Some sad news in the world of death metal this week: Joe Ptacek, vocalist of Chicago, IL-based old-school death metal band Broken Hope passed away on Wednesday (January 20) of a gunshot wound to the head, reports Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. It was apparently self-inflicted. Ptacek was 37.
Although they never made it to the level of death metal's elite, Broken Hope earned much respect throughout the death metal underground during the big boom and bust of early '90s Floridian death metal. The band, who were early pioneers of the guttural style of death metal, with growling vocals, were active from 1988 to 2002, and were in the process of getting things back together.
Broken Hope guitarist Jeremy Wagner has released the following statement about Ptacek's death:
It's with profound sadness and shock that [I report that] my friend and former band-mate - Joe Ptacek - has died.
Joe was my high-school friend who formed a death-metal band with me called Broken Hope. We always dreamed of putting out albums and touring the world. After graduating, we achieved a lot of those dreams and released five albums, performed worldwide, appeared in countless international magazines and did a video for MTV. We were on Metal Blade Records and met all of our heroes and performed everywhere...
Not bad for two teenagers out of Wildwood, Illinois.
After 2000, Joe and I lost touch until just a few years ago. In recent months, we reconnected, hung out and became friends again. I just chatted with him after the New Year as he and I had found a drummer and a rehearsal spot where we were to begin working to bring back a new, resurrected form of Broken Hope.
As of late, Joe was positive, healthy and had a mature and humble attitude that made me happy to see.
I'm thankful to have known him in my lifetime and to have travelled many a mile and share many a stage with such an original character. Moreover, I'm thankful to have hugged him and to have made him smile the last time we were together. Why he chose to take his life, I'll never even begin to fathom, but I pray he's in a better place.
So, to all of you extreme metal heads out there, I ask you to raise a toast in memory of Joe Ptacek, the absolute, hands down MOST BRUTAL DEATH-METAL VOCALIST EVER!
Joe, I love you and I will miss you, brother...
Your friend (who you affectionately called, Peck).
Exclaim! extends condolences to Ptacek's family and friends and is currently cranking "Swamped In Gore" as a way to loudly say R.I.P. to Ptacek.