Vikernes during his last year in prison (2009)
|Birth name||Kristian Vikernes|
|Also known as||Count Grishnackh; Greifi Grishnackh; ('The Count'); Greven; Louis Cachet|
11 February 1973 |
|Genres||Black metal, ambient|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass, drums, synthesizer, keyboards, vocals|
|Associated acts||Burzum, Mayhem, Old Funeral, Darkthrone|
In 1991, he founded the one-man music project Burzum and became part of the early Norwegian black metal scene. In 1992, he was allegedly involved in burning down at least three Christian churches in Norway, along with other members of the scene. By early 1993, Vikernes had recorded four albums as Burzum and another with fellow black metal band Mayhem. In May 1994, Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years for the murder of Mayhem guitarist Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth and for the arson of churches. He maintains that he killed in self-defense and denied responsibility for the church arsons, though he supported them.
During his time in prison he became affiliated with the Heathen Front and had several writings on Germanic paganism published. He also recorded and released two electronic albums as Burzum. Having served almost 15 years of his sentence, Vikernes was released on parole in early 2009. He settled in France with his wife and children, where he continued releasing music and writing. Through his writings he promotes a neo-völkisch ideology which he calls "Odalism", based on the idea that White Europeans should re-adopt native European values, including elements of traditional paganism. He advocates white nationalism, nordicism, social conservatism, and survivalism.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personal beliefs and views
- 3 Publicity
- 4 Works
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Sources
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Background, childhood and adolescence
Vikernes does not have a published biography (authorized or unauthorized), but some information can be gathered from interviews he has given and from articles on the web page www.burzum.org. Michael Moynihan, one of the authors of Lords of Chaos, has been described as "quite active in the propaganda support network for Vikernes".
In the interviews printed in Lords of Chaos, Vikernes discusses his background and childhood. Lords of Chaos also includes an interview with his mother, Helene Bore (the book and a newspaper depicted there refer to her with the given name 'Lene', whereas Vikernes' own website uses the name 'Helene'). In the 2004 interview, Vikernes mentions that "she is working in a large oil company". He also claims his father is an "electronics engineer", whereas his brother, who (according to the Lords of Chaos interview) is "one and a half years older", is a "graduate civil engineer".
In the Lords of Chaos interview, Vikernes recalls an incident from his childhood: When he was about 6 years old, the family moved for about a year to Baghdad, Iraq, because Vikernes' "father was working for Saddam Hussein", developing a computer program. Since there were no places available in the English school in Baghdad, the young Vikernes went to an Iraqi elementary school during this time. According to his interview, Vikernes here became "aware of racial matters". Corporal punishment was not uncommon in the school, and on one occasion Vikernes had a "quarrel" with a teacher and called him "a monkey". But as Vikernes perceived it the teachers "didn't dare to hit me because I was white". Vikernes' mother also recalls how they "spent a year in Iraq", and that "the other children in his class would get slapped by their teachers; he would not". She mentions that this created problems, but generally she "has no good explanation" of how Varg developed his views. Vikernes reveals slightly more in his interview. When asked about his father, he says that he "had a swastika flag at home" and that his father was hysterical about it. However, Vikernes feels that his father was a hypocrite, because he was worried about Vikernes "being a Nazi", whereas he too was "pissed about all the colored people he saw in town". About his mother, Vikernes says that she was "very race conscious", in the sense that she was afraid that Vikernes "was going to come home with a black girl!" At the time of the interview (1995), Vikernes still had a positive relationship with his mother, but "very little contact" with his father. His parents are divorced. Vikernes' father is said to have "left about 10 years ago", which would have been 1985, when Vikernes was 12.
There is some evidence that Vikernes was involved with the skinhead scene in Bergen before he became a part of the black metal scene. Goodrick-Clarke introduces Burzum as the "musical vehicle" of the "ex-skinhead" Vikernes. According to the Encyclopedia of White Power, "Vikernes first became involved with the extreme right as a National Socialist skinhead while he was an adolescent." When he is asked in the interview in Lords of Chaos whether he hung out with skinheads in Bergen, Vikernes boldly replies: "There were no skinheads in Bergen." He mentions, though, that he had short hair at that time and that he was into weapons, that he liked the Germans and hated the British and Americans.
A fan of classical music as a child, Tchaikovsky in particular, he started listening to heavy metal at 12, citing Iron Maiden as his biggest inspiration. Later he discovered other metal bands whose sound would be influential on his own band such as Kreator, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Destruction, Megadeth, Slayer, Pestilence, Deicide and Von. Although Venom are widely considered the primary influence on black metal, Vikernes has always denied to be influenced by them, as well as defining the band as "a joke". He wore once a T-shirt of Venom's Black Metal to promote the genre but stated he later regretted doing that.
Early musical career
Vikernes had been learning the guitar since he was age fourteen. When he was about seventeen, Vikernes came into contact with the members of the Bergen death metal band Old Funeral. He played guitar with them during 1990–1991 and performed on their Devoured Carcass EP.
