Black metal fan arrested in connection with Louisiana church fires

Black Metal fan

A 21-year-old man has been charged in connection with fires at three historically black churches in the US state of Louisiana.

Holden Matthews, the son of a police officer, has been arrested on three counts of arson of a religious building.

The incidents occurred in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish country between March 26 and April 4 – and local authorities say they’re now looking at a “possible connection” between the fires and Matthews’ love of black metal.

A statement on the Louisiana Office Of State Fire Marshal’s Facebook page says: “At this time, the investigative team is still vetting several potential motives. 

“However, information investigators have uncovered, and that Matthews has offered, suggests a possible connection with a genre of music called black metal and its associated history with church burnings in other parts of the world, which have been documented in movies and books. 

“Any questions as to the potential motives of hate are continuing to be vetted by federal authorities.”

According to The Daily Beast, Matthews’ Facebook page is alleged to have shown he was “active in pagan and black metal pages” and had commented on posts about Varg Vikernes, who spent 16 years in prison for the murder of his Mayhem bandmate Øystein ‘Euronymous’ Aarseth and who was also accused of church burnings in Norway.

Each charge against Matthews carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.