leviathan

About a year and a half ago — in January 2011 — black-metal musician and tattoo artist Jef Whitehead was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting his then-girlfriend. The alleged details, as they were initially reported, were pretty gruesome, leading to wild amounts of handwringing and rushes to judgment.

Whitehead — who performs under the alias Wrest, and whose projects include Leviathan and Lurker Of Challice — probably didn’t help his case by releasing an album in November 2011 called True Traitor True Whore (via the venerable Canadian label Profound Lore) with song titles including “Her Circle Is the Noose” and “Every Orifice Yawning Her Price,” but he maintained his innocence, and fellow members of the black-metal scene spoke up on his behalf (including strenuous defenses from Blake Judd and Sanford Parker, both of whom have played alongside Whitehead in Nachtmystium and the supergroup Twilight).

According to a report from the Chicago Reader, the 43-year-old Whitehead initially faced a 34-count indictment — for which “The minimum mandatory sentence is enough that a man of Jef’s age would have died in prison,” per Whitehead’s defense attorney, Joel A. Brodsky. However, the state reportedly dropped 28 of those charges and Whitehead was eventually tried on four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, one count of unlawful restraint, and one count of aggravated domestic battery. Last month, he was found not guilty on all charges except for one of aggravated domestic battery.

Whitehead’s conviction allegedly could have resulted in a penalty of three to seven years in prison; today, though, he was sentenced to two years probation.

According to Profound Lore label owner and operator Chris Bruni, even that is too much.

“He never assaulted her whatsoever and even the domestic he got charged with is false,” Bruni tells Stereogum. “It’s bullshit.”

Comments (12)
  1. Honestly I’m surprised he received a relatively lenient sentence. Considering his image and music, I thought the jury would lock him up for certain. Good for Jef. Now hopefully he can start working on the next Twilight album with Blake.

  2. Upgraded from violent misogynistic prick to regular misogynistic prick!

    • That’s a pretty ignorant thing to say considering he was cleared of all sexual abuse charges and convicted on a battery charge.

      • I would say calling an album “True Traitor, True Whore” qualifies you as a misogynistic prick regardless of how many rape charges you’re cleared of.

        • If he’s guilty of sexually abusing the plaintiff, then the title “True Traitor, True Whore” qualifies Wrest as a misogynistic prick (among other things). If he’s innocent, then the title comes off as a defense and an accusation of a liar. If a woman wrongfully accused me of sexual assault, calling her a traitor and a whore would be the least of the pejoratives I’d be sending her way.

          Why you gotta stand there with your pitchfork and your torch? You clearly have no insight into this case.

        • A fair point. The album was obviously too reactionary to the events. Wrest was clearly very angry at this woman and attacked her in the wrong way. However, it’s important to remember that he uses a specific vagina as his focus of ire rather than vaginas in general.

          • I get that. My problem is, it wasn’t her vagina that wronged him. Even though his problem is with a specific person, his invective depends entirely on gender–for me, a mark of misogyny.

  3. Artistically, a vagina happens to be a great metaphor for a trap. Clearly, Wrest felt he was ensnared by this woman.

  4. Since I can’t find the lyrics online and since the lyrics weren’t printed in the liner notes, I’m pretty sure you haven’t read them. But if you would like to tell me what the misogynistic message is, I’m all ears.

  5. I think the problem here is someones got a problem with freedom of expression in art. Saying someone is a misogynist because they write misogynistic lyrics is a moot point that is stillborn. Are cannibal corpse serial killers because they write gore lyrics? Right now im thinking misogynistically am i a misogynist? course not bitches. I sometimes fantasise about scoring a goal in the champions league final for manchester united does that make me a professional footballer? Free your mind cunnyane

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