Vikernes has stated that for the recording of these early albums he used an old Westone guitar, bought in 1987 from an acquaintance. He used the cheapest bass guitar there was in the shop and he borrowed drumsets from Old Funeral, Immortal and "another musician living nearby". On Hvis lyset tar oss, he borrowed Hellhammer's drumset, the same one Hellhammer used to record De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas by Mayhem. He used a Peavey amplifier, but for the recording of Filosofem he used the amplifier on his brother's stereo and some old fuzz pedals. For vocals, he would use whatever microphone the sound tech handed him, but during the recording of Filosofem he intentionally used the worst mic they had, a headset mic. On the track "Dungeons of Darkness" he used the large gong at Grieghallen for background noise (Euronymous assisted him by beating his fists on it).
Arson of churches
On 6 June 1992, the Fantoft Stave Church, dating from the 12th century and considered architecturally significant, was burned to the ground by arson. By January 1993, arson attacks had occurred on at least seven other major stave churches, including one on Christmas Eve of 1992. Vikernes was found guilty of several of these cases: the arson and attempted arson of Åsane Church and Storetveit Church, respectively, in Bergen, the arson of Skjold Church in Vindafjord, and the arson of Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo. He was also charged with the arson of Fantoft Stave Church, although the jurors voted not guilty. The judges called this an error but did not overthrow the whole case.
I am not going to say that I burnt any churches. But let me put it this way: There was one person who started it. I was not found guilty of burning the Fantoft stave church, but anyway, that was what triggered the whole thing. That was the 6th of June and everyone linked it to Satanism ... What everyone overlooked was that on the 6th June, 793, in Lindesfarne in Britain was the site of the first known Viking raid in history, with Vikings from Hordaland, which is my county ... They [the Christians] desecrated our graves, our burial mounds, so it's revenge.
Echoing this sentiment, he writes in Vargsmål: "For each devastated graveyard, one heathen grave is avenged, for each ten churches burnt to ashes, one heathen hof is avenged, for each ten priests or freemasons assassinated, one heathen is avenged."
When asked whether the church burnings were linked to Odinism or Germanic neopaganism he replied: "The point is that all these churches [i.e. church burnings] are linked to one person ... who was not Øystein obviously. All the church burnings, with the exception of Stavanger, because that was another group (who, by the way, have also turned into nationalistic pagans)."
Bergens Tidende article
In January 1993, an article in one of Norway's biggest newspapers, Bergens Tidende (BT), brought the black metal scene into the media spotlight. Two friends of Vikernes interviewed him and brought the interview to the newspaper, hoping they would print it. In the anonymous interview, 'Count Grishnackh' (Vikernes) claimed to have burnt the churches and killed a man in Lillehammer. BT journalist Finn Bjørn Tønder set up a meeting with 'Count Grishnackh', with help from the friends. The journalists were summoned to an apartment and, allegedly, warned that they would be shot if the police were called. There, Vikernes and his companions told the journalists that they had burnt the churches, or knew who had done it, and said that the attacks would continue. They claimed to be Devil worshippers and said: "Our intention is to spread fear and devilry [...] that is why we are telling this to Bergens Tidende". They told the journalists details about the arsons that hadn't been released to the press and so BT spoke with the police before publishing it, who confirmed these details. The article was published on 20 January as the front page of the BT. It was headlined "We Lit The Fires" and included a photo of Vikernes, his face mostly hidden, holding two large knives. However, by the time the article was printed, Vikernes had already been arrested. The police allegedly found him by going to an address printed on a Burzum flyer, although Vikernes believes that Tønder "snitched" on him.
According to Vikernes, the anonymous interview was planned by himself and Euronymous. The goal, he says, was to scare people, promote black metal and get more customers for Helvete. At the time, Burzum was about to release the Aske mini-album. Vikernes said of the interview: "I exaggerated a lot and when the journalist left we [...] had a good laugh, because he didn't seem to understand that I was pulling his leg". He added that the interview revealed nothing that could prove his involvement in any crime. Vikernes claims that, after he was arrested, "the journalist edited the interview and [...] published an insane version of it the following day, without even letting me read through it". Some of the other scene members were also arrested and questioned, but all were released for lack of evidence. Jørn Inge Tunsberg of Hades said that the interview had "grave consequences" for the rest of the scene and that they did not know he was going to talk to the press, as "he had said nothing". He added that they became "bloody angry" and he, Tunsberg, was "pissed off".
Norwegian magazine Rock Furore published an interview with Vikernes in February 1993. In it, he said of the prison system: "It's much too nice here. It's not hell at all. In this country prisoners get a bed, toilet and shower. It's completely ridiculous. I asked the police to throw me in a real dungeon, and also encouraged them to use violence". He was released in March for lack of evidence.
