Early yesterday morning there was a fatal van accident on I-85 in northeastern Georgia. The 15-passenger van was carrying members of two black metal bands — Wormreich and Khaotika — who were touring with a third band, Kult ov Azazel. They had played a show on Sunday night in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and were driving to Atlanta, where they were scheduled to play another show last night. Reports indicate that the driver (a member of Khaotika) apparently fell asleep and the van veered off the highway, striking a tree on the passenger side. Three of the occupants were thrown from the vehicle.
Three men died in the accident: Wormreich guitarist Ian Andrew McKinney (Nazgul Vathran), Wormreich bassist Paul Truesdell, and Khaotika drummer Nicholas Crisostomo. Eight other passengers were injured, and three were listed in critical condition as of yesterday, including Wormreich drummer Christopher P. Pezzano (Profana).
In a twist of fate, we premiered a music video last Friday for the Canadian band Idolatry that was created by Ian McKinney; we were among the first to see it, and had uploaded it to our YouTube channel for the purpose of sharing his work publicly. In addition to performing in Wormreich, he was a visual artist operating under the name NVS Productions. He had created videos not only for Idolatry but also for Wormreich, Hades (Norway), and Borgne (Switzerland), as well as logos, album covers, flyers, and other graphic works. Though we did not know Ian, the coincidence of that video premiere made this terrible accident only three days later seem even more poignant.
Wormreich and Khaotika
Every year brings new stories of highway accidents involving vans used by underground bands on tour. Some are the result of equipment failures, some are caused by poor road conditions or by other vehicles, some result from driver error. Fortunately, loss of life seems to be rare, but it is an ever-present risk of DIY touring by road, both in this country and elsewhere.
Undoubtedly, there are lessons to be learned from this tragedy. But all we want to do here is express our sorrow for those who died, to convey our condolences to their families and friends, and to wish those who were injured a speedy and successful recovery.
And we remember again the talents of Ian McKinney as displayed in his final video creation, for “Clefs Au Chambre de Tristêsse (A Key To the Room of Sadness)“: