As I Lay Dying's Tim Lambesis Is Waiting on a Prison Sentence, so What Are Fans Supposed to Do with His Jokey Side Project?

Tim Lambesis tried to hire a hitman to kill his estranged wife. Is releasing an album full of Arnold Schwarzenegger jokes the best move right now?

Apr 5 2014, 3:47pm

The future looks grim for Tim Lambesis, the frontman of San Diego metalcore band As I Lay Dying. In February, the 33-year-old musician pleaded guilty to charges that he’d tried to hire a hitman (who was actually an undercover cop) to murder his estranged wife. Now, he’s awaiting sentencing and faces up to nine years in prison and a $10,000 fine. But that’s not stopping him from releasingTriple Brutal, the goofy new album by his side project Austrian Death Machine.

Triple Brutal came out Tuesday, April 1, via Artery Recordings. It’s Austrian Death Machine’s third full-length effort, and like the previous two, it follows a simple and ridiculous format: For a brutal 47 minutes, Lambesis and a range of collaborators dish out monster riffs, backbreaking drum parts and ridiculously overindulgent guitar solos, tying it all together with jokes and quotes from someone doing Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions.

The album isn’t groundbreaking, or even necessarily good: Most of the songs sound like they were written in about five minutes, and some of the jokes fall flat. But there’s a certain charm to tracks like “Pumping and Humping,” in which a vocalist offers up his ideal workout regimen with a full-throated scream: “The best activities for your health / Are pumping and humping! / PUMPING AND HUMPING!”

You might wonder if this is the right time for Lambesis to start cracking Arnold jokes. He’s set to attend a sentencing hearing on May 2, where a judge will decide his fate. Meanwhile, As I Lay Dying fans await word from Lambesis’ bandmates about what they’ll do without him. Under these dire circumstances, a skit like “Brutal Recall”—which features faux-Arnold beat-boxing and trying to rap—might seem bizarrely tone-deaf. Then again, this might be exactly what Lambesis needs right now to take some pressure off.

Triple Brutal started coming together months before Lambesis’ arrest last May. In early 2013, to help pay for the album, Lambesis raised over $78,000 in an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. As part of the campaign, donors were promised a variety of “perks” in exchange for their contributions—ranging from T-shirts to personal training sessions with Lambesis himself. Now that Lambesis is facing jail time, some of the bigger perks are no longer available, while some commenters on the band’s Facebook page have complained earlier this week that they hadn’t received their packages yet. But the team helping Lambesis with the album say they’re scrambling to get orders out and accommodate fans.

The day after the album’s release, one fan noted that they’re going to listen to the album on Spotify so they don’t have to give any money to Lambesis: “It's a bummer that other people helped him make this and have to deal with the tarnish of his actions that will affect their hard work.” In fact, the band has announced that it’s going to donate royalties to World Vision, the global Christian charity organization. But even this might be complicated by Lambesis’ legal situation.

“[W]ith artists and other celebrities we require thorough vetting before entering into partnerships,” Sheryl Watkins, World Vision’s senior communications officer, tells Noisey in an email. Lambesis can still make donations to the organization under the radar, Watkins says, but she adds that, as of the album’s release, neither Lambesis nor the band had established an account with World Vision or any formal relationship with the charity.

“Unfortunately, in this case neither Mr. Lambesis or the band approached World Vision before stating that proceeds of the record would benefit us,” she says. “Regrettably, we’ve found over the years that individuals and businesses will make that claim, and not follow through. Our legal department is currently looking at the band’s website to determine our next steps.” (Lambesis didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.)

On Facebook, Austrian Death Machine’s followers show a range of emotions in posts about Lambesis’ troubles. Some are sad, while others just excited about the music. In the band’s updates, commenters have fired jokes at Lambesis’ expense (one commenter writes: “Triple Brutal may be out. But Tim Lambesis isn't. Amirite?”). But there are also heartfelt comments from fans willing to give the singer a break.

Occasionally, even the person running Austrian Death Machine’s account—who doesn’t appear to be Lambesis himself—chimes in. In February, when the album was announced, the admin paraphrased one of Arnold’s iconic lines, suggesting that even though Lambesis could be going away for a while, this isn’t the last fans have heard from him: “Timmy WILL be bayyyyyyk!”

Peter Holslin recently watched The Running Man for the first time. - @peterholslin

Want to know more about Tim Lambesis's bizarre saga? Read Peter's article about whether or not Tim Lambesis went crazy on steroids.