Marek Steven is a heavy metal guy through and through. I went to worst titled festival ever and Donnington replacement Download with him last year and he knew every guy ever backstage, the guys from Earache are his bros and he writes loads of metal related things for Sup magazine, among others.

He even sorted out Land Phil of Municipal Waste/Cannabis Corpse doing a photo diary for us (it’ll be up in the next few days) and possibly most importantly, he also plays guitar in Invasion, who are heading towards being a pretty big deal, if you hadn’t noticed. He has about million stories about metal, but one of the best is the one he plays a pretty central role in, and has echoes of when Judas Priest got in trouble in America when those kids got in a suicide pact and one of them survived and ended up looking like a Jim Henson character. He very kindly wrote it up for us to read with our eyes and process with our brains. Enjoy. Kisses, Bob.

The first year an uni can be tough. I made it particularly hard on myself by constantly making friends with the wrong people. I was at a decent university on the South Coast and by rights it should have been cool times. The first few weeks can be tricky but I was starting to meet some cute girls and I was getting introduced to people that were into metal so it was picking up.

One sunny day I was walking back to my room from a pretty decent lecture on ‘Blue Velvet’ when I noticed loads of police cars hanging around campus. The nearer I got to my halls the more police there seemed to be. When I got into my flat there were police in there waiting for me. My roommates reacted when they saw me and they looked pretty ashen faced. I was now quietly panicking and racking my brains about what I might have done to bring down so much heat. A polite detective took me to my room for a chat.

It was my second term and a couple of weeks previously I chatted to a chap who had a sick metal t-shirt on and he started hanging out with us. He was a tall, quiet middle class kid and he did seem happy to find a like-minded metal-head. His entire wardrobe consisted of about 40 or 50 quality thrash and death metal shirts and he had a variety of death metal posters on his wall. He was also a pretty decent lead guitar shredder. We got stoned a few times at my flat and my GQ-reading flatmates seemed to like him. Good times.

The night previous to the police swarm, the two of us had played some pool at my halls bar and then hung out with my flatmates smoking weed and listening to music until 3am. My mate wandered back home and I remember giving a salute through my window as he walked down the hill. I told all this to the very pleasant detective, and I also asked him if I could take a photo of him sitting in my room because I was finding it hard to believe that this was happening, it’s at the top of this article. I also assured him that it had been a mellow night and that nothing had seemed untoward. I did admit that we had all been laughing about some pretty extreme Cannibal Corpse song titles for a while. I was starting to feel pretty uncomfortable.

The detective then proceeded to tell me that at 4am an Asian girl was violently attacked in her kitchen by a maniac with a knife. She had a lot of wounds, including on her arms from fending off the attacks. He said she was going to recover and her parents were flying over presently. She said it was one of her flatmates - my friend - that had done it. Fuck off! I always seem to pick the wrong friends.

He asked me about the music we were into. I briefly talked about extreme metal and the imagery and all that stuff. I told him that it all seems violent and serious but it’s harmless escapism and more about the musicianship than anything genuinely dark. To be fair I didn’t volunteer to talk about the gore metal scene at length. The guy seemed nice but unsurprisingly he had no knowledge of heavy metal whatsoever.

The next few days were pretty weird. We all hoped the girl was going to be okay and that it was a case of mistaken identity or something. I met the guy’s Dad, he told me that the chap was always a bit quiet but was a nice kid and very bright. I told him that he seemed cool to me too but I had to admit that I’d only known him a few weeks. Apparently the police had taken all his metal CDs, posters and t-shirts as evidence. There was some mumbled mention of the laughter on the Beavis and Butthead album possibly having a weird effect on him.

I was called to the rather intimidating Lewes Crown Court to give evidence a few weeks later. I dug out my one over-sized suit and took a friend with me for moral support. I told the judge and jury what had happened that night. I made it clear that the guy had seemed chilled as far as I could tell. They described all the evil looking posters and t-shirts in his room and asked me at length about the music we liked. I once again explained that it was more about guitar proficiency and cool artwork rather than anything sinister (usually).

I remember vividly that the lawyer held up an Entombed t-shirt (maybe Left Hand Path’ – a great album btw) as an example of the extreme artwork that was in his room. I tried to make it clear that if this guy did try and kill this girl that it definitely wasn’t because he liked listening to Slayer. I couldn’t believe I was in the dock talking about death metal. I’d die for metal but frankly, I barely knew this guy.

So he got convicted and given 5 years inside or something. I guess he was maybe mentally ill on some level and must have flipped out. The weed probably didn’t help. I have no idea what he’s up to now. I hope he got help and he’s okay and I really hope the girl was okay too. Either way it was one of several things that fucked up my first year. And I still listen to old school extreme metal every day.

(Here’s an hour long documentary on the James Vance/Judas Priest trial, in case you’re interested…)