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A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness 2013

  • Ben Rivers, Ben Russell
  • August 9, 2013
  • 94 mins
  • English
  • Documentary, Music
A man at three disparate moments in his life: as a member of a fifteen-person collective on a small Estonian island, alone in the wilderness of Northern Finland and as the singer of a neo-pagan black metal band in Norway. Three moments for a radical proposition for the creation of utopia in the present.


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A rather experimental pseudo documentary that is probably not very appealing to most. Without a narrative the movie follows musician Robert A.A. Lowe in three distinctive parts. At first on a small island where a small commune lives (basically neo hippies), then as he wanders around the woods at twilight and lastly during a concert of a one-gig USBM group.
I'm honestly not sure what the point to all of this is because Lowe does not really live in that community normally (residing in Brooklyn) and did exactly two concerts with that Black Metal band whose members aren't exactly regarded as "trve" by some in the fandom. The music and projects he is usually involved in is different. Looks to me like the idea stems from an interview with "Wolves in the Throne Room".
The movie has some pretty shots of the Nordic scenery which is arguably an influence on the sound but as for someone who enjoys the music I would have preferred a more believable approach than just being one with nature, burning shit and then putting on corpse paint and make black metal (which seems to be the "Pitchfork Media" approach to the music).

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