The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘Please don’t vote for me’: Norwegian metal music legend reluctantly wins local office

Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell. (Oppegård Venstre)

In the song “Grizzly Trade” by the legendary Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell offers up an eerie lament:

“In the cerebral abyss, this grizzly trade thrives,” Nagell growls in the song’s intro. “Unpleasant necessities, a mandatory pain.”

Those lyrics, written in 2008, may have been prescient. Nagell, a lifelong musician, was recently thrust into a new grizzly trade, one full of unpleasant necessities and mandatory pains: local politics.

In an interview last week, the black metal founding father revealed that he’d been elected town councilor of an Oslo suburb — against his will.

It started last year, when Norway’s Liberal Party recruited Nagell to run for a backup town council seat.

“I said yeah, thinking I would be like 18th on the list and I wouldn’t really have to do anything,” Nagell told the music site CLRVYNT.

As election season approached, however, Nagell sensed he might actually have a chance at winning. So he did what anyone in his position might and set out to sabotage his bid.

“My campaign was a picture of me holding my cat saying, ‘Please don’t vote for me,’ ” he told CLRVYNT.

They did anyway.

Apparently charmed by his lack of enthusiasm for the office, Kolbotn residents voted for him overwhelmingly.

“People just went nuts,” said Nagell, who now serves as an alternate representative on the council for the town of 9,000.

“I’m not too pleased about it. It’s boring,” he said. “There’s not a lot of money in that, either, I can tell you.”

But couldn’t he have just turned it down?

Nope. Once candidates are voted in, they have to hold their position for four years before pulling out, according to Nagell.

“I’m a pillar of my community,” he said.

Some Darkthrone fans met the news with a mix of pleasure and disbelief:

For others, it was a welcome reprieve from an election season that has gotten tiresome and repetitive:

The move seems unlikely to affect the future of Darkthrone. Formed in 1986 and widely viewed as one of black metal’s seminal outfits, the band has put out a steady stream of albums over the years, with titles that include “Transylvanian Hunger,” “Ravishing Grimness” and “Sardonic Wrath.” Nagell said the band is just wrapping up its seventeenth album, “Arctic Thunder,” which he hopes to release in mid-October.