Heathendom's Return: The Cultural and Romanticized Revival of Norse Paganism in the Norwegian Black Metal Church Arsons
Keywords:black metal, heavy metal, national romanticism, religious history, pop culture history
The early Norwegian black metal scene during the 1990s has been marked with infamy because of the arson of old Norwegian stave churches and cathedrals. The Norwegian press linked the church arsons with Theistic Satanism considering the occult imagery and anti-Christian ideologies of many black metal bands; however, the press failed to regard the elements of Norwegian national romanticism and Norse paganism represented in these church burnings. Scholars of popular cultural history explained that frustrated black metal musicians burned down churches to remove Christianity from Norway as violently as it has been imposed a thousand years prior. This paper will show that the black metal church arsons reflected the connection between Norse paganism in the arts and Norwegian national romanticism.