Artist: Peter Beste
Location: Steven Kasher Gallery (New York, NY)
Event: “True Norwegian Black Metal” Book Debut & Gallery Exhibit
Publisher: Vice Books
Acclaimed documentary photographer Peter Beste has reason to celebrate for not only has he captured the images of some of Black Metal’s most imposing players, but he is also getting ready to unleash a book that compiles his best work on this subject for all the fans to enjoy. Titled “True Norwegian Black Metal”, the book is loaded with photographs and images that will take you on a journey into the darkest recesses of the Black Metal genre with Peter and the often notorious members of these bands at your side. To say that this tome is massive would be an understatement as this is a HUGE coffee table sized book which is about sixteen or so inches long and almost two inches thick. Some of the bands that we find featured in its pages are Carpathian Forest, Darthrone, Mayhem, Enslaved and perhaps the most threatening of them all – Gorgoroth. Tonight, at the Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC, Beste would be presenting the book as well as some thirty or so photographs that were available for purchase if you had the desire to take a piece of the book home with you. It was an incredibly cool and windy night, with an almost torrential rain coming down that offered only the gallery as safe haven to those Metal travelers who made their way down to the opening tonight. Of course, I am not sure just how safe any haven is when you have the cold visage of Gorgoroth’s Gaahl and King staring right at you. The band members were here in photograph only and I think that this was a good thing since there is probably just a little more intensity to them in real life that we are best left to only imagine via the help of the photos in the book. We find the bands not only in their natural environments on the stage but also during photo shoots in their towns or among nature. There are even some images from the town where the singer Gaahl has lived all of his life that were shot during a film I will speak on a little later. Think of the most remote place you can and these spots will outdo it immediately. It’s really incredible to also see shots from the infamous Gorgoroth show in Krakow, Poland very prominently displayed. The show became an international incident, but will finally see the light of day care of Metal Mind Productions and MVD Entertainment.
At one point during the night there seemed to be a solid couple of hundred people in attendance and all of them were milling about the gallery admiring the photos and talking to each other about the book and the bands that were featured in it. It proved that it takes much more than heavy rains to keep away the fans of the fine art of Black Metal music. Throughout the night Mr. Beste walked around shaking hands and talking with anyone who wanted to speak with him and that was very nice to see. The downside was that he didn’t get up and make any official statements which I think would have added a nice touch to such a monumental affair. However, he sure was free with some of the stories behind the photos that were on display tonight. It’s clear that the text by Johan Kugelberg that accompanies the images will make for some very interesting reading. Sadly, I would not do more than peruse the book this evening as I would be otherwise occupied getting the vibe of the event as opposed to sitting and reading it somewhere. We do hope to have a review of this item in the future, so please keep watching the appropriate section for that. Despite this my cursory browse of the book was definitely enough to sell me on it and allow me to tell those who are deciding whether they should pick it up or not that they should definitely set aside the cash to do so. It is an incredible book that really captures an essence and so many of the photos inside it are just……powerful and make a statement. It’s as simple as that. When the affair started this evening there were stacks of the hardcover volume at numerous locations but by the end of the gathering I didn’t see too many anywhere that I looked. Those who had purchased it this evening were getting Peter to sign them and he also had some lithographs that were limited editions on hand. I also found out that there was a limited edition version of the book available and the number of them being released will be a very Black Metal – “666”. This proves to be a fascinating collectible for anyone who gets it and it is sure to be looked at over and over while the crushing sounds of Gorgoroth, Burzum, 1349 and the like blasts in the background.