As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis in no stranger to legal problems, having served time for attempting to hire a hit man to murder his wife. This time, he's in civil hot water. A woman is suing him over second-degree burn injuries she alleges were caused by a home fire pit at his parents' North County home during a holiday gathering.
As I Lay Dying (named after the book by William Faulkner) formed in 2001 and initially billed itself as a Christian heavy metal band. The classic lineup consisted of Tim Lambesis (vocals), Jordan Mancino (drums), guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso, and bassist Clint Norris, who was replaced by Josh Gilbert in May 2007.
The band landed in the national headlines when Lambesis was arrested on May 7, 2013, for allegedly trying to hire an undercover police officer to murder his estranged wife. Lambesis pleaded not guilty to a single charge of solicitation of murder. “Tim never had the intention to harm his wife,” said Lambesis’ defense attorney of the charges. “This whole thing was a set-up by a scumbag snitch, and then law enforcement ran with it.” Lambesis’ bail was lowered from $3 million to $2 million on May 17.
Out on bail, Lambesis announced that his comedic metal band Austrian Death Machine would release its third album Triple Brutal, thanks to raising $80,000 via online crowd-funding. In late February, 2014, Lambesis pleaded guilty, admitting that he solicited the murder of his wife. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
As I Lay Dying renamed itself Wovenwar, with Oh Sleeper's Shane Blay as their new frontman. Signed to Metal Blade Records, their first single dropped April 21, 2014, with their self-titled debut album planned for late summer.
In June 2018, after serving time, Lambesis reunited with his former bandmates for a new song, "My Own Grave," and a June 16 comeback gig at Soma. That was followed with their first North American tour in five years.
Spanish organizers of the 2019 Resurrection Fest dropped As I Lay Dying from the lineup due to negative backlash over Lambesis. April 2019 found a new video streaming online for their song "Redefined," followed by a single for "Shaped By Fire," the title track of their upcoming reunion album on the Nuclear Blast label.
During the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak, the band released a charity single called "Destruction Or Strength," originally a B-side from the Shaped By Fire album sessions, with proceeds to benefit their crew members, as well as Feeding San Diego. Another new video debuted in May 2020, "Torn Between," as the band announced a 2021 tour.
The civil lawsuit filed by Vivienne Barcena alleges that she and a friend were attending a holiday party at the home of Lambesis' parents when she suffered second-degree burns due to Lambesis spraying a flammable liquid into the BBQ fire pit multiple times. In a December online post, Lambesis confirmed he too had been injured during the incident.
"I apologize to my friends that I have not had the time to fill in yet on what happened. The entire gas cap fell off when trying to use a little from the trickle tip to get a bonfire started. Gas got all over my clothes and I ended up burning 25% of my body...I've been in the hospital since Saturday night, and I will be here for a couple more weeks most likely. Today's surgery is to remove the remaining dead skin that we were unable to scrub off during dressing changes this week. It will be for the best so that we won't have to scrub so hard during dressing changes, and that is a big relief for me. I am extremely thankful for the Burns center workers who are taking care of me."