Blu-ray Review: Lords of Chaos

Heavy metal music has received a bad rap over the years and at one time it was considered to be the devil’s music in many quarters. Amusingly, you’ll find that members of metal bands are quite often extremely shy and incredibly friendly. However, it is a form of music with a baffling and sometimes disturbing array of sub-genres. None more so than the murky and dark world of Norwegian black metal. Based on Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind’s book on the movement, Lords of Chaos will not allay any fears.

It all begins in the 1980s when Euronymous (Rory Culkin) forms the first black metal band in Norway, Mayhem. The band really takes off when they recruit Dead (Jack Kilmer) as their vocalist, a self-destructive Swede with a penchant for dangerous stage antics. His suicide propels the movement forward, as does a record label created by Euronymous and the appearance of Varg (Emory Cohen), a fan then bassist who will go to any lengths to demonstrate his commitment to the cause.

Jonas Åkerlund sets out to satirise real events but Lords of Chaos fails to either create an entertaining comedic film or re-tell events in a compelling way. This lack of identity becomes its own worst enemy. Stuck somewhere in the middle between biopic and spoof and never really committing to either. Lords of Chaos is a great concept and is nicely shot but all too often feels like the product of some hipster committee meeting. It’s an idea which could have worked really well but falls sadly short.


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • New interview with writer-director Jonas Åkerlund
  • New interviews with actors Sam Coleman, Jason Arnopp and Arion Csihar
  • On-stage introduction to the film by Thurston Moore filmed at the Rio cinema, London, 2018
  • Image galleries
  • Original trailer
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film

Lords of Chaos is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 22 July.

Previous Fantasia Festival 2019 Review: Shadow
Next Film Review: DeadTectives

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