sober analysis on the subject.
To their credit, Moynihan and Soderlind manage to avoid both the frequent flippancy of the mainstream media as well as the backward bending apologizing of the counter culture press. For them, the world of Black Metal offers legitimate insights into art, ethics and politics, but they never forget just how strange these people are…”
— David Thomas, The Denver Post
“A fascinating study in extremism… Lords of Chaos is the rare exception, proving of interest not just to fans of the genre, but also to any students of true crime, sociology, and cultism. This both intelligent and accessible book will definitely serve as the textbook on the black metal scene for years to come.”
— Bay Area Music News
“Gripping stuff, a book about scary rock that is really scary.”
“Long the source of rumors, wildly exaggerated stories, and misinformation, the saga of black metal has finally been been chronicled intelligently and accurately [shows] the blood-red dividing line between the drama of antichrist superstars and the limits of human reality.”
“A meticulously researched exposé… a fascinating read. If you thought the feuds associated with Death Row Records were a bit over-the-top, then take a glimpse into the dark corners of the metal underground.”
— The Face
“This exhaustive, near-academic look at metal’s satanic underground simultaneously traces the Devil’s ascent through rock history and provide cultural antecedents for music-related violence and paganism.”
— Alternative Press
“Lords of Chaos is a brilliantly interwoven, if unlikely, bundle of journalistic branches-music, true-crime, occult, and subcultural anthropology. [It] benefits immeasurably from the authors’ commitment to long-term study, and the care they’ve taken to convey the contradictions and differences within the scene, demolishing the oversimplified coverage in the sensationalistic press.”
“Well-written and highly academic… A non-fiction take on the cultural, political, and social implications of a music realm gone mad… I was somewhat hesitant in picking up a book which might fall into a trap of adding to the notoriety of the sporadically violent media pariahs it portrays, but Moynihan and Soderlind don’t do them any favors.”
— Wet Ink
“Paints a grim picture of the infamous Norwegian death metal scene in the early ’90s… Testimonies reveal a lethal brand of childish, psychopathic obsession vastly more scary than the ponderous and deliberately offensive music scene that spawned them.”
”[Lords of Chaos] includes not only the sensationalistic, fiery, blood-and-guts side of the black metal story, but the elegant and passionate side as well; the life-and-death struggle by a few dedicated young people to rise above the mediocrity and complacence that surrounded them.”
“A fascinating and deeply tragic story supported by hilarious photographs.”
“A riveting read, equal parts history, sociopolitical analysis, and true crime.”
“The most exciting book since the Old Testament … a masterwork of music history.”
— Spex (Germany)
“Finally someone has compiled an exhaustive resource regarding the seamy and Satanic side of pop music and culture. Whatever your musical or religious outlook, this book has the facts you need to understand what’s going on in Death Metal music.”
— Bob Larson, radio & TV personality, author of numerous Christian-oriented books on Satanism, the Occult, and contemporary culture.
“Speaking of dark and twisted reads, Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind’s Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground has everything: wacky Norwegians burning down churches to get back at Christians for stamping out Odin worship, murder, suicide, more than you ever wanted to know about the Norway vs. Sweden black-metal rivalries, and the (d)evolution from theatrical Satanic to slightly-more-serious Wotanic Nazi metal, Plenty of interviews-from the late Anton LaVey to Norwegian metal villain Varg Vikernes-make this a mighty entertaining bedtime reader.”
“Brilliantly interwoven… Lords of Chaos benefits immeasurably from the authors’ commitment to long-term study, and the care they’ve taken to convey the contradictions and differences inherent in the [Black Metal] scene, demolishing the oversimplified coverage in the sensationalist press.”
— Brian Hodge, horror novelist
“Lords of Chaos brings much light into a realm of darkness where previously rumors and mystical transfigurations had reigned.”
— Visions (Germany)
“Rev up a chainsaw. Flick on the blender and a couple of power drills. Stand directly behind an F-16, right before it blasts off into space. A jackhammer should do to set the tempo. Now get down on all fours, contort your face into the wickedest grimace you can muster, and scream until your vocal chords collapse. If all of this makes you feel just the least bit ridiculous, hit yourself in the face with a roofing hammer until you can’t laugh anymore. There now. Listen carefully. This is what Black Metal sounds like.
Black Metal’s “medieval Satanism” is the logical fulfillment of Christianity’s worst apocalyptic fantasies, or at least the ones the media have irresponsibly legitimized. It is rebellion taken to its natural conclusion … destruction for its own sake, an adrenalized nihilism that revels in every toppled steeple. Lords of Chaos … lets the genre’s more luminous personalities speak for themselves, stringing countless first-hand interviews into a seamless chronological narrative. It’s a task few other writers could have pulled off, whether geeked-up music journalists or academic outsiders. Surprisingly balanced, exhaustingly thorough, and—lest we forget that a lot of these folks come across more like professional wrestlers than terrorists—darkly humorous, it is a comprehensive look at a phenomenon that’s rarely been scrutinized.”
— Vor Tru