Tim Lambesis. Fallen hero? Or just a man.

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Tim Lambesis: charged with solicitation of murder, accused of trying to pay a hit man (an undercover cop) to kill his ex-wife Meggan.  It’s all ‘alleged’ at the moment. Lambesis has pleaded ‘not guilty’ and is out on bail awaiting trial, which will commence on 19 September (2013) – as reported by Ultimateguitar.com.

The news made, and continues to make, sensational headlines around the world. Not only because one of metal’s most talented frontmen is an apparent criminal but because he is (‘was’ according to recent statements) a self-proclaimed Christian too:

“I grew up in a Christian home and held that belief myself for many years. In the process of sincerely trying to defend that belief in a scholarly way and shortly after finishing my degree, I felt that it was unreasonable to call myself a Christian in light of the evidence. Many AILD fans picked up on the not-so-subtle hints at my worldview change in a couple songs on Awakened. It was never really hidden.”

But Lambesis does complete the above statement with the following:

“…after my incarceration I found myself re-evaluating topics that I had previously sworn I would never waste my time looking at again.

A (possibly) ex-Christian metalhead… plotting murder. It’s a ripper of a story.

The general public – those looking in on metal with little understanding and no appreciation – nod their heads in sad acknowledgment; knowing that all of the ‘angry angry angry’ could never amount to anything good. And fans – people who follow the band, people who have pumped their fists, banged their heads and revelled in the beastly brutality offered by Tim and his posse – call for an explanation, which Tim cannot give as anything he says could be used against him in court. Unsatisfied, hurt and let down, many have sold their AILD merch and sworn off the band – unsurprisingly.

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Metal is intrinsically extreme and when one of its people does something ‘against the code’ (admitting to ‘pop appreciation’, wearing pastel, plotting murder… you know) it makes obvious sense that reactions would be drastic.  It’s also tough to be equitable when disappointed by someone you admire. When asked by a fan, “is there a reason why we should believe in you?” Lambesis answered:

“I hope that you never find reason to believe in me. Even at the strongest points of my life, I would have never wanted other humans to believe in what I can do for them. Often times an idea, or an idea delivered by a person, is worth believing in though.”

And the singer (or ex-singer at that) has a valid point; putting our faith in our fellow man is futile –we’re all as corruptible as the next person, heroes included, which only sets us up for disappointment. But ideas are worth our faith. Lambesis, when he called himself a Christian and sang in a metal band, represented a philosophy, a moral viewpoint. Although Lambesis most certainly did not ask to be the poster boy for Christians in metal, when you nail your colours to the mast people hold you accountable to the ideas you represent (irrespective of the context) – religious or philosophical. And the thing with metal is that there aren’t exactly an abundance of Christians populating the industry so when a Jesus-loving maniac who screams and growls his heart out does come along Christian metallers tend to attach themselves with fervour. Of course, Lambesis has not only disillusioned his Christian followers – murderous intent (alleged and all) is a universal ‘no-no’.  But the point is this: whether Tim was a hero because of his killer vocals, his discerning lyrics or because he was a man championing Jesus in an industry that scorns Christianity, heroes are imbued with the responsibility of leadership and are thus judged by a higher standard – unfair perhaps but it’s the way the world works and the human brain operates.

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When we look at what Lambesis may have done, we judge – we are always evaluating the world (and consequently its people) against our own code of ethics. We do have a right to feel angry, misled and indignant (it’s indicative of a moral core, which is a good thing!) but we also have a responsibility to love our fellow man.  It’s easy to have an opinion and it’s easy to condemn someone but it’s never as easy to love; our human nature implores otherwise. Yet for the sake of a little peace of mind, and because it’s (arguably) the right thing to do, we need to defy our nature. We may be more naturally inclined to accuse and condemn but we do, innately, yearn to connect, flawed human being to flawed human being. We’re all stuck in the same crazy world where bad stuff happens and we have to do the best we can to live in a way that’s right (that darn word again!).

I am an AILD fan. I hugely admire the band and most especially Tim’s lyrical content, and I feel disheartened by the whole affair. I hope that it can be explained away by ‘steroid irrationality’ or as a really bad bad joke but I also hope that if it’s all true, that Tim can take responsibility for his actions and pay the consequences. And all the while I challenge myself to recognise that I (any one of us) could have been there and done that.

“I’ve tried to find reconciliation behind the walls of those whose hatred burns.
For I find it easier to reach someone who still feels,
Than to make amends with passionless apathy.”
(As I Lay Dying, “Anger and Apathy”)

 

Personal statements by Tim Lambesis sourced from Metalinfection.net – “AS I LAY DYING Frontman Tim Lambesis Issues First Statement Since Arrest, Responds To Fan Comments”

Image Attribution: “Fallen Hero” by Reversenorm on DeviantART.

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