Shortly after this episode, the Oslo police dispatched its Church Fire Group to Bergen, where they set up a makeshift headquarters in the Hotel Norge. According to Lords of Chaos, citing a police report, Vikernes knocked on their door and "virtually forced his way into the suite". He was "dressed in chain mail, carrying two large knives in his belt, and flanked by the two young men who apparently behaved as if they were his bodyguards or henchmen". Vikernes "stated that he was fed up with being harassed by the authorities, and that the police investigation into the Black Metal scene should be stopped". When told that he had no right to issue orders to the police, Vikernes "took one step back and raised his right arm in a Roman salute".
Murder of Øystein Aarseth
In early 1993, animosity arose between Øystein Aarseth ('Euronymous') and Vikernes, and between Euronymous and the Norwegian black metal scene. After the Bergens Tidende episode, Euronymous decided to shut Helvete as it began to draw the attention of the police and media.
On the night of 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Snorre 'Blackthorn' Ruch drove from Bergen to Euronymous's apartment at Tøyengata (English: Tøyen Street) in Oslo. Upon their arrival a confrontation began and Vikernes fatally stabbed Euronymous. His body was found on the stairs outside the apartment with 23 cut wounds – two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back. At first, many blamed Swedish black metalers for the murder.
It has been speculated that the murder was the result of a power struggle, a financial dispute over Burzum records, or an attempt at "out doing" the stabbing in Lillehammer. Vikernes denies all of these, claiming that he attacked Euronymous in self-defense. He says that Euronymous had plotted to stun him with an electroshock weapon, tie him up and torture him to death while videotaping the event. Vikernes explains: "If he was talking about it to everybody and anybody I wouldn't have taken it seriously. But he just told a select group of friends, and one of them told me". He said Euronymous planned to use a meeting about an unsigned contract to ambush him. Blackthorn stood outside smoking while Vikernes climbed the stairs to Euronymous's apartment on the fourth floor. Vikernes said he met Euronymous at the door and handed him the contract, but when he stepped forward and confronted Euronymous, Euronymous "panicked" and kicked him in the chest. The two got into a struggle and Vikernes stabbed Euronymous to death. Vikernes contends that most of Euronymous's cut wounds were caused by broken glass he had fallen on during the struggle. After the slaying, Vikernes and Blackthorn drove back to Bergen. On the way, they stopped at a lake where Vikernes disposed of his bloodstained clothes. The self-defense story is doubted by Emperor drummer Faust and other members of the scene.[who?]
According to Vikernes, Blackthorn only came along to show Euronymous some new guitar riffs and was "in the wrong place at the wrong time". Blackthorn claims that, in the summer of 1993, he was almost committed to a mental hospital but fled to Bergen and stayed with Vikernes. He said Vikernes planned to murder Euronymous and pressured him into coming along. Blackthorn said of the murder, "I was neither for nor against it. I didn't give a shit about Øystein". Vikernes called Blackthorn's claims a "defense [...] to make sure I couldn't blame him [for the murder]".
Vikernes was arrested on 19 August 1993 in Bergen. The police found 150 kg of explosives and 3,000 rounds of ammunition in his home. According to the Encyclopedia of White Power, Vikernes said that these explosives were "intended to blow up Blitz House, the radical leftist and anarchist enclave in Oslo", a plan which "was reportedly on the verge of execution" and only prevented by Vikernes's arrest. In an article originally published in 1999, Kevin Coogan points to Vikernes's planned attack on the Blitz House as a possible motive for the murder of Euronymous. Coogan writes: "Lords of Chaos offers strong evidence that Vikernes [...] was a fascist well before he became a metalhead." Then he, too, mentions Vikernes's intent to "destroy an Oslo-based punk anti-fascist squat called Blitz House", and concludes: "Vikernes may have felt that he had no choice but to kill Euronymous before bombing Blitz House because 'the Communist' would almost certainly have opposed such an act". The media also speculated that Euronymous and Vikernes had plotted to blow up Nidaros Cathedral, which appears on the cover of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Vikernes denied these claims in a 2009 interview, stating "I was getting [the explosives and ammunition] in order to defend Norway if we were attacked any time. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union could have decided to attack us. We have no reason to trust neither the government, the royal family or the military because of what happened last time we were attacked. We are left to ourselves".
Vikernes's trial began on 2 May 1994. Many other members of the scene, including Blackthorn and Faust, were put on trial around the same time. Some of them confessed to their crimes and implicated others. According to Lords of Chaos, "Vikernes is disgusted by the fact that, while he held fast to a code of silence, others confessed". During the trial the media made Vikernes "the nation's first real bogeyman in fifty years". At the trial it was claimed that he, Blackthorn and another friend had planned the murder. The third person stayed at the apartment in Bergen as an alibi. To make it look like they never left Bergen, he was to rent films, play them in the apartment, and withdraw money from Vikernes's credit card. On 16 May 1994, Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison (Norway's maximum penalty) for the murder of Euronymous, the arson of three churches, the attempted arson of a fourth church, and for the theft and storage of 150 kg of explosives. However, he only confessed to the latter. Two churches were burnt the day he was sentenced, "presumably as a statement of symbolic support". Blackthorn, although he hadn't taken part to Aarseth's murder, having gone down the condominium's stairs to smoke, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for being an accomplice. Vikernes smiled when his verdict was read, and an image was widely reprinted in the news media.
