Sunday, April 8, 2018

30 Days of De-Objectification: Heavy Metal Angel

Per Yngve Ohlin, AKA Dead
January 16, 1969 - April 8, 1991

30 Days of De-Objectification:
Heavy Metal Angel

The tragic tale of Per Yngve Ohlin, vocalist for the Swedish death metal band Morbid and the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem, evokes strong emotional responses. Per suffered from severe psychological disturbances. Reading about him in the chapters translated into English from Blod Eld Död, I have the feeling that he may have been autistic. He would become greatly upset if disturbed while performing a task. Despite his intelligence, evidenced in his thoughtful and provocative song lyrics and his clever though disturbing artwork, he did poorly in school.
After Per’s parents divorced, he changed schools. His previous classmates were used to his unusual behavior and were generally tolerant of him. His new schoolmates bullied him, and, on one occasion, beat him so severely that he ended up clinically dead. Following this event, he became obsessed with death and referred to himself as not being alive. The head trauma he incurred from the assault may have caused him to develop Cotard Syndrome, a rare condition in which a person believes their body is dead.
Although he has been gone from this world for twenty-seven years, Per continues to be exploited, both by those who insist on seeing him as some sort of icon for evil and those who look only at his physical appearance without seeing the very troubled human being behind the flowing blond hair and the striking, angular face.
Per was obsessed with occult imagery, but he wasn’t truly evil. He was angry at a world which had caused him grievous harm. Many of those who attacked him probably identified as “good Christians.” It’s no wonder that he wanted to be the opposite of his attackers or that he dreamed of being able to exact revenge against those who injured him.
As for the idea of Per being some sort of sex god, there is no evidence that he was ever sexually involved with anyone or that he even had any interest in sex. There have been fantasies written about him by a certain contingent of horny female fans, usually postulating him as some sort of vampire king or demon lord. I wish I could say these fictions were worthy of their subject. Most of them are poorly written and I wouldn’t feel right about quoting the explicit and ludicrous scenarios postulated therein.
Worst of all, there are still people who see fit to share the actual, post-suicide image photographed by Per’s former bandmate, Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth. My opinions of Aarseth are not exactly favorable, but I became somewhat more sympathetic to him after viewing interviews with his former bandmates and schoolmates, Kjetil Manheim and Jorn “Necrobutcher” Stubberud.
Regardless of my personal opinions of Euronymous, photographing the corpse of your housemate, even if you weren’t particularly kindly disposed to him, is unconscionable. As the surviving members of Morbid said on the liner of their 2011 release, The Year of the Goat, “No thanks to the distributors and buyers of the post-mortem pic. Fuck you.”
Those words of wisdom sum things up perfectly.

With love and respect,

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading about Per's life earlier. It's so sad that some people suffer so at the hands of others who should be supportive. At the very least, they could refrain from exploiting him.


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