Trevor Strnad, lead singer of Black Dahlia Murder, dies aged 41 | Music
Trevor Strnad, lead singer and co-founder of American black metal band Black Dahlia Murder, has died aged 41. His bandmates confirmed his death on social media. No cause was given, but contact details for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were shared alongside the announcement.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Trevor Scott Strnad,” the Michigan band said in a statement. “Beloved son, brother and [shepherd] good times, he was loved by all who met him. A walking encyclopedia of everything related to music. He was a hugger, a writer, and truly one of the greatest artists in the world. His lyrics provided the world with stories, spells, horror and fantasy. It was his life to be your show.
The band’s lead guitarist Brandon Ellis called him “one of the funniest and most entertaining people to walk the earth.” The life of the party that is the Black Dahlia Murder, as well as any room it occupies. A lyrical brain. A champion of all heavy music culture. Also my biggest supporter.
The wider metal world also paid tribute to Strnad. Matt Heafy of Trivium called him an “icon of modern metal”.
“He was such a nice guy,” Robb Flynn of Machine Head said. “I had him on my podcast about 10 months ago, he was very open about dealing with depression. It’s a sad day for the metal community.
The Black Dahlia Murder formed in 2000, naming themselves after the unsolved 1947 murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short and citing artists such as Metallica, Pantera and Judas Priest as influences.
After releasing several EPs independently, they signed with Metal Blade Records in 2003, which became their long-term home. Their most recent release for the label was Verminous in 2020. The title referred to metal fans carrying a cultural plague.
Strnad and rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach were the only constant members of the band, which had a fluctuating lineup. Their highest charting album was 2011’s Ritual, which peaked at number 31 on the US Billboard album chart.
Strnad came to heavy metal as a kid obsessed with horror movies and fantasy. “I used to walk down the metal aisle and look at all the artwork in the record stores back then,” he told Echoes and Dust in 2020. “Once I really understood that there was music about dragons and skeletons and stuff like that, it was perfect for me. Once I opened that book, nothing stopped me.
He described horror and metal as “healthy outlets for negative energy”, while admitting that being the only metal fan in his teenage community could be isolating. “I feel like the average person doesn’t see the merit in our culture and our world and how passionate we are, how it gives us so much life. It definitely helped shape who I am.
In a 2021 interview with Metal Injection, Strnad was open about the cost of drinking alcohol on tour as a way to maintain the persona fans expected of him, and the aesthetic pressures he felt as the band’s frontman. “It has built up into some self-doubt, more anxiety for me as the group has gotten bigger and bigger, and there are more eyes and more pressure,” he said. he declared.
“I want my 40s to be awesome,” he said, expressing his desire for the Black Dahlia Murder to last another 20 years and “become an older metalhead gracefully.”
Strnad said being left alone with his thoughts for two years of the pandemic had been “so dangerous” for him, and that he was exploring psychedelic and ketamine therapy as a way to break out of old self-destructive thought patterns and to help him push past a creative block.
Speaking publicly about his mental health had helped him, he said. “And I think it might help someone else know that I’m a human being and someone they might be looking for inspiration is going through that too.”