Musicians and fans of the Norwegian black metal scene took part in over 50 arsons of Christian churches in Norway from June 1992 to 1996.  Some of the buildings were hundreds of years old and seen as important historical landmarks. One of the first and most notable was Norway’s Fantoft stave church, which police believed was burnt by Varg Vikernes of the one- Murder of Euronymous[edit source | editbeta] In early 1993, animosity arose between Euronymous and Vikernes.  On the night of 10 August 1993, Varg Vikernes (of Burzum) and Snorre ‘Blackthorn’ Ruch (of Thorns) drove from Bergen to Euronymous’s apartment in Oslo.
Upon their arrival a confrontation began and Vikernes fatally stabbed Euronymous. His body was found on the stairs outside the apartment with 23 cut wounds – two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back.  It has been speculated that the murder was the result of either a power struggle, a financial dispute over Burzum records or an attempt at “outdoing” a stabbing in Lillehammer the year before by Faust.  Vikernes denies all of these, claiming that he attacked Euronymous in self-defense.
He says that Euronymous had plotted to stun him with an electroshock weapon, tie him up and torture him to death while videotaping the event.  He said Euronymous planned to use a meeting about an unsigned contract to ambush him.  On the night of the murder, Vikernes claims he intended to hand Euronymous the signed contract and “tell him to fuck off”, but that Euronymous “panicked” and attacked him first.  He also claims that most of the cut wounds were caused by broken glass Euronymous had fallen on during the struggle.  The self-defense story is doubted by Faust and other members of the scene.
Vikernes was arrested on 19 August 1993 in Bergen.  Many other members of the scene were taken in for questioning around the same time. Some of them confessed to their crimes and implicated others. In May 1994, Vikernes was sentenced to 21 years in prison (Norway’s maximum penalty) for the murder of Euronymous, the arson of four churches, and for the theft and storage of 150 kg of explosives. However, he only confessed to the latter. Two churches were burnt the day he was sentenced, “presumably as a statement of symbolic support”.  Vikernes smiled when his verdict was read and the picture was widely reprinted in the news media.
Blackthorn was sentenced to eight years in prison for being an accomplice to the murder.  That month saw the release of Mayhem’s album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, which featured Euronymous on guitar and Vikernes on bass guitar.  Before the release, Euronymous’s family had asked Mayhem’s drummer, Hellhammer, to remove the bass tracks recorded by Vikernes. Hellhammer said: “I thought it was appropriate that the murderer and victim were on the same record. I put word out that I was re-recording the bass parts, but I never did”.  In 2003, Vikernes failed to return to Tonsberg prison after being given a short leave.
He was re-arrested shortly after while driving a stolen car with various weapons.  Vikernes was released on parole in 2009.  Conflict between scenes[edit source | editbeta] There was said to have been a strong rivalry between Norwegian black metal and Swedish death metal scenes. Fenriz and Tchort have noted that Norwegian black metal musicians had become “fed up with the whole death metal scene” and that “death metal was very uncool in Oslo” at the time.  A number of times, Euronymous sent death threats to some of the more mainstream death metal groups in Europe.
 Allegedly, a group of Norwegian black metal fans even plotted to kidnap and murder certain Swedish death metal musicians.  There was a brief feud between Norwegian and Finnish scenes during 1992 and 1993.  The feud was partly motivated by seemingly harmless pranks; for example, Nuclear Holocausto of the Finnish band Beherit made prank calls in the middle of the night to Samoth of Emperor (in Norway) and Mika Luttinen of Impaled Nazarene (in Finland). The calls consisted of senseless babbling and playing of children’s songs, although Luttinen believed them to be death threats from Norwegian bands.
