Contact Us

Gaahl Reaffirms His Position on Church Burnings: ‘I Don’t Think It’s Wrong’

The recent casting of Kristian ‘Gaahl’ Espedal, the former frontman for Gorgoroth and God Seed, in a state-funded musical has stirred up controversy in Gaahl’s Norwegian homeland because of comments the black metal maestro made several years ago about the church burnings that were commonplace during the early Norwegian black metal era. And now, it looks as though the musical’s art director is rethinking the decision.

Gaahl’s been cast in a musical based around Svartediket’s self-titled concept record, which took its inspiration from the myths and legends of the lake Svartediket, which is situated just outside Bergen, Norway. Billed as the “first-ever black metal musical,” it’s scheduled to premiere May 26 at the Bergen International Festival at Bergen’s National Stage Theatre. The casting has sparked the ire of Lutheran bishops, as the theater and its productions are funded with government .

Halvor Nordhaug, the Lutheran bishop in the diocese of Bjørgvin, has protested the casting because of comment’s Gaahl made in the 2005 documentary “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.” In it, Gaahl seemed to support and even advocate church burnings.

“Church burnings are, of course, a thing that I support one hundred percent,” he says in the 2005 film. “It should have been done much more, and will be done much more in the future. We have to remove every trace from what Christianity, and the Semitic roots, have to offer this world.”

Well, it seems Gaahl’s views have remained unchanged, despite his involvement with “Svartediket.” He reaffirmed his views in a recent interview, saying, “I have left my past behind, but I still have an anti-Christian attitude. Christianity has no place in this country. As long as the church has the power it has and supports oppression, we shouldn’t give the church any sympathy. Therefore I don’t think it’s wrong if [a church burning] happens again. The symbolic value of burning down churches is important.”

Gaahl’s remarks prompted Nordhaug to tell the Bergens Tidende newspaper that the metal singer “displays some scary attitudes by defending church burnings. He says nothing about the fact that human lives were lost during one of the church burnings in the 1990s. I think everybody, no matter what their religious beliefs are, agrees with me that his attitudes are scary, but it could still be possible that his role at [National Stage] will provide him with some kind of legitimacy, which is unfortunate.”

According to reports Thursday, the musical’s art director, Bjarte Hjelmeland, is being pressured by the clergy and his bosses to recast the role. Hjelmeland plans to travel to Oslo to have “a long talk” with Gaahl about his recent statement, before making a decision on whether to allow the singer to stay involved with the production.

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://noisecreep.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Noisecreep quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on Noisecreep quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!