Pure Fucking Mayhem: A film by Stefan Rydehed

mayhemdvd

By Ola Mazzuca

Black Metal is so difficult to explain to an outsider that you nearly give up before you begin to speak, which makes it probable that no matter how many books or films based on the topic, they will have a clear understanding of its purpose and meaning, which is why I love this sub-genre so much.

Stefan Rydheid takes a different approach in making a metal doc, shifting all of his attention to one band that made the greatest amount of Scandinavian newspaper headlines in the 90s, involving all things evil.

Pure Fucking Mayhem
is a film painted by various interviews of both the prominent and unknown, where much is discussed on the personalities of Mayhem’s infamous band members who have made a significant impact to Norwegian Black Metal.

Above all, the graphic design and packaging of the DVD had to be one of the most misleading aspects of the film, due to it’s visually pleasing aesthetic compared to the somewhat bland viewing of the film itself.

The beginning of the film is a true depiction of Mayhem’s humble beginning in Norway, as told by original members Necrobutcher (Jorn Stubberud) and Kjetil Manheim (where did he come from?). Not only is the film a portrayal of internal band conflict and relationships, but insight on the extremist beliefs and actions that would later form a violent stereotype for all bands in the genre.

Manheim and Stubberud particularly shed some light on Per Ingve Ohlin, otherwise known as Dead, and his approach to life, philosophies and dark habits that would build to shape his stage persona and Mayhem as a whole. With stories of Dead performing self-mutilation at live shows and burying his clothes in soil for several days to evoke the aura of a carcass, the black metal progenitor is truly depicted as an eccentric character that was both adored and loathed.

But these types of discussions and stories are not new to the black metal scene, for it simply thrives on the tall tales of evil acts. Sure, it was stated that Euronymous ate parts of Dead’s brain to claim himself a cannibal, but is this information true, or is it just a way to exaggerate the genre’s history a little more? Surprisingly enough, Necrobutcher had a strong aversion to his actions and the media sensation these events and statements caused which became his primary reason for his first departure from the band.

Attila Csihar, Mayhem’s current Hungarian vocalist makes some appearances and speaks mainly about the band’s past and progression towards the future in musical terms.

Throughout the film, which spans for approximately 90 minutes, only four people were interviewed in total. Sure, some intimate and gruesome stories were shared, but not enough varied perspectives were present to keep the film fresh and interesting with unique opinions brought to the table.

I do value a good story, thorough research and intriguing information, but as far as the technical aspects of the film, the cinematography was shot in one screen direction for each interviewee on a tripod, with no shift in camera angles or scenery, making it evident that each person’s interview was done in a single shot or day.

After a while, by analyzing the tone of Necrobutcher or Attila’s voice, a sense of boredom or inebriation shines through, with their slow and contemplative responses that will be sure to leave any viewer on edge.

In response to the lack of views provided in the film, I strongly question why the entity of Mayhem and extended associates of the band were not interviewed on the band’s grisly past. Maybe they wanted nothing to do with another production made to provide shock factor for the fresh meat of the metal scene or perhaps the paycheck was not big enough for them to spew their personal beliefs on the little details.

I don’t want to knock down what Rydehed has done to compile his collection of information, for it is obvious that he just wanted to retell a story that had fascinated him for so long, in search of the facts rather than the fiction.

It remains to be seen why Pure Fucking Mayhem was lacking oomph in many areas, but if one is eager to create something that will keep eyeballs glued to the screen, especially those of artistic metalheads nonetheless, a blind eye should never be turned to all variety, information, creativity and tools the world has to offer in order to produce something fantastic.

(Index Video/Prophecy Productions)

Rating: 6.0

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.

  • Marco Baril

    yeah!