Euronymous opened a small underground metal store along with Occultus and Geir "Thrasher" Bratteli. It was called "Helvete", Norwegian for "Hell". The store became a major gathering place for many black metal bands and members of the scene. Euronymous was the major figurehead of the group, and founded a group for the "elite" black metal followers/band members to be involved in, calling themselves "The Inner Circle". Some members would preach to each other on destroying and defiling churches, graveyards, and anything of Christian belief. Euronymous firmly expressed his hope that black metal would incite young people to violence, torture, murder, and pain. He also owned an underground label called "Deathlike Silence Productions" after a Sodom song. He released albums from such bands as Merciless (Swe), Burzum, Enslaved (Nor), Sigh and Abruptum.

Dead committed suicide in 1991 by shooting himself in the mouth with a shotgun after cutting his wrists with a knife. The shells are rumoured to have been given to him by Varg Vikernes. Varg (Count Grishnack) knew that Dead used to practice with a shotgun in the forest close to the hut where the members of Mayhem lived. His body, along with a suicide note saying "Excuse all the blood", was discovered in his room. Euronymous took some pictures (one of them appearing as the cover of the infamous "Dawn of the Black Hearts" bootleg album) of the suicide scene. A legend was born, and it was said that Euronymous had cooked and eaten pieces of Dead's brain. It was also said that fragments of Dead's skull had been collected and made into necklaces that both Euronymous and Hellhammer wore as a tribute to Dead. Hellhammer was even rumoured to play the drums with Dead's bones live. Of course it is doubtful that the truth was as macabre as people would like to believe.

With the media and police attention following Dead's suicide, Necrobutcher (Jørn Stubberud) decided to leave the band. Dead was replaced by Occultus (Stian Johansen), ex-singer of Thy Abhorrent and partner of Euronymous in the "Helvete" shop. He sang and played bass in Mayhem for a few months, but soon left. With the band's need for musicians, Varg Vikernes (Burzum) joined as bassist and even participated in De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album.

On August 10th, 1993, Varg Vikernes murdered Euronymous in his apartment with Blackthorn acting as an accomplice. Their relationship before the murder was tense, as their friendship and musical relationship started going downhill. Vikernes, who had started to play bass in Mayhem, killed him due to a number of alleged reasons: over a girl, jealousy of Euronymous's position in the Inner Circle, Euronymous owing him money, Euronymous not releasing Burzum's albums on time. Euronymous was found in his underwear, with 23 stab wounds inflicted with a knife. Varg was rumoured to try and outdo the murder Faust of Emperor committed. At his trial, Vikernes came into court with his long hair made into pigtails, and denying his involvement in Euronymous's death. He giggled and laughed throughout the trial. He was convicted of the murder and was sentenced to 21 years in prison (the maximum possible sentence in Norway). When police arrested Vikernes, he was found with over 150 kilograms of stolen dynamite and alleged plans to destroy Nidarosdomen, a large Christian church in Trondheim, on a religious holiday. Although, Varg Vikernes has a different story to the reasons for killing Euronymous (see for articles Varg composed himself explaining the murder).

After the trial, Euronymous's parents asked Hellhammer to remove the bass lines that Varg had recorded. He told them he would record new bass lines himself, but the truth is that he didn't know how to play the instrument, so the album remained the same, featuring Varg on it. Other rumours about Occultus playing the new bass lines are also false, he never played a note with the band during his time in Mayhem, according to Hellhammer.

Their gigs featured heavy atmospheric effects such as severed pig heads impaled on wooden spikes. Dead's clothes were buried days/weeks before the show, and were exhumed decayed, soiled, and full of insects. Pieces of rotting meat were thrown into the audience and given to people to devour or rip on the spot. Dead ravens were placed in a bag so Dead could continually smell decay and death. Members were also noted to cut themselves onstage.

Further information can be found in the book "Lords Of Chaos" although it is generally regarded as being sensationalist and not objective at all.

Interesting fact: Euronymous is responsible for getting many nowadays famous bands (Darkthrone, Immortal (Nor), Emperor) into black metal and/or influenced them to change their musical style from death metal to black metal. He's considered to be responsible for sparking the whole Norwegian black metal movement and making it what it is today.

Despite once playing in the strongly anti-Christian band Mayhem, early vocalist Kittil Kittilsen (ex-Kvikksølvguttene, Vomit (Nor)) left the music scene around 2000 and became a fundamentalist Christian and warns people of the dangers of playing in a rock/pop band regardless of what the lyrics/ideology is about.

Birth dates:
Necrobutcher (Jørn Stubberud) (13th April 1968, Norway)
Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg) (2nd August 1969, Trysil, Norway)
Attila Csihar (29th March 1971, Hungary)
Kjetil Esten Haraldsson Manheim (27th November 1968)
Dead (Per Yngve "Pelle" Ohlin) (16th January 1969, Stockholm, Sweden) - R.I.P. 8th April 1991
Count Grishnackh (Kristian "Varg" Vikernes) (11th February 1973, near Bergen, Norway)
Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth) (22nd March 1968, Egersund, Norway) - R.I.P. 10th August 1993
Maniac (Sven-Erik Kristiansen) (19th February 1967, Norway)
Blasphemer (Rune Eriksen) (13th January 1974, Norway)

Artist website

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