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Until the Light Takes Us (2008)

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Chronicles the history, ideology and aesthetic of Norwegian black metal - a musical subculture infamous as much for a series of murders and church arsons as it is for its unique musical and... See full summary »

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Cast overview:
Fenriz ...
Himself - Darkthrone (as Gylve 'Fenris' Nagell)
Varg Vikernes ...
Himself - Burzum (as Varg 'Count Grishnackh' Vikernes)
Øystein Aarseth ...
Himself - Mayhem (archive footage) (as Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth)
Hellhammer ...
Himself - Mayhem (as Jan Axel 'Hellhammer' Blomberg)
Per Ohlin ...
Himself - Mayhem (archive footage) (as Per 'Dead' Ohlin)
Olve Eikemo ...
Himself - Immortal (as Olve 'Abbath' Eikemo)
Harald Nævdal ...
Himself - Immortal (as Harald 'Demonaz' Nævdal)
Bjarne Melgaard ...
Himself - Visual Artist
Bård Eithun ...
Himself - Emperor (as Bård 'Faust' Eithun)
Kristoffer Rygg ...
Himself - Ulver (as Kristoffer 'Garm' Rygg)
Frost ...
Himself - Satyricon (as Kjetil 'Frost' Haraldstad)
Himself - Filmmaker


Chronicles the history, ideology and aesthetic of Norwegian black metal - a musical subculture infamous as much for a series of murders and church arsons as it is for its unique musical and visual aesthetics. This is the first (and only) film to truly shed light on a movement that has heretofore been shrouded in darkness and rumor and obscured by inaccurate and shallow depictions. Featuring exclusive interviews and verité with the musicians, a wealth of rare, seldom seen footage from the "Inner Circle"s earliest days, Until the Light Takes Us explores every aspect of the controversial movement that has captured the attention of the world. This is the movie that gets inside the minds and hearts of black metal's musicians. The filmmakers moved to Norway, living and filming there for two years. The movie is not about them though - it's about the extraordinary people and events that make black metal unique, unforgettable, and inevitable. This is black metal as seen through the eyes of ... Written by Audrey Ewell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Music. Arson. Murder. Art. Black Metal.


Documentary | Music


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Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

12 August 2010 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Mehri to fos na mas kerdisei  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,246 (USA) (4 December 2009)


$119,601 (USA) (26 March 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fenriz: Part of me wishes this whole thing hadn't become a trend, but, you know, people like to dress up.
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User Reviews

Interesting walk on the Dark Side of Metal...
12 April 2010 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

"Until The Light Takes Us" was an interesting documentary about the now-infamous events that took place in the Norwegian Black Metal scene in the early 90s. A small group of performers decided that their mission should include not only music, but a wave of anti-Christian activism aimed at kicking the religion out of Norway altogether, which resulted in numerous church burnings, several murders, and lots of generally anti-social behavior. I've never been a particularly big fan of the music style but have always found these events fascinating in a morbid sort of way. I can remember flipping through the U.K. metal mag "Terrorizer" back then and following all of the news reports about who killed who and who was in jail and so on and thinking "Wow, what is wrong with these people?" "Until the Light Takes Us" may not have helped me to understand the mindset behind these events any more than I did already, but it was an interesting ride nonetheless, into the dark underbelly of a music scene that became legendary in a terrifying sort of way.

The two main "characters" in "Until The Light Takes Us" are drummer "Fenriz" of Darkthrone (credited by some as the first "true" Black Metal band in Norway) and the infamous Varg Vikernes, aka "Count Grishnackh" of Burzum. Vikernes is interviewed at length from his jail cell in Trondheim, where he was serving a lengthy term for the murder of his Mayhem bandmate Euronymous and several church arsons (though I believe he's since been released since this film was shot). I understand that he's sort of Norway's version of Charles Manson nowadays, i.e. a "celebrity" criminal that everyone knows about. Vikernes saw the Black Metal scene as a platform and a vehicle for his political views (i.e. that Norway should reject Christianity outright and return to its Viking/Pagan origins). Vikernes actually comes off as rather good-humored and charming during his interviews, which makes him all the more scary when he describes how he murdered his former bandmate and makes it sound like it was no big deal at all. Fenriz, meanwhile is more or less the "voice of reason" in the film, i.e. a guy who was into it strictly for the music and wishes that all of the whoop-de-doo had never happened. He laments that once the hysteria began, tons of wanna-be's jumped on the bandwagon and started their own terror campaigns, and in his eyes, went totally against everything that Black Metal should've been. By the mid '90s Black Metal became a cartoonish, Satanic trend, and you can tell that Fenriz is sickened by it. I could sort of relate to where he was coming from; from a mainstream metal perspective, he reminded me of the "old" fans of Metallica who bemoaned their sudden popularity when they released "Enter Sandman" and became everyone's darling.

In addition to Fenriz and Vikernes, other interviewees include members of Mayhem, Satyricon, Immortal, and Emperor, some of whom have, shall we say, "interesting" views of the events that transpired in the early '90s. Viewers who are unfamiliar with Black Metal will either think these guys are all from Mars, or that they simply shouldn't be walking around loose. Footage from Norwegian news reports about the string of church arsons and Vikernes' trial (which appears to have been Norway's "Trial of the Century" judging from all the media hoopla) also illustrate what a big deal this was in this small country, while those outside of Norway probably had little to no idea of what was transpiring.

It would probably help to have some idea of who the players are before watching this movie; people who have never heard of Black Metal or know anything about the figures profiled in it are apt to be totally lost. The film could've used a narrator/voice-over at times to fill in gaps and to help things move along in a more linear fashion, and occasionally when a character lapses into his native Norwegian the sub-titles provided are hard to read, but overall I enjoyed "Until the Light Takes Us" and I imagine anyone with an interest in Black Metal, or true crime documentaries, will find it an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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