 Impaled Nazarene’s first album Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz has “No orders from Norway accepted” and “Kuolema Norjan kusipaille! ” (“Death to the assholes of Norway! “) printed on the back cover. The Finnish band Black Crucifixion criticized Darkthrone as “trendies” due to Darkthrone originally being a death metal band.  The second wave outside Norway[edit source | editbeta] Black metal scenes also emerged on the European mainland during the early 1990s, inspired by the Norwegian scene or the older bands, or both. In Poland, a scene was spearheaded by Graveland and Behemoth.
In France, a close-knit group of musicians known as Les Legions Noires emerged; this included artists such as Mutiilation, Vlad Tepes, Belketre and Torgeist. Bands such as Black Funeral, Grand Belial’s Key and Judas Iscariot emerged during this time in the United States. A notable black metal group in England at the time was Cradle of Filth, who released three demos in a black/death metal style with symphonic flourishes, followed by a studio album, which featured a then-unusual hybrid style of black and gothic metal. The band then abandoned black metal for gothic metal, becoming one of the most successful extreme metal bands to date.
John Serba of AllMusic commented that their first album “made waves in the early black metal scene, putting Cradle of Filth on the tips of metalheads’ tongues, whether in praise of the band’s brazen attempts to break the black metal mold or in derision for its ‘commercialization’ of an underground phenomenon that was proud of its grimy heritage [… ]”.  Another English band called Necropolis never released any music, but “began a desecratory assault against churches and cemeteries in their area” and “almost caused Black Metal to be banned in Britain as a result”.
 The controversy surrounding Absurd drew attention to the German black metal scene. In 1993, the members murdered a boy from their school, Sandro Beyer.  A photo of Beyer’s gravestone is on the cover of one of their demos, Thuringian Pagan Madness, along with pro-Nazi statements. It was recorded in prison and released in Poland by Graveland drummer Capricornus.  The band’s early music, however, was more influenced by Oi! and Rock Against Communism (RAC) than by black metal, and described as being “more akin to ’60s garage punk than some of the […] Black Metal of their contemporaries”.
 Alexander von Meilenwald from the German band Nagelfar considers Ungod’s 1993 debut album Circle of the Seven Infernal Pacts, Desaster’s 1994 demo Lost in the Ages, Tha-Norr’s 1995 album Wolfenzeitalter (which he called an “fantastic, extremely atmospheric underground jewel” by one of the most underrated German bands), Lunar Aurora’s 1996 debut Weltenganger and Katharsis’s 2000 debut 666 (whose second album Kruzifixxion he called “by far the best traditional black metal album from Germany”) to be the most important recordings for the German scene.
 He said they were “not necessarily the best German releases, but they all kicked off something”.  After the second waveman band Burzum.  The cover of Burzum’s EP Aske (Norwegian for ‘ashes’) is a photograph of the Fantoft stave church after its destruction. In May 1994, he was found guilty for burning down Holmenkollen Chapel, Skjold Church and Asane Church.
 To coincide with the release of Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Vikernes and Euronymous had also allegedly plotted to blow up Nidaros Cathedral, which appears on the album cover. The musicians Faust, Samoth, (both of Emperor) and Jorn Inge Tunsberg (of Hades Almighty) were also convicted for church arsons. Members of the Swedish scene started to burn churches in 1993.  Many of those convicted for the church burnings have said that their actions were a symbolic “retaliation” against Christianity in Norway.
 According to Mayhem drummer Hellhammer, he had urged the others to focus on attacking mosques and Hindu temples instead.  Today, opinions on the church burnings differ within the black metal community. Guitarist Infernus and former vocalist Gaahl of the band Gorgoroth have praised the church burnings in interviews, with the latter saying “there should have been more of them, and there will be more of them”.
 However, Necrobutcher and Kjetil Manheim of Mayhem have condemned the church burnings, with the latter claiming “It was just people trying to gain acceptance within a strict group [the black metal scene] … they wanted some sort of approval and status”.  Watain vocalist Erik Danielsson said that he respected these acts “as acts of their own will” but “the only Christianity they defeated was the last piece of Christianity within themselves. Which is a very good