That month saw the release of Mayhem's album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, which has Euronymous on electric guitar and Vikernes on bass guitar. Before the release, Euronymous's family had asked Mayhem's drummer, Hellhammer, to remove the bass tracks recorded by Vikernes. Hellhammer said "I thought it was appropriate that the murderer and victim were on the same record. I put word out that I was re-recording the bass parts, but I never did".
Time in prison
In late 1994, Vikernes wrote a Norwegian-language book called Vargsmål. He said he wrote it to defend himself against "all the media lies" and that the book is marked by his isolation and anger at the time. However, Vikernes claims that "the prison authorities confiscated the manuscript, and for several years I wasn't allowed to even proof-read it. It was an unfinished manuscript, consisting of many separate articles, and ideally I would have been able to make some changes before it was published, but I wasn't. Eventually I gave up and just published it as it was – with all the errors and not-so-balanced articles".
On 8 April 1997, Norwegian police arrested five neo-Nazis in Hemnes. According to police, the young men were part of a self-styled "Einsatzgruppe" and were plotting attacks on political and religious figures in Norway. They also had plans to break Vikernes out of prison. The group "had all the trappings of a paramilitary unit", including guns, explosives, bulletproof vests, steel helmets and balaclavas. One of its members, Tom Eiternes, had befriended Vikernes in prison before escaping while on leave. Vikernes's mother, Lene Bore, was arrested for supplying the group with 100,000 kroner. She confessed, but claimed she did not know they were "right-wing extremists" and said her son was being attacked by fellow inmates. In late 1996 his jaw had reportedly been broken in a fight with another inmate. However, the prison director said her claims were unfounded, and police suspected that the money came from Vikernes himself. Lords of Chaos says that Vikernes adopted a "skinhead" look and wore a belt buckle with SS insignia around this time. Despite her confession, Bore was not convicted, and in 1998 the case against the "Einsatzgruppe" was dropped.
During his time in prison, Vikernes recorded two albums made up wholly of ambient and neofolk music. The first, Dauði Baldrs, was recorded in 1994–1995 and released in October 1997. The second, Hliðskjálf, was recorded in 1998 and released in April 1999. Vikernes was denied access to an electric guitar, bass guitar or drums, and instead used a synthesizer. In 2000, Vikernes ended his musical project. He believed that his philosophy was constantly misinterpreted by an ignorant fan base that was too closely related to black metal and Satanism. Later, through his website, he indicated that he hoped to continue Burzum after his release from prison, stating: "I will publish a few books, possibly using a pseudonym in order to stay anonymous, and perhaps a Burzum album or two, but that's it".
Between 1998 and 2004, Vikernes would write a further five books in prison. In 1998 he wrote a Norwegian-language book called Germansk Mytologi og Verdensanskuelse ("Teutonic Mythology and Worldview"). Apart from Vargsmål, this is the only other book that was published. In 2004 he translated it into English, added new material, and renamed it The Mysteries and Mythology of Ancient Scandinavia. In 1999 he wrote EihwaR, a "philosophical/political/historical novel in form of a dialogue between a student and an oppositional". This too he translated into English and renamed The Religion of the Blood. That year he also wrote a Norwegian and English translation and interpretation of Völuspá. In 2000–2001 he wrote Teorier ("Theories"). It offered some theories on the origin of different customs and beliefs, and contained several short stories about the prehistoric era. However, he decided to scrap this book. In 2003–2004 he wrote a "gothic-fantasy novel" called The Cult of Hel. By late 2003 he had begun writing articles for Burzum.org, which became the official Burzum website.
In August 2003, Vikernes was transferred from a maximum-security prison in Bergen to the low-security prison in Tønsberg. On 15 October, the local paper, Tønsbergs Blad, published an article that criticized Vikernes. On 26 October, Vikernes went on the run after being granted a short leave. He stopped a car in Numedal. Inside it was a family of three, who said that he hijacked the car at gunpoint. About 19 hours later, police stopped the car in Romerike and arrested him. The car contained knives, a gas mask, camouflage clothing, a portable GPS navigator, maps, a compass, a laptop and a mobile phone. Police also found a handgun and an AG3 automatic rifle in a cabin in Rollag, where Vikernes had hidden during his escape. They concluded that his escape "was well planned and involved assistance from several people on the outside". Before the escape, Vikernes gave his mother a letter. In it, he wrote that he had received death threats and another inmate had tried to strangle him shortly after the newspaper article was published. For his actions, thirteen months were added to Vikernes's sentence and he was moved to a prison in Ringerike. In July 2004 he was moved to a maximum-security prison in Trondheim. The last three years of his sentence were spent in Tromsø Prison.
