“I don’t think of myself as someone who can paint. That’s why I quit art school…” explains Gaahl to Vice TV, the lead vocalist of Gorgoroth, the most feared black metal band in Norway. The ex-painter turned musician, Satanist and convicted felon goes on to liken violence that began self defense to art. “It’s like a painting,” he says, “you don’t stop until it’s finished.” Of course by this rationale you’d think he’d be creating the most overworked paintings on the planet, since he is comparing art making to torturing a victim for 6 hours and collecting their blood in a cup.
Gaahl’s art doesn’t give the viewer too much additional insight to his psyche, but it adds shape to an already nuanced documentary portrait on the band and lead singer. The five part series titled True Norwegian Black Metal features interviews with Norwegian music journalists, band members, and the documentarians themselves, challenging Terrorizer magazine’s title for Gaahl, as “the most evil man alive”.
More likely, he’s simply a sociopath who needs more alone time than his isolated village and band life permits. Showing the singer to be thoughtful and considered, part 3 of the documentary includes musings on religion such as “God is within nature, and nature will always grow that is the force within all life” and incredulous recollections from the documentarians in response to Gaahl’s unprompted decision to take each of them aside to give them remarkably valuable feedback on how to improve their lives. This of course, is juxtaposed with the artist roughly explaining in part 4, “…Just by saying no to someone you’ve punished them enough. And some you probably need to cut to small pieces and sew back together.”
Disturbed rationalization of violent acts aside, the documentary makes certain to express the band’s desire to present a message — the word of Satan — over the music. Or to put it a different way, says former drummer Kvitrafn, “We demand something from the listener.” And indeed they do.
To watch the five part series (all but the last video is 5 minutes each) click here.