The Norwegian band Mayhem is usually credited as the most important second wave ‘black metal’ band. This is partly because their sound was innovative but mostly because the lead singer (known as ‘Dead’) killed himself and the guitar player (‘Euronymous’) was murdered by a rival in the scene (‘Count Grishnackh’ of the other seminal band Burzum). Black metal is now a huge corporate driven genre/enterprise with corpse-painted bands playing in front of thousands and selling millions of T-shirts. But it started underground. And it took itself very seriously. So seriously that contemporaneous to the deaths of Death and Euronymous, Count Grishnackh (and his cronies) burned a number of historic Norse Christian churches. Another black metaller (‘Faust’ of Emperor) murdered a stranger. The original culture of black metal valued transgression-taken-seriously. From the on-purpose lo-fi production to the total rejection of popularity to the commission of sometimes lethal crimes, black metal represented pure transgressive art. And crime.

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