When Vikernes was convicted, it was possible to be released on parole after serving 12 years of a 21-year sentence, but in 2002, before he became eligible, the Norwegian Parliament had extended this to 14 years. In June 2006, after serving 12 years, Vikernes was denied parole by the Department of Criminal Justice for this reason. His lawyer, John Christian Elden, has complained that the policy change is a form of retroactive legislation. Article 97 of the Norwegian constitution forbids any law being given retroactive force. Vikernes was denied parole again in June 2008, although he was allowed to leave Tromsø Prison for short periods to visit his family. His full sentence would run for another seven years. In March 2009, however, his parole was announced. He had then served 15 years of his 21-year sentence. On 22 May 2009, he confirmed that he had been released from prison on probation.
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In his last years in prison, Vikernes revealed that he had a daughter, who was born in 1992. He also has a son, who was born in 2007. In a 2008 interview, he said he and his wife, Marie Cachet, were expecting a third child. After his release, he and his family settled on a small farm in Bø, Telemark. They later moved to Limousin in France.
Vikernes continued with Burzum after his release. He released a further three black metal albums: Belus (2010), Fallen (2011) and Umskiptar (2012) and a compilation of re-recorded songs (From the Depths of Darkness). On 27 April 2013, Vikernes posted a song on his official YouTube channel, titled "Back to the Shadows", which Vikernes has stated to be the last metal track to be released by Burzum. In May 2013 he released another ambient album, Sôl austan, Mâni vestan.
Vikernes also continued writing, both on his Burzum website and on his personal blog Thulean Perspective, which was set up in January 2013. The website Ancestral Cult was created by him and his wife.
2013 arrest and 2014 conviction
On 16 July 2013 Vikernes and his wife, a French national, were arrested in Corrèze, France, on suspicion of planning acts of terrorism after his wife purchased four rifles. Officials later stated that Vikernes' wife had a legal firearms permit prior to purchasing the rifles. The two were later released with no charges after police failed to identify any terrorist plans or targets.
Vikernes was instead charged by French authorities with inciting racial hatred against Jews and Muslims. On 8 July 2014, Vikernes was convicted of inciting racial hatred and sentenced to six months of probation and a fine of €8,000.
Personal beliefs and views
According to Goodrick-Clarke, "while in jail, Vikernes began to formulate his nationalist heathen ideology using material from Norse mythology combined with racism and occult National Socialism." Goodrick-Clarke bases this account of Vikernes' beliefs on some articles that Vikernes had written for the short-lived "neo-Nazi magazine" Filosofem, published by Vidar von Herske. Goodrick-Clarke also uses the book Lords of Chaos, and a manifesto called Vargsmål ('Speech of the Wolf'), which Vikernes began to write after his imprisonment. According to Lords of Chaos, Vargsmål became available on the internet for some time in 1996, but not in a printed form. In 1997, a Norwegian publisher released a paperback edition of the book; its publication was financed by Vikernes' mother, Helene Bore. Vikernes has denounced the English translation of his book in an article on his website. He has also stated on the website that "Vargsmål was written in anger, while I was young and in isolation, and the book is marked by this".
In Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, director Sam Dunn described Vikernes as "the most notorious metal musician of all time". Religious studies scholar Egil Asprem characterised him as "an idol for skinheads with an inclination towards Paganism and for contemporary Pagans with an inclination towards National Socialism."
After his conviction, Vikernes began identifying himself as a neo-Nazi. The Encyclopedia of White Power describes him as "busy promoting his Odinist and National Socialist philosophy from behind bars."
In a July 2005 statement on his website entitled "The Nazi Ghost", Vikernes states that although he "occasionally used the term 'nazism' to describe [his] ideological foundation", he no longer describes himself as a 'Nazi'.
The reason I have been drawn to and occasionally have expressed support for "nazism" is mainly because many of the Norwegian (and German) "nazis" embraced our Pagan religion as our blood-religion and they rejected Judeo-Christianity as Jewish heresy
Vikernes expresses a desire to not be associated with anti-Slavic sentiments. He identifies three things which distinguish him from the "Nazis": "unlike them I am not socialistic (not even on a national level), I am not materialistic and I believe in (the ancient Scandinavian!) democracy".
In the late 1990s, "to avoid confusion" and "to find a term more suitable and accurate", Vikernes coined the term "odalism" based on the Odal rune. "[F]rom Norse óðal (homeland, allodium, allodial law, nobility, noble, inherited goods, fatherland, land property, distinguished family, distinguished, splendid, kin and the nation)." He explains, "In it lies Paganism, traditional nationalism, racialism and environmentalism." Vikernes contrasts it with "modern 'civilization'" which he equates with "capitalism, materialism, Judeo-Christianity, pollution, urbanization, race-mixing, Americanization, socialism, globalization, et cetera". He places importance on the fact that odalism "is not a term tainted by history"; in contrast with nazism:
The 'nazi ghost' has scared millions of Europeans from caring about their blood and homeland for sixty years now, and it is about time we banish this ghost and again start to think and care about the things that (whether we like it or not) are important to us.
