Things are not always what they seem, and it is always important for one to think critically about the information that is presented to them. Black Metal has enjoyed a rather high level of popularity, within the underground (and beyond), for the past decade and a half. For those who do not remember, or were simply not around, it must be mentioned that things were not always this way. It was once something quite obscure and unknown to many. Even those who were aware of it often mocked and ridiculed it. With the media storm surrounding the Norwegian scene in the mid-90s, the popularity of this form of music began to grow at an astounding rate. Bands sprang up from all over the globe, and more and more listeners were turned onto this dark art. By the late 90s, it had become quite trendy in a sense, and a great number of posers and idiots had flocked to the bloodstained altars, in hopes of capturing some of its dark essence. Many attempted to recreate the magic of the past, while others simply adopted whatever elements they chose and mixed them with other influences, producing some bastardized form of music that should never have been. In this chaotic time emerged a Black Metal warrior from the long forgotten past. He went by the name of Kanwulf, and his band Nargaroth was established to uphold the true ways of the black cult. Not really... in truth, he was just another goth kid that latched onto the latest trend in hopes of impressing people and finding some community of outcasts to take him in. This feminine loser was better known to his friends and family as mild-mannered René Wagner.
Of course, anything of any real quality will, inevitably, begin attracting the attention of the wrong kind of people. It has happened within any kind of movement imaginable, whether it be related to music, film, politics, etc. Black Metal was no different, except that the shameful losers it attracted were even more ridiculous than usual. Ranking near the top of that list was the feeble-minded René, a disgrace to his German blood. Like many others, he was drawn to the aesthetics and the dark atmosphere evoked by the music, but he failed to look beneath the surface. His understanding of Black Metal is shallow and rooted in self-created mythology, influenced by fantastical stories printed in newspapers and magazines.
This goth loser was not introduced to Black Metal until 1996, at the very earliest. More likely, it was even a year or two later. This is when he formed his own band and began imitating his new-found heroes. After a couple of demos, his band Nargaroth released Herbstleyd at the end of 1998. For one reason or another, this record appealed to a decent amount of people and this is something that René should have been proud of. He had infiltrated a world in which he did not belong, like so many others were doing around that time. But this was not enough for him. He wished to be associated with the originators of this musical style, instead of being among the legions of imitators. So he began to create a backstory for himself and his band, to gain more credibility in the scene.
According to his story (which often changed), he formed Nargaroth in 1989 and recorded the first demos in 1991 and 1993. During this time, he traveled to Norway and met with both Dead and Varg Vikernes and discussed the ill-fated path that Black Metal was on. He then went to prison on charges of manslaughter, then re-emerged a handful of years later to constantly weep and mourn for the old days (of which he was never a part, in any way) and to keep the ancient flame burning with his musical contributions. The only problem is that none of this is true.
The German Black Metal scene was a small and close-knit group, back in the mid-90s. No one involved had ever heard of Kanwulf or Nargaroth until 1997 at the earliest, and when asked about this idiotic drama queen Varg denied meeting him and went on to say that no foreigners were present except for a handful of Swedes. This does not even take into account that he was a mere child at the time, anyway. Countless people have come forth to dispute the claims made by René, in his quest for acceptance. Also worth mentioning is that his pseudonym was taken from a Canadian television program that did not even air in Germany until 1996, or so. Obviously, this would add more suspicion the the claims that those “old demos” were recorded and released in the early 90s. René also admitted later on that the inspiration for the name of his band came from Gorgoroth, which certainly did not exist in 1989. How ironic that this poser scum took on a dramatic tone in so many interviews, talking about how Black Metal died in 1994 and that everything that came after that was utter garbage. He was describing himself, perfectly. Somehow, he had convinced himself that his lies were truth and that he was the last of a forgotten age. The truth of the matter was that the era that he was so desperate to associate himself with was over before he had even heard of it. He spent a lot of time and energy in trying to craft the perfect image for his Black Metal persona, yet he allowed his true face to appear on national television in late 1999.
