PRESENT DAY: News of the suicide of award-winning documentarian HELLA TRULS has shocked fans of Norwegian cinema. Her death launches the release of an unknown 30-year-old documentary film ‘SEARCHING FOR SURTR’ onto YouTube. It tells the story of the making of the album ‘TRAPPED IN PURGATORY’ by NOTHING HOLY, who pioneered the burgeoning Norwegian black metal scene of the late 1980s. The album appears in every ‘Best Of Metal’ list you care to reference. After the band recorded their opus they were never seen or heard of again. That was 30 years ago.
1991: Shot in a self-assured, cinematic, fly on the wall style, the film starts on the long journey from Oslo to Kimmö Studios, Finland. Hella captures the natural, nervous energy of a freshly reformed band trying to reconnect. ANSGAR (Vocals), DEATHDEALER (Lead Guitar), EGIL (Drums) and new bassist, FRITJOF are Oslo’s NOTHING HOLY. After successfully touring their first record ‘ABOLISH THE RULES MADE IN STONE’ they split up in rancorous circumstances amid accusations of church burning, satanism & murder.
Fast forward to the studio, after an initial few days of polite avoidance, mistrust and general studio action, the film reveals they’re far from evil Satanists at the crossroads of hell. The camera runs for 30 seconds after a solemnly performed pig’s blood ritual; long enough to expose that three of the band burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. Main creative force in Nothing Holy, Ansgar, is chief cynic. He boasts that he never said any of the things the rock press lent his name to, but he was happy for them to write it. Tensions grow as newbie Fritjof feels he’s been conned into joining a fake black metal band.