In other texts on his website, he embraces Nordicism, racism and eugenics ("race hygiene"). However, he makes the point that following one's own culture is an equally valid and beneficial choice for all peoples. Vikernes states that although he is a racist, he hates no one and that "hatred is irrational".
In a response to a question from a fan, Vikernes expressed his contempt for the European Union, describing it as being "thoroughly corrupt, extremely bureaucratic, predominatrly [sic] catholic and utterly chaotic".
Involvement in the Heathen Front
According to several sources[who?], during his time in prison, Vikernes became a central figure in the Neo-völkisch Heathen Front. The Heathen Front started as a group in Norway, Norsk Hedensk Front (Norwegian Heathen Front) or NHF, and grew into the international Allgermanische Heidnische Front (Pan-Germanic Heathen Front) or AHF. At the time of their publication, the article on Vikernes in the Encyclopedia of White Power and Gods of the Blood by the Swedish scholar Matthias Gardell considered Vikernes to be the leader (and the founder) of the Norwegian Heathen Front. Goodrick-Clarke mentions that Vikernes underlined "his role as chieftain of his Norwegian Heathen Front" with the writing of Vargsmål.
In a 2009 interview with Vikernes, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet pointed out that he has been linked to neo-Nazi and racist groups during his time in prison. Vikernes replied: "I have never formed or been a member of such organizations. The only organization I am a member of is Riksmålsforbundet" (The Society for the Preservation of Traditional Standard Norwegian).
When he was asked about his involvement in the AHF in a 2004 interview published on burzum.org, Vikernes pointed out that it was Antifa groups who "repeatedly wrote" that the NHF was a Neo-Nazi group and that he was their leader, claims which he describes as "persecution". He also said that "the [Norwegian] secret police claimed adamantly" that he was the leader of the Heathen Front. Vikernes then continued by stating that, as a result of these claims, he left the Heathen Front, to see what "the Antifa/Monitor morons and the secret police would do". In practice, Vikernes stated, he never was a member of the group, since, being in prison, he could not participate in their activities and he had never "met half of them". If he would want to write articles for their magazine, he could do that, regardless of whether he was a member or not.
In a 2010 interview with Vampiria Magazine Spain (18-03-2010) Vikernes was asked about Odinism playing a major role in his life, to which he responded:
"Well, I am not religious in any way, but I have a Pagan ideology and Pagan values. I believe in blood, soil and honour; family, homeland and hamingja; strength, traditions and courage. And I believe in a Europe waking up."
Vikernes has written lyrics for several songs by Darkthrone that make use of themes from old Germanic folklore. In these, Satan is referenced as an aspect of the Germanic god Odin in the context of an 'eye' that is a source of light (i.e. the sun), there are also mentions of a 'spear' and a 'hall of battle', which are also masked references to Odin. This was done with the double meaning of Odin as the 'adversary' of Jewish and Christian tradition. Many have thus inferred that Vikernes is or was a Satanist, though he has stated many times that he is opposed to Satanism as he considers it to be a reactionary form of Christianity.
According to Vikernes:
Christianity was created by some decadent and degenerated Romans as a tool of oppression, in the late Roman era, and it should be treated accordingly. It is like "handcuff's" to the mind and spirit and is nothing but destructive to mankind. In fact I don't really see Christianity as a religion. It is more like a spiritual plague, a mass psychosis, and it should first and foremost be treated as a problem to be solved by the medical science. Christianity is a diagnosis. It's like Islam and the other Asian "religions" a HIV/AIDS of the spirit and mind.
Vikernes now embraces a "modern scientific worldview resting on a foundation made up of the Pagan values and ideals: loyalty, wisdom, courage, love, discipline, honesty, intelligence, beauty, responsibility, health and strength." He draws a direct connection between both race and intelligence and intelligence and religion, denouncing theism as "mental enslavement" fit only for "inferior races". Vikernes goes on to say "If it is supposed to serve a purpose Paganism needs to be an ideology, not a religion". Despite accusing mainstream theists of holding onto "Stone Age misconceptions", Vikernes still holds that religious myths should be turned to in areas where science has not yet achieved a complete understanding of the natural world—such as the origin of life and where we go after death, if anywhere at all.
Later in 2009, he posted an article on his website, writing "I obviously live in a different world, where one can discuss ones perception of reality without any fear of harassment; a world of tolerance and respect, a world of intellectual debate and honesty. Some of You apparently don't, so when I speak I must be careful."[Burzum.org 1]
In 2011, Vikernes published his first book in English, Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia, a revised version of Germansk Mytologi about the religious practices of Scandinavian peoples, particularly during the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Rejecting most contemporary academic theories, he takes inspiration from Sir James Frazer's work The Golden Bough in interpreting the myths as representing aspects of yearly rituals related to death, burial and ruling. It includes a new translation of the Völuspá with notes about what each stanza means according to Vikernes.
