Black Metal Musician Who Burnt African American Churches For Scene Cred Gets 25 Years In Prison

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Last year, a Louisiana man named Holden Matthews committed arson at three African American churches. According to the Department of Justice, Matthews, 22,  pled guilty to three counts of violating the Church Arson Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 247(a)(1) — one count for each church — as well as one count of using fire to commit a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h). The reason Matthews did this: to gain notoriety as a black metal musician. Unfortunately, Holden is about to get a taste of what the Norwegian black circle experienced after their reign of terror, because he’s now been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

As reported by Blabbermouth, the Western District of Louisiana sentenced Matthews to 300 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for intentionally setting fire to three black Baptist churches due to the religious character of those buildings. Holden was then ordered to pay restitution of $590,246 to St. Mary Baptist Church, $970,213.30 to Greater Union, and $1,100,000 to Mt. Pleasant. The son of a Louisiana deputy according to the NY Times, Matthews sought to promote his band, Vodka Vultures.

Part of what might have gotten this little corpsepainter in trouble was that after setting fire to his third church, Matthews uploaded photographs and videos on Facebook that featured the burnings of the first two churches. He later admitted that he had taken these photographs and videos in real time on his cell phone, while watching those buildings burn, and that he had posted them to Facebook in an effort to promote himself in the black metal community.

Matthews obviously stopped following black metal after its initial explosion in the mid-’90s, or else he might have read the countless fucking interviews in which the members of the black circle bands decried the church burnings and unnecessary and ineffectual. We hope he finds a new kinship with Varg Vikernes as he sits in prison for the next two-and-a-half decades.


Words by Chris Krovatin