December 23, 2020
Toronto Star
By Betsy Powell, Crime Reporter

Musicians charged in date-rape case

Guitarists with Norwegian black metal band Satyricon
Woman complains of attack on tour bus after FunHaus show

  Two touring musicians with the Norwegian black metal band Satyricon are scheduled to make a Christmas Eve appearance at Old City Hall via video after being charged with giving a fan a date-rape drug and sexually assaulting her in a tour bus following a Dec. 15 concert.

Steinar Gundersen, 34, and Arnt Gronbech, 27, have each been charged with administering a stupefying drug and sexual assault, Constable Kristine Bacharach said yesterday. A woman contacted police at 4:30 a.m., hours after the show at the FunHaus at 526 Queen St. W. Bacharach did not know the age of the complainant.

The two men have already appeared in court and were ordered detained pending a bail review or preliminary hearing, a court official said.

"They intend to vigourously defend themselves on this, and they look forward to the opportunity to present all the relevant facts at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum," said Toronto defence lawyer Jody Berkes. Norway's ambassador to Canada, Ingvard Havnen, said yesterday the two men have received help through diplomatic channels. "We provide assistance to Norwegians in Canada and we are assisting in providing them (the two accused) with a lawyer," he said yesterday.

"This thing will have to take its regular turn through the Canadian judicial system and we will provide any help needed." While he had never heard of Satyricon before the arrests, the incident has generated headlines in some Norwegian media outlets.

"Norway is a small country and they are very well-known among heavy-metal fans," said a journalist for the Norwegian afternoon newspaper Aftenposten in Oslo, the country's capital.

The two guitarists are session/touring musicians and not full-time members of the band. Satyricon is made up of duo Sigurd Wongraven (Satyr) and Kjetil Haraldstad (Frost), veterans of the Scandinavian black metal music scene.

"They would be part of an extreme metal sub-genre called black metal ... it's very fast, very violent," said Albert Mudrian, editor of Philadelphia-based Decibel Magazine, a publication covering "extreme" music.

Mudrian said he believes the group has evolved from the early 1990s, when black metal bands were a media sensation in Norway, known for inspiring outrageous acts like burning churches.

"These bands have really done their best to shed all of that stuff and it really seemed that they were making progress. They were making better records, they were getting international distribution," he said.

"It's a strange thing to see happen in light of all the things that scene has attempted to overcome in the past five years."

Satyricon was about two-thirds through a North American "Return Of The Antichrist tour" in support of the U.S. release of their 2002 CD Volcano, a chart-topping, award-winning album in Norway. It has been released in North America on the EatURmusic imprint headed up by System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian and distributed by Columbia, a division of Sony Music.

The CD has sold fewer than 10,000 copies in the U.S. and no figures could be obtained for Canada.

The band was on their first headlining North American tour with the backing of a label, Mudrian said. Satyricon's only other scheduled Canadian date, Dec. 17 in Montreal, was cancelled, as was the rest of the tour.

One Chicago music critic recently described Satyricon "as straightforwardly evil as artists come.

The band's Volcano (CD) eschews visual shtick and concentrates on mud-shovelling riffs, savage percussion, intestine-shredding vocals and demon-spawn themes."