Death Photo of Per Yngve Ohlin aka Dead from Mayhem

Dawn of the Black Hearts Cover Art by Mayhem Featuring Suicide Photo of Per Yngve Ohlin aka Dead

Per Yngve Ohlin, nicknamed “Dead” was a Swedish vocalist for a Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. My brother was a big fan of Mayhem and always listened to Black and Death Metal. I was more into Trash and Power Metal, though I’m glad I lived in the time of great musicians, when singers could sing, guitarists could shred and live shows fucking rocked. I lived in the time when Norwegian Black Metal was what Black Metal was meant to be. Contemporary music is a fucking joke for the most part and I feel sorry for the young generation of rockers who will never know what it’s like to go see real Mayhem live.

Anyway, on April 8, 1991 Per Yngve Ohlin aka Dead committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a shotgun. He first sliced his wrists and throat with a knife, but it didn’t kill him so he reached for the firearm of Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth) – his bandmate from Mayhem and blew his brains off with it.

Pelle’s Near Death Experience

I watched a documentary titled “Once Upon a Time in Norway” (find it towards the end of the post) and in it, Dead’s former bandmates and friends from other bands referred to him as “Pelle” so I may occasionally refer to him as such as well. In other words – Per Yngve Ohlin, Dead and Pelle are all names of the same person – former frontman of Norwegian Black Metal band Mayhem who shot himself to death with a shotgun.

When Pelle was 10 years old, he fell through the ice while skating outdoors and almost died. He often referred to this incident and credited it for his fascination with death and dying. His brother, however, years after Pelle’s death, in an exclusive interview with the producers of the Swedish metal book “Blod Eld Död” (Blood Fire Death) admitted that it wasn’t the skating accident which near killed him, but the ruptured spleen he suffered from after beating in school by bullies. After this beating, Pelle was clinically dead for a while but never really talked it. Instead, he always referred to his fall through the ice as his near death experience and credited it for his fascination with death.

Musical Career

Pelle moved to Norway in 1988, after 2 years with a Swedish death metal band Morbid. Mayhem’s then basist Jørn “Necrobutcher” Stubberud said Dead sent them a demo tape in a package with a crucified mouse.

During live shows, Dead wore corpse make up and clothes he’d kept buried until the day of the concert to have the look and smell of a grave. He was also rumored to have kept dead birds under his bed and to breath in the smell of a rotting crow he found and kept in a plastic bag in order to sing with the stench of death in his nostrils.

Pelle would also cut himself during live shows to keep the bloody image of Mayhem strong. Cutting however also transformed into his life off the stage and there were times when band members had to restrain him because he was hurting himself too much.

Dead’s Suicide

Dead and Euronymous lived in a remote house in the woods near Kråkstad. The band also used the same house to rehearse in. On April 8, 1991, while Dead was alone in the house, he sliced his wrists and his throat and then shot himself in the forehead with the shotgun. The suicide note he left only contained his apology for the mess his blood and brain were going to create inside the house:

Excuse all the blood, cheers.

Dawn of the Black Hearts

Dead was found, well… dead by Euronymous who had to climb inside through the window because Pelle locked the door to kill himself undisturbed. After getting in, Euronymous allegedly took a picture of Dead with brains spilled out on the table and the band used it as cover art for the bootleg live album Dawn of the Black Hearts which the band released in 1995.

Authenticity of the photo has been a subject to much speculation and it is not 100% known whether it’s real or not. Having been a Black Metal band, Mayhem often used fake gore images to associate themselves with death. In the photo, you can also notice that the knife, which Dead would have used prior to shooting himself in the head, lays on top of the shotgun.

This doesn’t mean the photo is not real, though. Euronymous, who was the first to see Dead dead said he moved a few things around before fetching the camera to snap the pic. Euronymous is no longer with us, having been stabbed to death by Mayhem’s former bass guitarist Varg Vikernes who served 20 years in jail for this murder and the notorious burning of churches in Norway, so we may never know whether the image is real or not for sure.

Fragments of Dead’s Skull

After finding Pelle dead, Euronymous allegedly collected pieces of Dead’s skull and mailed them to Mayhem’s close friends, also allegedly using the fragments he kept to make a necklace with.

Whether this is true or not only Euronymous knows for sure. And as I mentioned above, Euronymous was murdered by Varg Vikernes in 1993.

In an interview with the Rolling Stones magazine, Mayhem’s drummer Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg) said the band also used the fragments from Pelle’s skull to make a stew with and he was the only one who did not eat it.

