May 102013

(NCS writer BadWolf, who is based in Toledo, Ohio, shares some thoughts about a week that brought us horrors from Cleveland and a rude surprise in San Diego.)


It’s been quite the week, hasn’t it? I’m not a higher-power sort of man, but if I were I would call this week a ‘test.’ In particular, it’s been a rough week to be a man with any interest in the well-being of women, in general. As a metalhead, and as an Ohioan.

Let’s recap:

Earlier this week, three women in Cleveland escaped from, according to estimates, a decade of private captivity. These three young women, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, were kidnapped and held against their will in what any reasonable person can assume was a private hell, set up for the sexual satisfactions of their captor. A six-year-old girl was found at the house, and is thought to be Berry’s daughter, born in captivity and conceived through rape. According to some reports, an unnamed victim said she was impregnated and forced to miscarry through blunt force trauma.


Last weekend, I was rocking a doom metal song—“Chainmaker,” by a band called Nightbitch. I love Nightbitch’s new single. It’s a great rocking slice of Danzig-worship, with a great groove and a great lead vocal performance.

But after this week, I’m not sure when I’ll care to listen to it again. Listen to those lyrics.


And speaking of metal, we had our own crimewave, courtesy of one Tim Lambesis, lead singer of As I Lay Dying, who was arrested for attempting to hire a hit man to murder his wife. The arraignment video was released this morning.

Lambesis’s music was never my favorite, but at the very least he wrote mostly about liberty and self-empowerment, and even though he was, apparently, a very religious man, he put that influence into his ylrics in a way that did not proselytize. Those things I respected. So hearing those allegations about him disturbs me deeply.

And it should. This is a twisted situation. If Lambesis is guilty of these accusations he is a deplorable wreck of a human being.

Metal fans—At least some of us—form an international community. A tribal identity, as Kim Kelly has written. And like it or not Lambesis and Nightbitch are part of that community. If we are not linked by ideology, or any specific strand of metal music, at least we are linked by economics. Lambesis, to an extent represents me, and probably you, too.

Fuck that.

Heavy metal, as a genre, has a long history of poor relations with women. For example, the cover of Scorpions’ Virgin Killer album, or any number of gore-related death metal songs ostensibly about torturing, raping, and killing young women.

We, as a community, have come a long way toward accepting women as necessary equals, from Decibel Magazine covers to What Are You Doing Here?. And Lambesis’s actions spit on all that. I feel like if I joyfully listened to, say, “Vicer Exciser” by Whitechapel right now, I would be doing the same.

I’m not saying gore-metal is wrong, or evil, or will make people do evil things. We can separate fantasy from reality. And I also admit that such music can be cathartic. Millions of years of evolution have conditioned our biology for violence. The willingness to hurt or kill—perhaps even the desire to—is an indelible part of the human condition. To deny it would be inauthentic. To try and suppress it? Dangerous. Which is why I still fully support taking those fantasies, urges, and feelings and expressing them safely, through art, song, and dance.

But after this week, I’m not going to listen to a Cannibal Corpse record for a bit. Right now, I’m going to reflect on the cruelty of the world. This is a mean reality we exist in. And our society is organized in such a way that people like the captor in Cleveland and Tim Lambesis can take advantage of it at women’s expense.

As before: fuck that.

So for a little bit, I’m going to find my peaceful place. I’m going to center. And think deeply. And grieve for those women in Cleveland, and for Lambesis’s wife.

I”m not going to listen to anything too degrading during that time. That doesn’t mean I’m abandoning the music, or the community, it just means when I next hit the gym it’s going to be Nile on my iPod, not Aborted.

I’m going to continue to do my best and live my life as a better man than these scum with whom I unfortunately share the greater part of a genome.

And when I find my peace, I will come back to some really nasty, sleazy heavy metal, but I will do so in an authentic way. In a way that feels true to myself, and in good enough taste.

But I just think we should remember: life makes enough chains for everyone. We should keep focused on taking them off—both ourselves, and others.


