Back in late 1997, when Feral House issued Lords of Chaos and an edition of Burzum’s recording Filosofem, black metal was considered totally obscure. “We’re going to try to sell this book as True Crime; no one has ever heard about this form of music” said our distributor to us. Initial orders were paltry. And Nailed, our distributor for the Burzum recording, said they had trouble finding outlets for the Burzum record.
Soon enough, the book caught fire, maybe from one of those amazing, pagan-looking wooden Stave churches that Varg Vikernes burnt down. Authors Michael Moynihan & Didrik Søderlind received critical plaudits and a couple book awards.
Then a leftist music magazine strangely stated in a cover story feature that Lords of Chaos was nothing less than a frightening manifesto meant to turn teenagers into goose-stepping Nazis.
In 2004, around the time of the book’s first Revised Edition, Lords was optioned for a feature film, for which I co-wrote the screenplay. When the movie and its casting possibilities were announced in the press, we received threats from Varg Vikernes’ mother, the same woman who had earlier helped break him out of prison. Movies take a long time to actually get underway… now we hear that Lords of Chaos will go into production early in 2014, and be directed by Jonas Ackerlund, who had directed videos for Madonna and Lady Gaga, and put together the speed freak movie Spun. Best of all, Jonas performed with the band Bathory, a very early black metal incarnation.
But no amount of success comes without backlash. We started hearing from black metal fans who followed Varg Vikernes like lemmings that Varg HATED the book, and said so in his blog. Letters started to arrive that Lords of Chaos, once considered a fascist plot, was now some sort of Jewish plot to destroy black metal music. All these letters are now in our kooks file, but even so, strange ideas seem to have taken hold of black metal fans at large.
Today, we are releasing a book, Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, by black metal advocate Dayal Patterson, and where Lords of Chaos focused on the creation of a music form and its criminal aspects, Patterson’s huge and extremely well-illustrated book is nearly an encyclopedic approach with all of black metal’s bands and variants. Anyone interested in the music and its deviants will not want to miss it.