Music of Mayhem with Dead on Vocals

Can’t have a post about Per Yngve Ohlin and Mayhem without a bit of an ear candy for those who appreciate proper beats from the time when music fucking kicked ass. Here’s Mayhem’s tune Freezing Moon. Needless to say – Dead is on vocals. Fucking EPIC:

And a video eye candy from 1990 capturing Dead and Euronymous in spare time and during a rehearsal:

Once Upon A Time In Norway – The History of Mayhem

For those who care, here’s a 2007 documentary called Once Upon A Time In Norway. It touches on many aspects related to the beginnings of Black Metal, to Mayhem, to Per Yngve Ohlin, to the way thing were back then and to Varg Vikernes and his murder of Euronymous (Euronymous was found with as many as 30 stab wounds). Great documentary. It’s in Norwegian with English subtitles:

One more video in which former basist for Mayhem and a murderer of Mayhem’s guitarist Øystein Aarseth (Euronymous) – Varg Vikernes aka Count Grishnackh talks about Christianity. Varg Vikernes was sentenced to 20 years in prison for stabbing of Øystein Aarseth and burning of churches in Norway. He’s out of jail now, lives with his wife under a new name on a small farm in rural Norway and is proud to call himself a racist:

Gallery of Photos

Few photos of Per Yngve Ohlin, including the cover art for the Dawn of the Black Hearts album which allegedly features an authentic suicide photo of Dead. Many thanks to Best Gore senior member sataniko for beating me to post this at last:

Author: Vincit Omnia Veritas

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80 thoughts on “Death Photo of Per Yngve Ohlin aka Dead from Mayhem”

  1. I’ve heard of Mayhem before, and Dead’s suicide. I’ve even listened to a couple of their songs. Not bad, but not my style. I’m more into the late 60s/early 70s German “Krautrock” scene. It’s more artsy, experimental, and mellow. My taste.

    1. its more of pussie move if you ask me he decided to take it shorter when it wasent working that means he sucked so hard he needed a back up plan to his back up plan of his back up plan (suicide being a back up plan slicing your wrist being a way to make sure you die because once you lose your blood you cant be brought back to life and no fuck it he had to have himself make sure he ended it like a pussy) Hitler was a pussy too instad of being captured and trialed in the Russian system he decided to bite on cyanide AND shoot himself in the head

    1. I guess he really wanted to live up to his stage name. It’d be really embarrassing to go by “Dead”, and then botch your suicide. That’d be like Allah fucking up mass murder, or like the Marlboro Man NOT dieing of cancer.

  2. OK, I have to say the music is great but I also have to say is that all started from slayer. They were the pioneers in my opinion that started the death metal genra (I think that’s how i’ts spelt) but that is some good shit right there. I hafta and will watch the rest of the vids when I am a little more coherent, cause right now I am fucked up!

  3. I am fairly zero tolerance when it comes to racism and….Some could see Varg’s comments as racist, I, do not. Big difference being proud of your heritage and racism. Having the balls to take the chance of saying it publicly in our “nazi-phobic” world. For instance, why do Americans still identify with their roots, even after being native born for generations? Blah, this will go nowhere. Anyways, we’re not speaking of nationalism here, it’s about ancient history and the people who raped and burned records of an entire culture (not just Varg’s but many more), which just so happens to be …ahem.. Christians a.k.a Jews. Why don’t Native American’s ever get called racist for hating “white man”, cause they have a pretty damn good reason.

  4. Bloody Hell.

    They were hardcore. I reckon that the cover is real… I can totally imagine this group of hard knocks would snap pictures of their dead mate.

    I reckon some people would imagine me to denounce Varg Vikernes as a ‘Heretic’ and a ‘Scumbag’…

    It is tempting. But I won’t.

    Although it was terrible that he destroyed ancient holy grounds on some vague notion of returning to a Pagan Norway/ Europe.

    I kind of agree that Christianity has diluted the cultures of many cultures… But does that mean that as Christian nations they are no longer culturally significant?

    Of course it doesn’t. You would only have to view the differences between the cultures of England and Norway… Or Ireland and Italy. They are striking.

    If you are Irish/ Scottish/ Welsh/ Cornish/ Manx/ Breton… You can still call yourself a Christian AND a Celt… You don’t have to be a Pagan to enjoy your own culture.

    1. The members of Mayhem were a real bunch of crazy mofos, especially Euronymous, Shit has to be real…if you were in the most brutal death metal band in the world and you found your lead singer with his brains on the table wouldn’t you take a picture and use it as your album cover, also wouldn’t you satisfy your curiosity for human flesh while you were at it, after all its not every day you find human brains just laying about and so you have something to remember your metal bro by..a necklace made from his skull fragments. You know how skeptical I can be, but only because Ive listen to Mayhems music and have heard about all the other crazy shit they’ve done, I really belive it to be real

          1. I guessed that.

            After what Anders Breivik did, that challenged my view on Norway.

