Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Málmhaus

Country: Iceland

Year: 2013

As some people say: “New Year, new me”. That’s what we can say about us. Okay, the New Year started almost two months ago but to us, members of Abaddon Magazine, this time now is a fresh start. In future period we will present you some new stuff we are preparing for you. But as the future is in every other minute, let’s start now.

After almost a year and a half of us existing we had our first official meeting live. Yey! I know this isn’t some important information for you as readers, but it’s quite special to us because it’s seriously the first time. Due to Covid plague that rules the planet and our jobs and school it wasn’t possible to randomly go out just as friends. Four of us had a lot of subjects to talk about. A pleasant evening ended with plans for our little devilish Abaddon Magazine.

Thanks to experience of other three older members and a lot of situations that we talked about in our little manufacture of words, we had some good plans. One new thing that we will represent to you are movie reviews. Of course, it’s not difficult actually to conclude that those are movies which are inspired by metal or rock ‘n’ roll. The list is pretty big but one by one it will be done. As music isn’t the only part of art that is telling us something about metal culture, movies, books, interviews are there too. I think these “quick media” are even the best way for young generations to learn something.

My subject for the day will be the movie “Metalhead” (originally titled “Málmhaus“), directed by Ragnar Bragason. The story is settled in Iceland, or we can freely say just Scandinavia, the cradle of black metal.

At first look, it’s a typical life story of a young metalhead Hera Karlsdottir and her music which is really weird to her village. But it’s not just a story like in “Deathgasm” or “Rock star”. I can say it even doesn’t have a happy or a sad ending. In the first few minutes we can’t see anything unusual. Kids playing, all blonde, parents are making dinner… But the main story starts with a family tragedy of a young boy who died in an accident while he was working at the field. He was a metalhead and Hera always watched him as her good big brother Baldur. After his unexpected death she decided to follow his path and became a metalhead herself. Her road was hard and frustrating but she made it.

Followed by depression of her parents and a village that has no opportunities for young people she even became more unadapt. Something that is similar to the life of every metalhead is that some bad situations made us what we are. Her decision to become a headbanger was quick and her own run away from reality. The death of her brother is keeping her there without energy to move forward personally or professionally.

A lot of us from little cities have a similar situation. We have no friends with whom we can talk about music or anything similar. It’s hard and frustrating sometimes that you are different from all the others. There are problems in school even with professors and you think the whole world is against you. Province or village is rough and unpleasant.

Hera is struggling with everything around and trying to find friends. By that time, Varg Vikernes, bass player of Mayhem, burned the churches in Bergen and as a sign of revolution, Hera liked it. A young priest whose role is the most important next to Hera’s, and who was metalhead himself, tried to talk to her and see what is the problem but one misunderstanding of their interests for each other made Hera even more angry.

Through all movie and especially at the end we realised that he was the only person that understood her. She was brave and stayed true to herself and what she is but He (the priest) ran to church to cover his personality and his interests in metal. He actually admires her for everything she is doing.

As we know how black metal started its own history, in cold depressed environment of Scandinavia, music itself is full of anger, chaos and on some point evil. Of course, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth and others who did it first were doing that to be noticed by the world. To be original. Hera also had that wish to be part of that culture, even from the far Iceland, in her own way. After every major fight or disappointment she got the inspiration to go to her room or a slaughter house to make music. It sounds like black / depressive metal and it’s totally expected. Nobody understands and people even look at her with a dose of hate. Parents were ashamed of her and she felt it. Inspired by Varg and his crimes, she burned the church down of course.

In my opinion it’s the most typical part of movie and it wasn’t necessary, but it has its own symbolism. At one moment she had some kind of a spiritual awakening and tried to be like the others but that was the most depressing part of the movie. Hera was really unhappy with that kind of a normal life. As the light at the end of the tunnel, the scene of arrival of a band from Norway that heard about her and her deep honest music and came to Iceland to find her is an important part. She once again stays true to herself and took the victory.

The scene in which, for the first time, we hear Hera’s complete work and the song “Svarthamar” is filmed in some kind of a village party because she was the only person there who brought some refreshment. Hera’s parents must get over it, with grief, and by Heras journey to Norway they decided to play some metal. “Symphony of Destruction” on the player, with crazy dance, is some kind of a happy end and a peace between Hera and her parents. The song is a symbol of chaos that was going around all her life and a next level of her parents to move forward after Baldur’s death.

Everything in this movie is a little sad, depressed and so Scandinavian, but it’s the other side of the story of every metalhead in the world and what we are going through sometimes. A dream we all have to be a part of something big. It’s, for some of us, unrealistic but the point is to be true to ourselves as Hera did. Like Sepultura would say in the song “Slaves of Pain”: “Open your eyes, don’t lose yourself”. So, let’s all hail Hera Kalrsdottir and the great movie “Metalhead”!