Seattle-based Christian metallers DEMON HUNTER (pictured below) have commented on a new article in Esquire magazine about the raid on Osama Bin Laden in which the Navy SEAL who killed the Al Qaeda leader mentions that he wore a DEMON HUNTER patch during the mission. The SEAL, who is only referred to as “the Shooter” in the article, also reveals that he used the music of METALLICA on prisoners before interrogations — until the band asked them to stop.
The Shooter explained, “When we first started the war in Iraq, we were using METALLICA music to soften people up before we interrogated them. METALLICA got wind of this and they said, ‘Hey, please don’t use our music because we don’t want to promote violence.’ I thought, ‘Dude, you have an album called ‘Kill ‘Em All’.’”
He added, “We stopped using their music, and then a band called DEMON HUNTER got in touch and said, ‘We’re all about promoting what you do.’ They sent us CDs and patches. I wore my DEMON HUNTER patch on every mission. I wore it when I blasted Bin Laden.”
“The Shooter” insisted that he did not torture prisoners, but that “repetitive questioning and leveraging fear was as aggressive as he’d go.”
Earlier today (Tuesday, February 12), DEMON HUNTER released the following statement regarding the Esquire article:
“As you can imagine, our inboxes and phones (and those of our representatives) have been flooded with messages asking us how we feel about the Esquire article on the raid that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice that began circulating yesterday. Specifically, the person identified in the story as ‘The Shooter’ said that Seal Team 6 wore the DEMON HUNTER emblem on their uniforms and ‘I wore it when I blasted Bin Laden.’
“Over the years, we have been overwhelmed by the personal (and unofficial) emails and letters we’ve received from members of the U.S. military. We have been humbled and honored by the troops who’ve told us our music has offered them some comfort while overseas, while missing loved ones, while doing what they do best in order to keep America safe and protect the freedoms we enjoy. We’ve met many servicemen and women at our shows and they’ve shared their stories with us in person, as well. We wrote ‘The Soldier’s Song’ back in 2005 to pay tribute to these folks who’ve reached out to us. We included one such veteran among the DEMON HUNTER fans we profiled in our documentary film, ’45 Days’.
“We have seen our symbol, a demon skull with a bullet hole in its forehead, tattooed on fans around the world. We’ve seen it made into sculptures, painted onto motorcycles, even spray-painted onto tanks and military planes. We often post these pictures on our Facebook page when we receive them. One such email, a few years ago, came from a special operations team who had crafted homemade DEMON HUNTER patches and put them on their uniforms. They asked us if it was OK if they did this and we of course told them ‘YES,’ because we are unapologetic supporters of our troops. In the last 24 hours, we have come to believe this team who contacted us a few years ago must have been Seal Team 6.
“As for the talk about enhanced interrogation techniques that has sprung up in the media in the last 24 hours surrounding this story, we feel that it is an unnecessary distraction. It’s been widely reported for years that heavy metal music has sometimes been used in these situations. We have no specific knowledge of our music being used for this, nor have we ever volunteered it to be used as such, nor are we commenting on it beyond that. The debate about enhanced interrogation techniques is for politicians, military intelligence, pundits and others of the like to have.
“The members of Seal Team 6 and The Shooter are American heroes who deserve our support. We were among the Americans and people around the world abroad who supported the bringing to justice of one of the biggest mass murderers in history, who planned and executed some of the most horrific acts imaginable. All of the military who risk their lives to protect our freedoms earn our respect each and every single day. We are honored, humbled and blessed that DEMON HUNTER was of any support or comfort to Seal Team 6 or anyone in the U.S. military at any time.”
In a 2009 appearance on MSNBC‘s “Rachel Maddow Show”, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich said that the band did not “advocate or condone” the use of the band’s music for torture, adding that if someone really wanted to use music to torture others, there were groups that were far more extreme: “If there are people that are dumb enough to use METALLICA to interrogate prisoners, you’re forgetting about all the music that’s to the left of us. I can name, you know, 30 Norwegian death metal bands that would make METALLICA sound like SIMON AND GARFUNKEL.”
METALLICA frontman James Hetfield was asked by a German TV network in 2008 how he felt about the band’s music being used to torture prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He replied, “Part of me is proud is because they chose METALLICA . . . And then part of me is kind of bummed about it that people worry about us being attached to some political statement because of that.”