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 (opens in new tab), 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 more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.