Fans of metal icons Pantera are up in arms after the former lead singer of Indiana metal outfit Nuclear Hellfrost took to social media to share an image of his defacement of the gravesite of former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell.

Darrell was killed in 2004 while performing onstage with Damageplan, the band he formed with brother Vinnie Paul following the dissolution of Pantera in 2003. The guitarist’s gravesite has since become a hallowed place for metal fans.

Taking to a since-deleted Instagram account dubbed ‘crusty plague’, former Nuclear Hellfrost frontman Reece Eber wrote, “I HATE pantera…with a passion. and so does the rest of my band. so on tour going throug texas we paid douchebag darrell a visit…”

“We spit on his grave, stole a pair of cowboy boots, and i wrote ‘FAG’ on his grave… I’m not a homophobe but i hope all panturrrra fans see this and shit themselves with anger….FUCK DIMEBAG, buncha racist hillbillies.”

The post included an image of Darrell’s headstone with a piece of paper cut into the shape of a razor blade, with a homophobic slur scrawled on it. The incendiary post was quickly picked up by metal fans, with Pantera soon issuing a statement.

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“We are absolutely disgusted by this! We ask that all of you please show Dime & his grave the respect he deserves,” the band wrote in a statement posted to Facebook. “This conduct will not be tolerated and the authorities have been notified.”

While Nuclear Hellfrost have been inundated with messages from irate Pantera fans, the band have distanced themselves from the desecration, writing that the act was “a complete surprise to us” and “a hoax put on by our former lead singer”.

Eber himself soon issued a statement via the Nuclear Hellfrost Facebook page. According to Eber, he did not mark Darrell’s gravesite nor steal anything. “I’m truly sorry for my actions and I’m sorry I put people I care about in potential danger and upsetting people for my selfish and morbid sense of humor,” he wrote.

“I left a piece of paper with an insult to a man many people idolize and for a cheap laugh that I didn’t think about the consequences,” Eber added. “I did not carve into it and it was a piece of paper and nothing was stolen. I’m not asking for forgiveness, I’m not asking for sympathy.”

It’s unlikely that Eber will receive any sympathy from Pantera fans, some of whom have allegedly tracked down Eber’s personal details and sent damning messages to his employer, while others have simply expressed their anger, disappointment, and sadness with the disrespectful act.

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