  1. I recently heard someone tell a story about a time they felt compelled to listen to “angry music,” which they didn’t normally do, and it didn’t take them to a good place. Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman opined that Heath Ledger died because he didn’t know how to take off the mask.

    My point is, metal is a mask. Metal is supposed to be escapist, connected to reality only in an abstract sense. If you can’t take off that mask, if you take it too seriously, then you need to step back and rethink things.

    • I don’t think i have any issue removing the mask. (nor do i really think metal is a mask, but that’s a separate issue).

      I think that attempting to enjoy certain things, as aforementioned, in the light of disgusting events, is uncouth. THAT is what i am saying.

  2. It’s awesome to know that there are other thinking, compassionate metalheads out there.

  3. Fuck that..these shit-heads dont represent me…Lambesis is a spoiled rich kid who apparently cheated on his wife and didnt want to face the consequences and that ass-hole in Cleveland is a fucking sociopath who cant perceive other people as actual humans.

    Grieve for those women and all theyve loss…thats a human response and if the above is how you need to do it thats fine. But individuals are responsible for their own actions…What those men did reflects on them and them alone.

    • I agree. But what bugs me is when i look up my social media pages and see people i know claiming, you know ‘oh poor guy’ ‘what the fuck?’ ‘this can’t be true!’ when after that video the appropriate example is as you said you know. ‘fuck this guy, he doesn’t represent me.’

      I worry that we’re going to get another Randy Blythe situation where people rally around him. Which would be awful. Obviously this is very different. And that probably won’t happen.

      But before this morning, I saw people getting ready for it.

      • They weren’t just getting ready for it, it’s happening. There are people rallying around him and saying his wife must have done something to deserve it. Fucking unbelievable.

        • This is the kind of thing that makes me want to break my laptop and just listen to Taylor Swift.



        • …let them rally behind this guy then…makes it easier to locate all the idiots.

          Maybe it because Im not really into social media but whenever I see people saying shit like “she probably deserved it”…I think less…”this person must really believe that” and more “Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory” where people are just saying shit because the internet allows people to act like assholes

          • …never mind. While reading through the illustrious Metalsucks comments on this subject…I now believe

            A) I already know where all the idiots are located

            B) There are far too many blood relatives having children together

          • I want to believe that some of the wingnuts who are saying this shit are simply proving the “Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory” (which is a great name btw), but I think some of them really think this way.

          • I think that theory probably has enough evidence behind it to move into the realm of ‘accepted fact’, no?

            I agree with all the people here who say ‘fuck that, those guys don’t represent me’. But on the other hand, I’m sure things like this will just add up another notch for many people about how metal is evil/disturbed/makes people do bad things. Even after years together my girlfriend still has some of that attitude, which makes its way to the surface every now and then, and I see it all the time from friends, acquaintances. It’s really disturbing just how entrenched that opinion is in many people, and I think it I wouldn’t be overgeneralizing to say mainstream society in general.

            Still, there’s nothing that can be done about it. Some people suck, and as Peter Steele once said ‘shit comes in all hues’. Someone might try to judge me by proxy as a metalhead for the things other guys who make/listen to metal do, but if it isn’t that, it’s because I’m white (and somehow responsible for the racist actions of other whites), a scientist (and trying to play god/kill animals) or just because I was born with a penis (and responsible for other guy’s sexism). You can’t get too caught up in this kind of thing, there’s always some label someone will be willing to use to make judgements about you, metal is just one of them.

            And also… seriously Scorpions put that on an album cover!!! wtf…

  4. I don’t see Tim’s actions as a crime against women so much as just another dispicable crime. I’ve seen a lot of true crime shows where women have been the ones to hire the hit. Dude just turned out to be weak, fuck him.

    Now, the dude in Cleveland is a sick fucker. Though, I will not deprive myself of fantasy brutality because some shithead decided to be a monster.

  5. sadly if you browse the comment sections of sites like Blabbermouth and Metalsucks you will not be left with much positive to say about respect for women in the metal community.

  6. Fuck off, dude. I’m a feminist who has seen Tegan and Sara four times. Get over yourself.

    – the guitarist of NightBitch

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