I don’t listen to Norwegian black metal. Until about two hours ago, I couldn’t have told you anything about it, and after spending the better part of that time learning about it, I can’t say I’m rushing to find a download link. But Until the Light Takes Us is just a fascinating film, and for that hour and a half I was immersed in a subculture completely foreign to me. Released to mixed reviews in 2009, the film is the product of directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell’s vision, a documentary compiled through years of interviews and archival footage with some of Norwegian black metal‘s most controversial figures.
That most critiques of Until the Light center around the overly sympathetic, romanticizing tone it takes toward its subjects only makes sense. The story of black metal is, after all, primarily documented as a result of controversy– a series of church burnings, a handful of murders, and some grisly suicides, to be more specific. Beyond that though, the film explores the troubling ideology behind those actions, and behind a cultural phenomenon that captured the world’s attention at its peak in the mid-’90s. For those curious enough, it’s an experience, to say the least. Read on for the full movie.