Neseblod Records: A black metal Mecca

In the heart of Norway’s black metal culture, there is a small record shop called Neseblod (translation: Nosebleed) Records. Although it appears nondescript from the outside, opening the door reveals a mecca for any black metal fanatic.

Neseblod Records, owned by Kenneth Neseblod (last name as given), is located at the former site of Helvete Records. Infamous black metal rocker Euronymous of Mayhem opened Helvete in the early 1990’s. Helvete closed in 1993, and was revived in 2013 by Kenneth as Neseblod.

“It was kind of a hang out place for people back then,” Kenneth said. “It wasn’t a big business, it was only kids hanging out.” Since then, Neseblod has been transformed into a business that keeps the culture of black metal alive.

Upstairs, the shop is filled with vinyls, CD’s, t-shirts, and other memorabilia. While the shop is mainly known for its vast metal collection, you can find anything from the Rolling Stones to Frank Sinatra.

The collection started as Kenneth’s personal collection, but grew as friends began selling and donating their own items to the shop. Many items even come from outside of Norway.

“We have people from outside of Norway who kind of wanted to trade and sell stuff because we pay more than other record stores,” Kenneth said. “And some want to give away stuff because we put it on the wall.”

What makes it so unique, however, is the amount of rare collectors items that can be found within it, like the old records and demo tapes.

“They like to see the history,” Kenneth said, pointing to Euronymous’ old cross.

Both Kenneth and his wife, Grete Joanne can agree that their favorite thing in the shop is a cross constructed out of six bright pink copies of Mayhem’s album Deathcrush. According to Kenneth, this was the first black metal album in Norway.

“We haven’t had the six for long,” Grete Joanne said. “They are very expensive and we got the last one just a year ago.”

While the main floor of Neseblod is an experience all on its own, the basement is what draws travellers from all over the globe to this little corner of Oslo. After walking down a spiraling black staircase, visitors find themselves in Neseblod’s very own black metal museum.

“How often do you think they let people go down there?” asks Aaron Cottam, an excited young tourist from the UK. He, like many other foreigners has come to experience Neseblod in order to learn more about the history of black metal. In fact, it is people like Cottam who dubbed Neseblod as a black metal museum.

“It was kind of the customers who said it was a museum,” said Kenneth. “We didn’t have any plan to do museum stuff. We collected the stuff because friends gave it to us.”

Of course, the basement is a perfect place for a black metal museum due to its historical connection with the genre. Even the man who was known for burning churches and killing Euronymous has a history with Neseblod Records.

Kenneth Anker Nilsen, owner of the famous Neseblod Record store with his wife. Photo/Kaycee Boe.

“Varg Vikernes lived down there,” Kenneth said. “The basement was more of a place to have photo shoots and parties and stuff. They tagged black metal on the wall just for fun, so it’s not so serious down there. Not back then anyways, they had corpse paint so they painted on the wall and took grim pictures and stuff.”

Now, tons of black metal memorabilia can be found in the brick basement, which Grete Joanne describes as being very raw. This includes Euronymous’ old workout equipment.  An interesting aspect of this room is the collection of art that can be found sitting on the floor next to a coffin (yes, a coffin).

“We let people donate art and we put it down there,” said Grete Joanne. “I think it’s cool because it’s not modern art. It’s a fan who made this. It’s a strange art exhibition.”

As visitors travel into the back room, they find a monument dedicated to black metal. It has become a popular place for fans to visit and take photos, whether it is in front of the black metal painting on the wall, or in the eerie looking chair sitting against the back wall. The room also features a large guest book that has been signed by visitors from all over the world, including the United States and other parts of Europe. Some choose to simply write their names, but others leave messages to the shop, their favorite musicians, or black metal itself.

Neseblod is an integral part of preserving the black metal culture in Norway and for fans globally, which is why so many people visit.

“This is kind of the last thing left of where the places were,” Kenneth said. “If this place doesn’t exist you kind of wipe black metal all out.”