Jef Whitehead of Leviathan

Earlier this year Jef Whitehead, sole member of black-metal “bands” Leviathan and Lurker of Chalice and contributor to Chicago-based metal supergroup Twilight, made local news when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. (It appears that the Sun-Times reporter who broke the news wasn’t aware of Whitehead’s musical endeavors.) As far as I know Brandon Stosuy—returning to his former post as Pitchfork’s resident metal columnist after a long stint at Stereogum—is the first person to interview the notoriously media-shy Whitehead about the incident since he was released on bail in January. His answer is typically terse and cryptic, but the reference to “playing O.J. and paying for my freedom” stands out.

A number of people have offered me more or less unprompted character testimony on Whitehead’s behalf since he was arrested, and many of them are people I’m inclined to trust. And it’s worth underlining that he hasn’t gone to trial—until and unless he’s convicted, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. But man it really does not help you look sympathetic in a situation like this when you make an album (True Traitor, True Whore, out 11/8 on Profound Lore) with song titles like “Her Circle Is the Noose”, “Every Orifice Yawning Her Price”, and “Harlot Rising.” Just really not at all.