Until The Light Takes Us Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell

Until The Light Takes Us Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell
Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell have taken great pains to create what is potentially the world's first feature-length documentary on Norwegian black metal. Relocating from California to the land of ice and snow for a number of years, and breaking into the scene's infamous "inner circle," the duo have managed to capture interviews, candid moments and the general atmosphere of this groundbreaking, influential genre's primary creators some two decades after they first came to prominence. Speaking with the likes of Burzum's Varg Vikernes, Mayhem's Hellhammer, Darkthrone's Gylve "Fenriz" Nagell and more, the pair strive to enlighten us as to what made, and makes, this world of bleakness, sordid music, murder and church burnings thrive. A surprisingly intimate portrait of the violent, but ultimately misunderstood, movement, Until The Light Takes Us features captivating moments with Nagell and Vikernes, who finally shed their corpse paint, allowing their true selves to emerge. Still, despite these accomplishments, there's little else for a devout genre fan to sink their teeth into, as Aites/Ewell look to entertain both devotees and newbies, but as part of the latter, they end up siding more with the unwitting than those looking for deeper insight into their demonic heroes. Quite simply, Until The Light Takes Us is a Dummy's Guide To Black Metal without so much as an introduction, middle or conclusion. Instead, it goes straight for the epilogue and still lets Vikernes and Nagell do the talking via vague reflections. Essentially, while it's wonderful that the duo found an opportunity in something the black metal contingent had failed to create themselves, their dubious understanding and passion for the craft is obvious, making this a passable, but relatively uninformative, affair for anyone other than the partner coerced into spending a night watching a movie on their loved one's "noisy music." Extras on this double-disc affair abound though, with Nagell using chalkboards to create a black metal family tree (obvious and amusing, but draining over 45 minutes), average outtakes of goofy moments, a limp alternate ending and interview clips of varying entertainment. Only when the extra interview footage opens up do these bonuses feel redeemed. Either way, Until The Light Takes Us is a great intention that would have been incredible had an understanding spirit offered stronger guidance to the novices in the director chairs. As is, it's little more than adequate. (Factory 25)