A guitarist and co-founder of one of the Twin Cities’ most nationally renowned metal bands, Justin Lowe of After the Burial, was found dead Tuesday near the St. Croix River after his bandmates said he had “fallen into a very broken state of mind.”
A hiker found his body below the Arcola High Bridge, also called the Soo Line High Bridge, a historic railroad crossing from Minnesota to Somerset, Wis.
Lowe, 32, formed After the Burial with his White Bear Lake High School classmate and fellow guitarist Trent Hafdahl in 2004. They went on to make three albums with Los Angeles metal label Sumerian Records, working with producers and engineers from the Pantera and Meshuggah camps. They also toured with Disturbed, Hatebreed, Trivium and the Warped Tour and were scheduled to appear at the Skyway Theatre next weekend with Arch Enemy.
Part of what defined ATB’s extreme sound was Lowe and Hafdahl’s use of unique eight-string guitars, with two thicker strings for an extra low low-end sound.
In a 2013 interview with the Star Tribune, Lowe said, “We’re just always experimenting and trying to come up with new ways of pushing the boundaries. It’s a big part of what this band is about.”
Lowe abruptly quit ATB in June during recording sessions in New Jersey. He made his grievances public in a long, paranoid-sounding posting on Facebook that accused his bandmates and manager of conspiring to destroy “data” on his laptop. It also cited sexual abuse in his youth as a contributor to his troubled state.
Lowe’s bandmates posted a note June 25 on Facebook that read, “This is a very sad and hurtful situation for us to grasp, and unfortunately it is one we still don’t fully understand. Our dear friend, our brother onstage and off, has fallen into a very broken state of mind.”
St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson told the River Falls Journal that foul play was not suspected, and the cause of death appeared to be from a fall. Lowe’s vehicle was found on the Minnesota side of the bridge. He had been reported missing Saturday.