            I am sorry to hear the Norway is suffering with the same (Muslim) problem as the rest of Europe.

            It is known on this site that I am an admirer of Breivik.

            It was a silly thing killing kids. Even though as members of the political elite. They were acceptable targets in this undeclared civil war.

            It would have made more sense (and been more morally acceptable) if he had gone for Government targets instead.

  5. Signed in for the first time in.. well.. a long time to say, I appreciate that you were respectful etc. in regards to dead. That is all. Oh and thanks for all the awesome gore!

  6. Fuck yeah mother fucking MAYHEM!!!! Mark you truly are a badass for giving “DEAD” and MAYHEM an immortal resting place among the pages of best gore, DEAD’s death is legendary amongst metal heads and is something that all gore lovers no matter what music they like should know about, that way the story of MAYHEM and DEAD lives on and rots in the mind of those who have heard it

  7. Interesting read! I enjoyed reading about this band that sounds bad ass. I wish we had music like that today. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong generation. Don’t get me wrong, I love all types of music but I will always adore older music. 40s 50s 60s 70s 80s and 90s after the year 2000 popped out of histories vagina it seemed music was taking a long and embarrassing downfall.

  8. Nice article. Haven’t listened to Death metal or Black metal in a while so it’s nice to listen to music that isn’t mainstream and pushed onto us by the rest of society. This band seemed like they were really extreme when they were active and dedicated to their grisly art. I’ll have to check out that documentary and some more of their music later on.

  9. I never thought I’d see my beloved black metal in best gore, Hell fucking yeah!
    I read somewhere else that Eronymous told Per to commit suicide, he cheered him up. I also read that Dead sliced his wrists and throat and walked into the woods, but it was taking too long.
    According to Varg, Eronymous was less than what he claimed, he would even listened to his parents on how to run his music shop, “So the “evil” Black Metal hero did what his mother and father told him to! Pretty pathetic…” You can read the story by Vikernes point of view at http://www.burzum.org 🙂

    1. What you say is true,a mate ov mine stayed at his house , he would say don’t call me euronyomus when the folks are around . Years later when they first toured Australia my mate an I an bullet eater from destroyer666 went back to hellhamers hotel with him an my mate attacked him in the lobby ! Fucking up my chance to hang out with them !

  10. can i just point something out about the picture it might have been brought up already but i didnt feel like reading through all the comments but if he shot himself in the head wouldn’t there be blood and brain matter on the wall behind him?

  11. I read about him breathing into a bag with a dead bird in it, before. I know nothing about their music but I have ‘googled’ the band before. I also knew he buried his clothing to get a real ‘dead’ smell.

  12. I’m not a big fan of Black Metal, all that spooky stuff is kinda corny. They play faster + try to write more brutal lyrics than Slayer…but it ends up being silly. I love the long form videos tho. Keep em coming.

  13. Fuckin Great Band nuff said. I had a sheep tell me one class I would like them as a joke because at that point I was heavily into Misfits especially the song Helena and used to listen to it when I finished my class work (tough guy I know right) but I was hooked as soon as I heard chainsawgutsfuck off the Death Crush EP then I got heavily into MayheM and then Black Metal itself now I play in my own one man project I personally believe the worst thing for music was the death of Pelle and Euronymous they were so original Freezing Moon will be the song I conceive my children to

  14. de mysterris dom sathanas is on of my favorite records of all time…i too make metal but i dont really consider it bm…more doom if anything…i had a copy of the deathcrush cassette i traded from a guy in peru ..no tellin how many generations degenerated i gave him a hellhammer demo i found at a flea market in south carolina…i traded my only copy of it to a scene kid 3 years ago for 1/4lb of high quality indoor pot he stole from his dad they fought in the yard cops called they busted the grow….the curse of mayhem continues to this day…i still regret the trade…pretty good grass though and the cassette was worth maybe 100 bucks..cheers and ty for the gore and at least puttin the whole story up w/o propagandizing what happened kids can be shitty to each other…anyway if any1 wants to check the demo out its on youtube…unseenentitymetal

  15. The reason the knife is on top of the shotgun is because it’s more than likely how he pulled the trigger. He probably laid down the gun, put his head to the barrel, and pushed the trigger with the blade of the knife. Don’t know if anyone’s brought this up yet, didn’t feel like reading every comment.

  16. I love Mayhem and Burzum, and I can listen Varg Vikernes talk all day, he’s got a really good head on his shoulders…. Too bad about Dead really…. he was probably the best black metal singer. Mayhem’s “Live in Liepzig” album with Dead on vocals is a total classic.

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