On a tv talk show called “Sonja Live”, he appeared in all of his feminine glory, seeming very giggly and shy and allowing himself to be ridiculed in a very low-class environment. Smiling and soft-spoken, he sat there in a fishnet shirt while his roommate lambasted him for listening to music too loud. The old school Black Metal warrior backed down and agreed to retreat to his car to listen to music, and could not have come off as more of a homosexual unless he began making out with the guy on stage. Far from the honourable Black Metal warrior that he pretended to be, this was most likely an accurate representation of his true personality.
To defend his actions, René took to the internet and masqueraded as other people in order to back up his own ridiculous claims or actions, as well as to speak highly of his own band. It was later discovered that the IP addresses for the fake users were all linked to the very university where René was taking classes. He brazenly lied time and again and then posed as random people to support his claims and to be his own number one fan... This guy truly had no shame.
As for his band's second full-length album, Black Metal Ist Krieg, it is nothing more than a pile of garbage and stolen ideas. It contains four cover songs from a handful of obscure bands that few were aware of. He had only been introduced to these bands a short time before recording the songs and, in the case of Moonblood, had actually said that they "were shit". Obviously, the idea behind this was to build even more credibility by pretending to possess knowledge of these obscure bands. Weird that someone would cover a band that he considers to be terrible, but understandable since they had a level of respect in the underground and he knew that others regarded them highly. Even more disgusting that this shameless poser has amassed such a following while a brilliant band like Moonblood languished in relative obscurity.
As for the rest of the album, it contains ridiculous lyrics that are all about Black Metal itself, resulting in unintended self-parody. Riffs are stolen, such as the Strid melodies in “Seven Tears Are Flowing to the River”, the Immortal plagiarism in “Erik, May You Rape the Angels” (which is a total farce, making a tribute song to someone that he had never met, pretending to be some close friend) and the obvious theft from Darkthrone in “Possessed By Black Fucking Metal”. Obviously, he spent a lot of time listening to End of Life, Pure Holocaust and Under A Funeral Moon, when writing the material for this album. Outside of these “borrowed” concepts, his own material is incredibly derivative and more of a mockery than a tribute. Just listen to “The Day Burzum Killed Mayhem” and read the lyrics and wonder how René managed to record this with a straight face. Such a laughable pile of human waste shouldn't even be allowed to utter the names of those bands. Boring and generic riffs, comical displays of false emotion and horrid movie samples all populate an album that has, somehow, gained a high level of respect among more casual listeners. Sad to see so many listeners that do not realize what a piece of trash this album really is and this was only the second one.
René continued his pathetic antics, even including a home video of him whining and crying that some people had seen through his lies and burning t-shirts and records for some unknown purpose. The thing that seems to go unnoticed is that this loser is an attention whore and always has been. Like a lot of other people, he saw Black Metal as some “island of misfit toys” that would accept him in ways that the goth community would not. It was also probably more interesting and excited him to think that he could be a part of something that was, at times, dangerous and legitimately evil. Kanwulf is nothing more than a weakling that has enjoyed the attention of uninformed listeners that take his false claims and simplistic music at face value.
That is the real problem here. It is not just that some loser ran around, spreading lies and trying to be part of something to which he did not belong. Posers are all over the place, and their presence is annoying but, ultimately, does not matter. The thing is that this particular person managed to create a mythology around himself (not so much his true self, but a character that existed only in his mind) and his band to fool many in the underground for several years. There are many that still revere the work and words of this fool, based on his hideous lies and posturing, and it should not only be known that it was all false, but that others like him are surely lurking all over. Honour is something that is rapidly fading from this world. Disingenuous people are multiplying in this modern age of technology and it is only getting worse. Do not be so quick to offer your support to such scum. Avoid anything that has to do with the stain upon Black Metal known as Nargaroth.