Remembering a Black Metal Murderer’s Harrowing Prison Break

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At this point, the actions of Burzum mastermind Varg Vikernes have been so widely reported that they have become cliche.

An important figure in the second wave of black metal, Count Grishnackh played an instrumental role in stave church burnings that swept the Norwegian countryside in the early 1990s before he was finally jailed for stabbing his Mayhem bandmate Oystein “Euronymous” Aarseth to death in August of 1993. Keep in mind, this is even before Varg got into the wacky Nazi bullshit!

For most Americans, Varg’s sentence of a maximum 21 years probably boggles the mind. Given the fact that he had access to media and recording equipment the whole time, his time behind bars might seem like better conditions than many of us live under on a daily basis. Knowing this, it’s all the more strange that in 2003 Varg attempted a rather harrowing prison break.

After being transferred to Berg, a low-security prison that didn’t lock its front gate, an article in a local paper criticized the fact that a violent criminal with right-wing beliefs was being held in such a facility.

According to Vikernes’ mother, this sparked an attempt on her son’s life from another inmate. Fearing further reprisal, he was granted a short leave from the compound and went missing.

Posing as if he needed assistance on the side of the road, Vikernes flagged down a family of three and proceeded to hijack their Volvo at gunpoint. The car was spotted by police 19 hours later and Varg was taken back into custody after a brief standoff.

According to reports, a gas mask, knives, camouflage clothing, a portable Global Positioning System satellite navigator, maps, a compass, a mobile telephone, a headset and a laptop were all retrieved from the vehicle at the time of Varg’s arrest.

Police concluded that Vikernes’ escape was well planned and involved significant help from the outside. Before the hijacking, he traveled in a BMW procured by an inmate from another prison a week in advance. A bulletproof vest was found inside this vehicle, and a handgun was found inside the cabin Vikernes hid out in during the escape.

As a result of the prison break, thirteen months were added onto Vikernes’ sentence and he was transferred back to a maximum security prison. He was released on parole in May of 2009, having served 15 years of his 21-year sentence.