Norwegian Übër-Bläck-Mëtäl Devotees Captured In New Portrait Book

( Image above by Peter Beste. You're welcome! ) The LA Weekly has a feature up about a new book with portraits of very serious Norwegian Black Metal dudes. In True Norwegian Black Metal, photographer Peter Beste captures the "blackest of the black: apolitical and anti-Christian separatist self-preservationists who'd sooner make a lampshade out of their own skin than to try to convert fans." Snip from Siran Babayan's piece:

Take, for example, Immortal singer-bassist Abbath strolling through the woods surrounded by moss-covered emerald trees ("That's essentially his backyard"), or Gorgoroth singer Gaahl standing in front of a snow-capped log cabin. Every turn of the page is a moving postcard of brooks, lakes and forrests. Which begs the question: With all the serenity and breathtaking views, what's to rebel against? Apparently, Mother Nature makes mean Vikings out of little boys. If Black Sabbath were a product of bleak, industrial Birmingham, it should be no surprise that music this extreme thrives in a country with such high precipitation and so many months of either uninterrupted daylight or darkness.

So don't let the scenery fool you. These are some disturbed and disturbing fuckers, whether it's guitarist Ymon of Perished with his arms covered in branding marks, or Nattefrost of Carpathian Forest smoking heroin off tin foil or a nude female model being painted in cow's blood before she's about to be hung from a cross for a Gorgoroth show in Krakow. Nearly everyone is wearing a scowl, corpse paint and spikes. And Beste's grossest moment has him shooting Nattefrost smeared in his own shit.

Of all the bands featured, Beste focuses on the Tolkien-inspired Gorgoroth and its lead troublemaker Gaahl, who's been arrested twice for alleged assault and torture, and whose face, with its sunken cheeks, looks even creepier without makeup. And that Krakow gig in 2004 not only included human crucifixes but sheep heads mounted on sticks. (Dude, one photo of decapitated sheep heads would've been enough.)

Images of Satan (LA Weekly), and there's a terrific slideshow here (NSFW). Here's the Amazon link if you'd like to buy the book. (Thanks Richard Metzger)