Metal Storm logo
Øystein Aarseth


1984-1993 Mayhem - guitars, vocals (as Euronymous)  

Guest musician

1992-1993 Burzum - guitars (as Euronymous)  

Personal information

Also known as: Euronymous
Born on: 22.03.1968
Died on: 10.08.1993

Øystein Aarseth (March 22, 1968 - August 10, 1993), who went by the pseudonym Euronymous, was a Norwegian guitarist and co-founder of the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. He was also founder and owner of the extreme metal label Deathlike Silence Productions and record shop Helvete, until his murder by fellow musician Varg Vikernes. He is widely held to be the founder of modern black metal.

Euronymous is responsible for getting many present groups into black metal and/or influenced them to change their death sound to black. Such groups include Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor. He is considered to be the person responsible for sparking the whole Norwegian Black Metal movement and making it what it is today.

Aarseth formed the original Mayhem line up in 1984. At the time he was going by the stage name "Destructor" but on joining the band he changed his name to Euronymous, derived from the demon Eurynomos.

He opened a record store called Helvete (Norwegian for "Hell") and started his own record label and mailorder, which he named Deathlike Silence Productions.


In late January 1993, Varg Vikernes of Burzum was interviewed by a journalist from Bergens Tidende. Vikernes had allegedly requested the interview in order to gain publicity for the black metal scene and for Aarseth's record label Deathlike Silence Productions. However, the interview led to a police investigation and Vikernes was put under arrest for six weeks. Aarseth decided to close his record store due to this negative attention.

On 10 August 1993, Vikernes and Snorre Ruch travelled from Bergen to Aarseth's apartment in Oslo. Upon their arrival a confrontation began, which ended when Vikernes fatally stabbed Aarseth. His body was found outside the apartment with twenty-three cut wounds - two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back.

It has been speculated that the murder was the result of a power struggle, a financial dispute over Burzum records, or an attempt at "out doing" the stabbing in Lillehammer. Vikernes denies everything, claiming Aarseth had plotted to torture him to death and videotape the event - using a meeting about an unsigned contract as a pretext. On the night of the murder, Vikernes claims he intended to hand Aarseth the signed contract and tell him "fuck off", but that Aarseth attacked him first. Additionally, Vikernes contends that most of Aarseth's cut wounds were caused by broken glass he had fallen on during the struggle.

Regardless of the circumstances, Vikernes was arrested within days, and a few months later was sentenced to 21 years in prison (Norway's maximum penalty) for both the murder and church arsons. In a controversial display, Vikernes smiled at the moment his verdict was read, an image that was widely reprinted in the news media.

In May 1994, Mayhem finally released the album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, which features Aarseth on electric guitar and Vikernes on bass guitar. Before the release, Aarseth's family had asked Hellhammer, Mayhem's drummer, to remove bass tracks which had been recorded by Vikernes. Although Hellhammer promised to personally re-record them, in truth he had no idea how to do it, and the final album retains Vikernes' contributions.


Euronymous played a Standard sunburst Gibson Les Paul guitar, which can be seen in many pictures of him playing. He stated in various interviews that his main guitar influences were bands such as Venom, Bathory, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, and Sodom. He played through a slightly modified Marshall JCM800 tube amp and used an Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal as well as an Arion Metal Master distortion pedal.


Aarseth was a practitioner of Theistic Satanism. Although he did not use the music of Mayhem to promote his political leanings, he saw them as mutually compatible with Black Metal - influenced by the repressive nature of his Satanism as well as his intense misanthropy; all traits which have since apparently been shunned by the majority of Black Metal musicians in spite of their respect for his role in developing the genre. He admittedly held a disdain for individualism; a mindset which later on would be a motivating factor for the hostility of many black metal musicians towards Right-Hand Path religions. Nevertheless, his beliefs were to have a profound effect on the then-nascent black metal participants.

"Satanism comes from religious Christianity, and there it shall stay. I'm a religious person and I will fight those who misuse His name. People are not supposed to believe in themselves and be individualists. They are supposed to OBEY, to be the SLAVES of religion.' - Euronymous, in an interview by Esa Lahdenperä.

However, in the Black Metal documentary "Until The Light Takes Us", Varg Vikernes claimed that, in fact, Aarseth was not a satanist.

Ostensibly, the theistic Satanism embraced by Euronymous was a deliberate fundamental inversion of Roman Catholic dogma, fully supporting what was found to be abhorrent and blasphemous: for instance, he was an ardent proponent of sodomy, rape and murder simply because they were evil acts. He opposed the teachings of Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey, for unlike Euronymous they promoted what he saw as 'peace', and commercial frivolity, as well as individualism in contrast to precedence of dogma (although Crowley and LaVey both included dogma in their belief systems, they were also naturally opposed to the subservience that Euronymous promoted).

"Euronymous had this total Satan attitude. I didn't have that - he had that. He was such a devil worshipper you wouldn't believe it."- Mortiis

Aarseth apparently did not have a problem with the following of Paganism in the black metal scene, however, as in due time many bands followed this and/or felt empathetic towards their ancient European/Viking roots. However, Varg Vikernes later claimed that Aarseth - determined to promote Satanism and incite intense Christian opposition - disapproved of Vikernes' desire to encourage Paganism.


An admirer of communist leaders such as Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot, Euronymous was a member of the Norwegian communist youth group Rød Ungdom, where according to fellow black metal musician Frost, he may have honed his leadership skills of which he would utilize in the early Norwegian black metal scene, where he allegedly led a Black Metal Inner Circle. However, Euronymous himself openly rejected traditional Communism as envisioned by Karl Marx in favor of totalitarian dictatorships as under Stalin and Pol Pot.


Pure Fucking Armageddon (1985)

Deathcrush (1987)

Live in Leipzig

Freezing Moon/Carnage

Out from the Dark

De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

He also released a demo with Checker Patrol in 1986.