Black Dahlia Murder singer Trevor Strnad dies aged 41 | music

Black Dahlia Murder singer Trevor Strnad dies aged 41 |  music

Trevor Strnad, the lead singer and co-founder of US black metal band Black Dahlia Murder, has died at the age of 41. His bandmates confirmed his death on social media. No reason was given, but contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was shared alongside the announcement.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Trevor Scott Strnad,” the Michigan group said in a statement. “Beloved son, brother and [shepherd] In good times he was loved by everyone who met him. A walking encyclopedia of music. He was a hugger, a writer, and truly one of the greatest entertainers in the world. His lyrics provided the world with stories and spells and horrors and whims. It was his life to be your show.”

The band’s lead guitarist, Brandon Ellis, called him “one of the funniest, most entertaining people alive. The life of the party that the Black Dahlia Murder is, as well as any room he happens to occupy. A lyrical genius. A champion of the entire heavy music culture. Also my biggest supporter.”

The wider metal world also paid tribute to Strnad. Trivium’s Matt Heafy called him an “icon of modern metal”.

“He was such a sweet guy,” said Machine Head’s Robb Flynn. “I had him on my podcast about 10 months ago, he was very open about struggling with depression. It’s a sad day for the metal community.”

Formed in 2000, The Black Dahlia Murder was named after the unsolved 1947 murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short and citing acts like Metallica, Pantera, and Judas Priest as influences.

After releasing several EPs independently, they signed to Metal Blade Records in 2003, which became their long-term home. Their last release for the label was 2020’s Verminous. The title referred to metal fans as carriers of a cultural plague.

Strnad and rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach were the only constant members of the group, which had a shaky lineup. Her highest-charting album was 2011’s Ritual, which peaked at #31 on the US Billboard Albums chart.

The Black Dahlia Murder backstage in Chicago in 2006
The Black Dahlia Murder backstage in Chicago in 2006. Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

Strnad got into heavy metal as a kid obsessed with horror movies and fantasy. “I used to drive through the metal shelves and look at all the artwork in the record stores,” he told Echoes and Dust in 2020. “When I actually found out there was music about dragons and skeletons and shit like that, it felt perfect to me. I was open once that Book, there was no holding back.”

He described horror and metal as “healthy sources of negative energy,” but admitted it could be isolating being the lone metal fan in his teenage community. “I feel like the average person doesn’t see the value of our culture and our world and doesn’t see how passionate we are, how it gives us so much life. It was definitely instrumental in shaping me.”

In a 2021 interview with Metal Injection, Strnad was candid about the toll drinking on tour took in maintaining the persona he came to expect and the aesthetic pressure he felt as the band’s frontman. “It’s accumulated in some self-doubt, more anxiety for me as the band has gotten bigger and bigger and there’s more eyes and more pressure,” he said.

“I want my 40s to be great,” he said, expressing his desire for the Black Dahlia Murder to continue for another 20 years and for him to “grow gracefully into an older metalhead.”

Strnad said it was “so dangerous” for him to be left alone with his thoughts during two years of the pandemic and that he explored psychedelics and ketamine therapy to break out of old self-destructive thought patterns and help him push past a creative block.

Speaking publicly about his mental health has helped him, he said. “And I think it might help someone else to know that I’m human and that someone they might be looking for inspiration on is going through it too.”

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