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Øystein Aarseth a.k.a Euronymous: Mayhem

"Euronymous: Voices of a tortured skull"

Euronymous was the guitarist and co-founder of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. He was also the owner of Deathlike Silence Productions, an extreme metal record label and Helvete, a record shop in Oslo. Euronymous, with Mayhem standardized the sound and culture of black metal, for which he is revered by extreme musicians till this date. Euronymous is infamous for his deviant personality and many notorious activities that he  has carried out throughout his short lifespan.

Øystein Aarseth was born on 22 March 1968 in Egersund, Norway. Formerly, he went by the infernal name "Destructor" but later changed it to Euronymous which was derived from a demon in the Greek mythology named Eurynomos. He along with bassist Necrobutcher and drummer Manheim formed Mayhem in 1984 drawing inspirations from bands like Venom, Slayer, Bathory, Celtic Frost and Motorhead. In the early days, they used session vocalists Maniac and Messiah for live shows whereas Euronymous and Necrobutcher both occupied mic space during their rehearsals. The band released their very first demo "Pure Fucking Armageddon" in 1986 with the line up consisting of Maniac, Euronymous, Necrobutcher and Messiah. In late 1987, when Maniac and Messiah left Mayhem, Sweden based death metal band Morbid frontman Dead and Hellhammer joined the force to create mayhem all over Norway, literally.

Euronymous lived in the woods near Kråkstad with Dead and Hellhammer where the trio used to rehearse as well. Euronymous and Dead used to rarely be on the same wavelength and get on each other's nerves frequently. A small dispute between the two would sometimes turn into a brutal brawl where one of them would get hurt. Dead once stabbed Euronymous with a knife during one of their uncontrolled scuffles. In 1991, vocalist Dead commited suicide while he was alone in the house by blowing his head with a shotgun. Euronymous, instead of informing the police, bought a camera from a nearby shop and shot photographs of his corpse which would later feature on the cover of Mayhem's bootleg live album "Dawn of the black hearts". A rumour spreaded that he made a stew out of Dead's brain and tried to eat them. Also, he collected pieces of Dead's skull and bestowed to musicians he believed were worthy of. As told by Necrobutcher, Euronymous did this in order to combat the astonishment and grief caused by his friend's death.

Deathlike Silence Productions logo
After this gruesome incident, Necrobutcher left Mayhem and Varg Vikernes from Old Funeral(then) filled in his spot. After the opening of Helvete, a group of black metal musicians including Faust from Emperor, Varg  and Blackthorn from Thorns used to gather in the shop forming a stable or cult-like group called the Black Circle. However, several musicians of the group have denied the existense of the name, calling it a name that Euronymous invented just for a sinister sounding reputation. With the establishment of Deathlike Silence Productions, Euronymous recorded for bands like Burzum, Abruptum, Merciless, Enslaved, Sigh and Mayhem itself. His record label ran by the motto: "No mosh, no fun, no trend, no core."

By that time, Euronymous was single handedly taking control of the scene. He wanted all the black musicians to smear corpse paint on their face and sport a look with spikes and leather jackets. He despised trends and people who followed them. He laid the foundation for the scene and brainwashed musicians into making the most evil and extreme music attainable. With Helvete and DSP, he had full control of things and directed the scene the way he desired.

Euronymous projected an evil image doing and promoting insane ideas to create fear among the masses. He had a different take on Death and Black metal. According to him, death musicians should worship death and be extreme, not only by manifesting them through their music but by resembling a similar image in real life. Else he would label them as life metal bands or hobby bands. Whereas Black metal should be satanic and something normal people would dread to listen. Although rumors has it that he had sent death threats to the Finnish black metal band Impaled Nazarene, Euronymous himself stated the hearsay to be untrue. He was against individualism and wanted people to act and be slaves. He was also inclined to politics and called himself a communist being a member of the Norwegian communist youth group Red Ungdom. According to drummer Frost(1349/Satyricon), this is where he gained leadership skills to lead the Norwegian black metal scene to the direction he wanted. But he never exhibited his political knowledge on Mayhem's music.

Euronymous used to sight Varg as a fresh, like-minded talent and released 2 Burzum albums through DSP. Varg filled in Necrobutcher's place as a bassist and contributed in the album "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas". There was a personal vendetta going on between Euronymous and Varg during the early 1993. Mainly, due to the recent church burning incident, Euronymous and Varg were battling it out to determine who the most evil one was. Also, it is speculated that it was due to a financial dispute between them two, involving Burzum and DSP. On 10th August 1993, Varg and Blackthorn drove to Euronymous's apartment in Oslo where Varg stabbed Euronymous with an excuse of signing a contract. He brutally stabbed Euronymous 23 times after chasing him down the stairs outside the apartment. Blackthorn had no idea about Varg's plans of murdering Euronymous and in an interview, Varg stated that Blackthorn was terribly scared about Euronymous's death. Varg was arrested on 19th August, 1993 for his actions. When asked about the murder, he explains that it was only self-defense as Euronymous himself tried to kill him many times before. He says that he slayed him before Euronymous could. But many musicians in the scene doubted his story. Varg was sentenced to 21 years in jail.

The murder was a big loss to black metal and especially the Norwegian black metal scene as they lost a leader who could have led the scene to extreme heights. Many weren't surprised or sad on his loss because they thought he had it coming. But without him, black metal would have never been so sinister or gained such a reputation as it has now. He was a musical genius and a perfectionist. Personally, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is my favourite black metal album. The guitar riffs in this album is unmatched and every time I listen to it, it keeps me wondering about the brilliancy of the album.

Euronymous is the god father of black metal, no arguing that. He will certainly be missed. Many tribute albums and songs have been made to pay homage to the black metal legend. "The day Burzum killed Mayhem", a song by black metal band Nargaroth depicts the whole incident of Euronymous's murder.

Born on: 22 March, 1968

Birthplace: Egersund, Norway

Band(s) involved: Mayhem; he contributed a guitar solo to Burzum's song "War" from its self titled album

Passed on: 22 August, 1993 at the age of 25

Cause of death: Murder




The documentary covers almost everything about Euronymous and Mayhem, particularly.

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