In April 1991 Mayhem vocalist Dead committed suicide while alone in a house that he shared with his other band members. His fellow musicians referred to dead as introverted, odd & depressed. Before going onstage he would go through great lengths to make himself look like a corpse. He also cut himself onstage during performances. Dead may have been the first person to wear the distinctive corpse paint that would eventually spread throughout the genre.
Dead was found with his wrists slit as well as a shotgun wound to his head. His suicide apologized for the blood & firing the weapon indoors. His roommate & fellow band member Euronymous went to a nearby shop to purchase a disposable camera which he then used to photograph the body after re arranging some of the surrounding items, before he called the police to investigate. One of these pictures would eventually be used as the cover of an album released by the band, “Dawn of the Black Hearts”.
Rumors & mystery eventually shrouded the event. Euronymous was said to have made a stew from the brain matter & it is said he collected parts of the skull which he turned into necklaces & handed out to fellow musicians that he deemed worthy. Euronymous used the suicide to bolster Mayhem’s evil image & he claimed that Dead killed himself because Metal had become so commercialized, even trendy.
Eventually Euronymous would meet his own fateful demise in early 1993. In August of that year Varg Vikernes of the band Burzum & Snorre ‘Blackthorne’ Ruch from the band Thorns drove from Bergen to the home of Euronymous in Oslo. When they arrived a confrontation began which eventually led to the stabbing death. Euronymous was found fatally stabbed 23 times. 2 to the head, 5 to the neck & 16 to the back.
Vikernes claimed that he attacked Euronymous in self defense & said that Euronymous plotted to electrocute him with a stun weapon then torture him to death while video taping it. Vikerness claims on the night in question he was attacked & only protected his own life he claims that the cuts were caused when Euronymous fell onto broken glass during the struggle. Many members of the scene doubt this version of events greatly.
Vikerness was arrested in August 1993 in Bergen & many other members of the scene were taken in for questioning around the same time. Some confessed to crimes as well as implicating others in crimes. In 1994 Vikerness was sentenced to the maximum penalty in Norway 21 years in prison for his part in the death as well as other crimes. Blackthorn was sentenced to 8 years in prison for his role as the accomplice.
Vikernes was released on parole in 2009.
The first time I heard this story was when I accompanied my wife to a ladies talk. She went off with the other entrepreneurs at the conference and I went out to the local pub to have a beer. It hit me pretty hard when I learned this story- I had been a big fan of Mayhem when they first hit the scene. As the story unfolded my eyes widened and mouth opened. Almost everyone else(all 3 patrons) in the bar were having a similar moment.