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Background information
Birth name Øystein Aarseth
Born March 22, 1968
Surnadal, Norway
Died August 10, 1993 (aged 25)
Oslo, Norway
Genres Black metal, thrash metal
Occupations Musician (guitarist)
Instruments Electric guitar, vocals[citation needed]
Years active 1984–1993
Associated acts Mayhem
Checker Patrol
Notable instruments
Gibson Cherry Sunburst Classic Les Paul

Øystein Aarseth (March 22, 1968 - August 10, 1993) was a guitarist for the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem who went by the stage name Euronymous. He was founder and owner of the extreme / black metal label Deathlike Silence, as well as the Oslo specialist record shop Helvete, until his murder by fellow musician Varg Vikernes.

Before founding Mayhem, he was in L.E.G.O. and Checker Patrol with Necrobutcher. He released one demo with Checker Patrol and none with L.E.G.O., although there is a very rare video of that band. Aarseth formed the original Mayhem line up in 1983. At the time he was going by the stage name "Destructor" but on joining the band he changed his name to Euronymous, a title taken from a Hellhammer song -- misspelled from Eurynomos, the Hellhammer song misspells the name this way, which is why Euronymous' name is misspelled this way. By the late 80's Aarseth had steered the band towards a satanist stance, and this was to have a profound effect on all of the then-nascent scene members. He became the focal center of the Black Metal Inner Circle. He opposed the teachings of Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey, instead embracing a form of theistic Satanism as perceived by Christians, deliberately inverting Roman Catholic dogma and 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 (Aarseth used "evil" in an absolute sense, which could possibly be attributed to the standards of his English). Contrary to the beliefs many perceive to be held by most black metal musicians, Aarseth actually appreciated the existence of organized religions as a means of furthering his agenda - he sought to incite religious fanaticism with the actions of the Black Circle amongst a religiously liberal Scandinavia. Aarseth apparently did not have a problem with the following of Paganism in the Black Metal scene, however, as the majority of the bands followed this and/or embraced their ancient European/Viking roots. Another one of Øysteins passions was totalitarian Communism and he expressed admire for regimes like Albania, Democratic Kampuchea and others.

He opened a record store called Helvete (Norwegian for "Hell") and started his own record label and mailorder, which he named "Deathlike Silence". When Mayhem's vocalist Dead committed suicide in April 1991, Aarseth discovered the corpse and took pictures later used for a bootleg cover, though against Aarseth's wishes. It was widely rumoured that Aarseth consumed portions of Dead's brain, but he dismissed this in an interview, although he claimed he had intended to do so. He was also believed to have made a necklace from fragments of Dead's skull. In a recent interview, Hellhammer claimed the necklace was later stolen on tour. The myth further states that black metal band Marduk still has other smaller pieces. "It" from Abruptum also claims to have fragments.


In 1993, Øystein Aarseth was fatally stabbed by Varg Vikernes, who was going by the stage name "Count Grishnackh" at the time. According to official reports Aarseth received a total of twenty-three wounds: two to the head, five to the neck, and sixteen to the back. According to Vikernes, however, a majority of the wounds resulted from Aarseth falling on broken glass.

There is much speculation regarding the motive for the murder, but Vikernes has stated that the stabbing was motivated mostly by self-defense. Vikernes is currently serving a 21 year sentence at Tromsø maximum security prison in Norway for the murder of Øystein Aarseth.

After Aarseth's death Mayhem released their upcoming album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Euronymous' mother had asked Hellhammer, Mayhem's drummer, to remove the bassline recorded by Vikernes. Though he promised to personally re-record the bass parts, in truth he had no idea how; the final album retained Vikernes' contributions, although much lower in the mix.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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