In 2013, he and his wife Marie Cachet released a film called ForeBears based on ancient Norwegian pagan rituals.
Influence of Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling, Nazi collaborator minister-president of occupied Norway between 1942 and 1945 and involuntary originator of the term quisling-regime, had developed an extremely obscure esoteric doctrine labeled 'Universism'. An online article about him mentions that the only "modest intellectual influence" he ever had with this doctrine was "on certain extreme strains of Norwegian black metal music". This impression is indeed given in Lords of Chaos. In the interview there, Varg Vikernes is faced with the question whether Quisling's religion was pagan or Christian. Moynihan & Søderlind write: "Vikernes has discovered his predecessor in Vidkun Quisling." At one point, he temporarily took the artist name 'Kvisling', but he explained this choice in Vargsmål:
One of my foremothers was called Susanne Malene Quisling. She was born 06-02-1811 and dies [sic] 10-05-1891. Quisling means "that which stems from a division of kingly descendants" [...]
Vikernes stated in an interview, "They [the Norwegian government at the beginning of World War II] ran like chickens, leaving Norway, with absolutely NO authorities, and when Vidkun Quisling tried to bring order back, he was thanked with a bullet in his heart after the war." This is the only known instance of Vikernes mentioning Vidkun Quisling, besides Lords of Chaos; on his own website, Vikernes does not mention Vidkun Quisling at all.
The Lord of the Rings
From an early age, Vikernes was fascinated with the fictional realm of Middle-earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien. His stage name Grishnackh is taken from that of an orc in The Two Towers. The name Burzum, meaning darkness, was taken from the Black Speech inscribed on the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings. The inscription read "Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul" or in English "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them." Additionally, before joining Old Funeral, he was in a band called Uruk-Hai, also derived from The Lord of the Rings text.
Vikernes interpreted The Lord of the Rings on his website, pointing out the connections to paganism in the books, but also recognizing the Judeo-Christian context of Tolkien's Catholic beliefs.
Varg has created and continues to develop his Mythical Fantasy Role-playing Game "MYFAROG", which is described on its website as being "a role-playing game based on European values, geography, (pre-) history, mythology, traditions and morals, and will offer you the opportunity to play a game in accordance with your own European nature". . While created to be an ideal RPG, comment has been made that the game is both overly complex and racist.
Satan rir media
Torstein Grude created a Norwegian documentary entitled Satan rir media (Satan Rides the Media), to which Vikernes has given a more positive review. As its title implies, the movie focuses on the often hysterical media coverage of the church-burning cases and the black metal scene in general. In the film, Vikernes accuses a journalist who writes for Bergens Tidende of deliberately informing the police about his identity after he had completed an anonymous interview. Vikernes was arrested only hours after the interview, one day before it was published, and was released after a week in prison due to lack of proof. In the film, the head of criminal investigations, Bergen Police District evades the question whether the journalist preserved Vikernes' anonymity by stating "It was all OK and legal".
According to Satan rir media, it was also the BT who gave Vikernes the name "Greven" (The Count). However, Vikernes has said in Vargsmål that "the reason I chose this name was not to have a tough name. The word 'count (greven)' comes from the Latin word 'comites', that means partner or companion. I am the true Germanic folk's 'partner' and 'companion' and with that I chose this title". However, in the documentary (ca. 12:20–12:30) he gives this answer to a question as to why he uses the name: "I mean, it is a relatively arrogant name, that means, it sets me above all other human beings. Like "Do this and that", and then they do it"
Satan rir media claims that by emphasizing the Satanist angle, the Norwegian news media unwittingly created a mass following for Burzum and Vikernes, both in Norway and internationally.
Until the Light Takes Us
Vikernes is one of the central figures in the 2009 documentary film Until The Light Takes Us. Interviewed in prison by American directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell, Vikernes explains, in great detail, the circumstances surrounding both the creation of black metal and the murder of Euronymous.
Influence on other church arsons
- Novak Majstorovic, then 19-year-old guitarist of the metal band Schwarzreich, was charged with arson and burglary in relation to the burning of a 100+-year-old Uniting Church in Ascot Vale, Australia in August 2004. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in Youth Detention. In all media depictions of the event, he is said to have been heavily influenced by Burzum. However, he has stated on several message boards across the internet that the influence does not stretch beyond the superficial, and that the media has overblown his statements to the police to suit their own ends. He claims that the arson had very little in common with Vikernes' attacks. Majstorovic was released in August 2006. His current whereabouts are unknown. The facade of the church (which remained intact) still stands, but it has not been rebuilt. A community centre was built behind the facade.
