The grave of former Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Darrell Abbot, known widely under his pseudonym Dimebag Darrell, was vandalized earlier this week. The burial site at Arlington, Texas’s Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery was reportedly defaced with a homophobic slur and was spat upon. A pair of cowboy boots was also allegedly stolen from the site.
The defilement was documented and shared via a user on the social media platform Instragram, who posts under the username ‘crustyplague’. The photograph shows Dimebag Darrell’s gravesite with the slur prominent on a piece of paper. Accompanying the photo is a lengthy caption written by the user ‘crustyplague’, explaining his or her hatred for Darrell’s former band Pantera and admits to the vandalizing. ‘Crustyplague’ also states that he or she is in a band who are touring throughout Texas, and the user implicates his or her band members as accessories in the defacement. The user has since been removed from Instagram, presumably by the user themselves.
Pantera’s Facebook profile broke the news of the grave defacement with the following statement:
“We are absolutely disgusted by this! We ask that all of you please show Dime & his grave the respect he deserves. This conduct will not be tolerated and the authorities have been notified.”
Social media users worldwide used the clues in ‘crustyplague’s Instagram post to discern the identities of the user and his or her band. Soon after Pantera posted their comment on Facebook, users discovered that ‘crustyplague’ is named Reece Eber, and he is the singer for the thrash/grind metal band Nuclear Hellfrost. Upon learning the identity of the alleged perpetrators, fans of Dimebag Darrell swarmed Nuclear Hellfrost’s social media pages, lambasting the band with condemnation, insults, and death threats. Various users claimed to have called venues and cancelled future tour dates for Nuclear Hellfrost, and some commenters threatened to come to the band’s planned live shows and commit acts of violence.
On the evening of February 28th, hours after the original posting by Pantera, Nuclear Hellfrost published the following statement on their Facebook page:
“The posts about us and to us are a complete surprise to us. Anything having to do with grave desecration was entirely a hoax put on by our former lead singer completely disconnected from the other members of the band. If you see Dimebag’s grave you can see there is nothing carved into his grave, the only thing that exists is a photo of a piece of paper posted by the former member. We are strongly against any sort of homophobia, racism, or outright disrespect for a human being. We have nothing but the utmost respect for Dimebag and this is a misguided political publicity stunt that we were dragged into by a former member with an awful sense of humor. Nuclear Hellfrost as a band would like to apologize on this former member’s behalf to not only Dimebag’s fans, but most importantly his family. Again, the members of Nuclear Hellfrost had absolutely ZERO actual involvement in any of the alleged actions described by our former singer. Again, nothing but respect to Dimebag as a human being and condolences to his family. These are fabricated and contrived allegations on the internet that never happened in real life.”
Claiming to be not implicated in Dimebag Darrell’s grave defacement, the post states that Reece Eber is a former member of Nuclear Hellfrost and was unassociated with the band at the time of the act. This defense was not taken kindly by fans of Pantera and Damageplan, who continued posting threats and slurs on Nuclear Hellfrost’s social media platforms.
Later on February 28th, Reece Eber published a lengthy apology on the Nuclear Hellfrost Facebook page. In his apology, Eber admits to vandalizing Dimebag Darrell’s grave, and he concurs with his former band’s statement by writing, “There is NO reason for doing what I did, and when I say “I”, I mean ME alone.” Eber explains that he has a “morbid sense of humor” and thought that his Instagram photo would be accepted by the community. He also expresses guilt in the long Facebook post and apologizes to Darrell’s brother Vinnie Paul, the band Pantera, and fans of Dimebag’s music. Similar to Nuclear Hellfrost’s own apology, Facebook fans of Darrell’s music proceeded to reject Reece Eber’s apology and continue their barrage of death threats and slurs. Eber’s apology note can be read here.
Neither party involved has made legal action public. Dimebag Darrell’s gravesite is currently unscathed by Eber’s alleged vandalizing, bearing only etches into the grave of the past ten years by mourners and fans. Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed while performing with Damageplan onstage by gunman Nathan Gale on December 8th, 2004. He was one of four people killed by Gale at the Alrosa Villa concert venue.