Commencing with the ritualistic application of corpse paint, feature-length documentary Blackhearts (co-directed by Fredrik Horn Akselsen and Christian Falch) shares the stories of three black metal bands from drastically different backgrounds visiting the genre’s birthplace in Norway. Capturing candle-lit Satanic ceremonies and frozen winterscapes, the sharp cinematography shapes poignant portraits of black metal fans and musicians from around the world. Ruminations on identity as well as personal and artistic freedoms punctuate a film that doesn’t define black metal fanatics as a collective entity. Instead, the directors select subjects shaped by their unique triumphs and obstacles tethered to their love for extreme music. It’s a profound and wryly humorous film that treats its subject matter with humility and respect.
Featuring engrossing live concert footage, the documentary includes extensive appearances by Vegar Larsen and Arnt Grønbech (both of Keep Kalessin), as well as cameos from Abbath (sans make-up) and Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. But the film largely focuses on three subjects, listed below with their personal Norwegian black metal playlists.
HECTOR is a devoted Satanist and frontman for the Colombian black metal band Luciferian. Completely dedicated to black metal music, Hector struggles with assimilating in the Catholic community of his village. As Luciferian plans their trip to play a festival in Norway, Hector realizes they will have problems fulfilling the demands set by the visa application. He seeks advice from his Satanic mentor, the “Black Pope” in Pereira, and organizes a ritual to help the process. Will it help to fulfill his dream of playing with his band in Norway if he sells his soul to Satan?
KAIADAS is a Member of Parliament for the controversial Greek right-wing party Golden Dawn, and frontman of the black metal band Naer Mataron. Kaiadas and his band have a strong emotional link to Norway and Norwegian history through their passion for black metal. Through the film we get unique access to the inner chambers of Golden Dawn, and how the vocalist’s political beliefs impact the band’s members who don’t promote the same ideology. As his band receives an opportunity to play a Norwegian black metal festival, he is charged with belonging to a criminal organization and possibly faces 20 years in prison.
SINA tirelessly writes and composes for his one-man project From The Vastland in Iran, where performing and releasing black metal is forbidden by law. Receiving an invitation to play in a Norwegian metal festival is a dream come true, but exposing himself in this manner sets both his life – and the lives of his family – in a potentially life-threatening situation. He follows his passion and heads to Norway, knowing he may never be able to return to his homeland.
Blackhearts premieres at Chicago’s CIMMFEST on April 15th. Check out the trailer below, and follow the film’s official website and Facebook page for upcoming information on screenings and streaming options.