- Kalle Holm, an 18-year-old Finn known to have played drums in several Finnish metal bands, has stated on his website that he was influenced by Burzum. He set fire to the Porvoo Cathedral in Finland in May 2006: the roof of the church burned, but the ceiling, vaults and interiors survived undamaged. The attorney's claims that the motives behind the arson were related to a "hatred towards Christianity" were overruled in court. He was sentenced to three years and two months of imprisonment without parole. The sentence was later doubled to six years and six months by the Court of Appeal.
- The Winnipeg Sun reported that three people were convicted on 27 June 2006 of arson in a fire that destroyed the Minnedosa United Church in Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada on 12 February 2006. One was sentenced to three years in prison, the second to two years and the third to two years less a day. All three were ordered to pay CAD $1.2 million in restitution. Justice officials said the church was set on fire on 11 February, Vikernes' birthday.
- 1992 – Burzum (recorded January 1992)
- 1993 – Aske (recorded August 1992)
- 1993 – Det som engang var (recorded April 1992)
- 1994 – Hvis lyset tar oss (recorded September 1992)
- 1996 – Filosofem (recorded March 1993)
- 1997 – Dauði Baldrs (recorded in prison 1994–1995)
- 1999 – Hliðskjálf (recorded in prison 1998)
- 2010 – Belus (recorded in 2009)
- 2011 – Fallen (recorded November 2010)
- 2011 – From the Depths of Darkness (recorded March 2010)
- 2012 – Umskiptar (recorded September 2011)
- 2013 – Sôl austan, Mâni vestan (recorded throughout 2012)
- 2014 – The Ways of Yore (recorded throughout 2013)
- 1994 – Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger (wrote lyrics for four songs)
- 1995 – Darkthrone – Panzerfaust (wrote lyrics for one song)
- 1994 – Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (performed bass guitar)
- 1993 – Mayhem – Life Eternal (EP, performed bass guitar)
- 1991 – Old Funeral – Devoured Carcass (EP, performed electric guitar)
- 1999 – Old Funeral – Join the Funeral Procession (compilation album, performed electric guitar)
- 1999 – Old Funeral – The Older Ones (compilation album, performed electric guitar)
- 2002 – Old Funeral – Grim Reaping Norway (live album, performed electric guitar)
- 1997 – Vargsmål
- 1999 – EihwaR
- 2000 – Germansk Mytologi og Verdensanskuelse
- 2001 – Guide to the Norse Gods and Their Names
- 2002 – Irminsûl
- 2004 – The Cult of Hel (unreleased)
- 2004 – The Mysteries and Mythology of Ancient Scandinavia
- 2006 – Речи Варга II (Russian language-only compilation of articles, the title means "Vargsmål II")
- 2011 – Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia
- 2014 – MYFAROG (Mythic Fantasy Roleplaying Game)
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- LoC 1998: 147
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- LoC 1998: 144
- LoC 1998: 146
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- Michael Moynihan, Lords of Chaos, p. 88; quoted in: M. Gardell, Gods of the Blood, p.306;
- quoted after M. Gardell, Gods of the Blood, pp. 306, 307. Translation by M. Gardell
- Lords of Chaos, p. 89
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- About, accessed on 27 June 2013.
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- Lords of Chaos (1998):159
- Christe, Ian (2003). Sound of the Beast: the Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. p. 279.
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- Varg Vikernes: A Burzum Story: Part VII – The Nazi Ghost, July 2005, accessed on 5 December 2012.
- With respect to what appears to be his interpretation of the Edda, though there could be another source, Vikernes writes: "This is the mythology, a pretty unmistakably racist statement left to us from our forefathers."Paganism: Part I – The Ancient Religion
- "The mental hygiene and race hygiene practiced by the ancient Europeans also was disrupted by the introduction of Christianity." Paganism: Part VI – Hygiene In The Pagan Era
- "Interview with Varg Vikernes". Burzum.org. 2004-08-12. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Vikernes is also the self-proclaimed leader of the Norsk Hedensk Front (Norwegian Heathen Front) and of an international heathen brotherhood he calls Cymophane." Article by Xavier Cattarinich, Kaplan 2000: 319.
- "Advocating national socialism, anti-Semitism, eugenics, and racist paganism, Vikernes launched Norsk Hedensk Front in 1993, which soon evolved into a network of independent tribes called the Allgermanische Heidnische Front (AHF)." Gardell 2003: 307.
- Goodrick-Clarke 2003: 205.
- "Interview with Varg Vikernes". Burzum.org. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
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- Lords of Chaos (First Edition), 163
- Lords of Chaos (First Edition), 162
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- other than the above-referenced mention of his great-great-grandmother's name: A Burzum Story: Part V – Satanism
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- Helsingin Sanomat: Porvoon tuomiokirkon tulipalosta yli kolmen vuoden vankeustuomio (Finnish)
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- The Count caught with an AG-3 automatic rifle, news coverage in Aftenposten (Norwegian)
- Police nab The Count after he fled jail, news coverage in Aftenposten
- Arrested Count was heavily armed, news coverage in Aftenposten
- Interview on a metal site (old photo before new political affiliations)
- Editorial in The Age on Novak and his actions
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