Navy Seal Who Killed Bin Laden Talks About Using Metallica During Prisoner Torture

The man who shot the world's most wanted terrorist speaks up about using the metal giants' music while interrogating prisoners in Iraq.

Ultimate Guitar

In an exclusive Esquire magazine interview, the Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden got the chance to tell his story to the world. The soldier has opened up about the final raid, as well as the personal impact it had on him and his family, underlining the failure of the US government to help it's soldiers carry on with their lives.

The man has also reached the subject of prisoner investigation and torture with the metal giants Metallica apparently being the part of the procedure.

"When we first started the war in Iraq, we were using Metallica music to soften people up before we interrogated them. Metallica got wind of this and they said, 'Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote violence.' I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All", the soldier tells Esquire.

And that's when the American metallers Demon Hunter stepped in. The Seattle-based group got in touch with the military and offered their music to be used during interrogations.

"But we stopped using their music", the Navy SEAL continues, "and then a band called Demon Hunter got in touch and said, 'We're all about promoting what you do.' They sent us CDs and patches. I wore my Demon Hunter patch on every mission. I wore it when I blasted bin Laden."

Back in 2009, Lars Ulrich spoke on this subject during his appearance on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show". The drummer described the use of Metallica's music during prisoner torture as 'bizarre and strange'.

"There is a lot of Metallica music that's helping a lot of scared 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids out there who are out on the front lines and who are doing a hell of a job on behalf of you and me and the rest of us. But obviously when you hear stories like the one you're telling, it all seems so bizarre and so strange that Metallica's music, which generally sort of facilitates bringing people together, is used in these bizarre circumstances. It's certainly not something that we in any way advocate or condone."

This is without a doubt a serious, heavy subject and we want to know your opinions about it. Do you agree with Metallica for banning the use of their songs in such circumstances? Or are you more likely to go with the Demon Hunter approach instead? Let us know in the comments section below.

184 comments sorted by best / new / date

    wiki: "Demon Hunter is an American Christian heavy metal band from Seattle" WTF.
    It's ironic to think that a Christian band would volunteer to use their music, instead of the more judged and oppressed Satanic bands out there. But hey, that's pretty much Christianity in a nutshell or any of the Abrahamic religions anyway. I guess it's the Christian thing to do.
    They're American, what do you expect.
    hmm it was christians defending other christians from being slaughtered by muslims during the first crusade so yeah i can understand it
    Only this crock of a war isn't about's about resources and money.
    Every war ever fought has been about resources. It's what animals do. Humans just do it on a larger scale. Religion, politics, marriage, and all those types of institutions only have one goal: control resources and perpetuate genes.
    Christian generally means Republican, who generally like the idea of "war.". As far as my understanding of common religious government affilition goes..
    You dont have any understanding kid.
    He's right though. It sounds stupid and yeah, politics in a whole is pretty stupid. Republicans who are Christian/Catholic based, like war. the USA is retarded I know.
    I think religion or politics for that matter has nothing to do with it when a substantial amount of people are being bombed, shot, tortured, and etc during a war. - an ex republican.
    From The Demon Hunter page on facebook As you can imagine, our inboxes and phones (and those of our representatives) have been flooded with messages asking us how we feel about the Esquire article on the raid that brought Osama Bin Laden to justice that began circulating yesterday. Specifically, the person identified in the story as "The Shooter" said that Seal Team 6 wore the Demon Hunter emblem on their uniforms and "I wore it when I blasted Bin Laden." Over the years, we have been overwhelmed by the personal (and unofficial) emails and letters we've received from members of the US military. We have been humbled and honored by the troops who've told us our music has offered them some comfort while overseas, while missing loved ones, while doing what they do best in order to keep America safe and protect the freedoms we enjoy. We've met many servicemen and women at our shows and they've shared their stories with us in person, as well. We wrote "The Soldier's Song" back in 2005 to pay tribute to these folks who've reached out to us. We included one such veteran among the Demon Hunter fans we profiled in our documentary film, 45 Days. We have seen our symbol, a demon skull with a bullet hole in its forehead, tattooed on fans around the world. We've seen it made into sculptures, painted onto motorcycles, even spray-painted onto tanks and military planes. We often post these pictures on our Facebook page when we receive them. One such email, a few years ago, came from a special operations team who had crafted homemade Demon Hunter patches and put them on their uniforms. They asked us if it was OK if they did this and we of course told them "YES" because we are unapologetic supporters of our troops. In the last 24 hours, we have come to believe this team who contacted us a few years ago must have been Seal Team 6. As for the talk about enhanced interrogation techniques that has sprung up in the media in the last 24 hours surrounding this story, we feel that it is an unnecessary distraction. It's been widely reported for years that heavy metal music has sometimes been used in these situations. We have no specific knowledge of our music being used for this, nor have we ever volunteered it to be used as such, nor are we commenting on it beyond that. The debate about enhanced interrogation techniques is for politicians, military intelligence, pundits and others of the like to have. The members of Seal Team 6 and The Shooter are American heroes who deserve our support. We were among the Americans and people around the world abroad who supported the bringing to justice of one of the biggest mass murderers in history, who planned and executed some of the most horrific acts imaginable. All of the military who risk their lives to protect our freedoms earn our respect each and every single day. We are honored, humbled and blessed that Demon Hunter was of any support or comfort to Seal Team 6 or anyone in the US military at any time. -- DEMON HUNTER
    Yeah man. What band has ever been from Seattle anyways?
    Insanity ninja
    Alice in Chains, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Duff McKagan,Foo Fighters, Jimi Hendrix, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, The Postal Service... Should I go on?
    You can always depend on christians to do the "un-christian" thing, like promote TORTURE!
    This soldier seems a bit thick, and rather up his own arse. He is not understanding the subtext of many of Metallica's songs, which often touch upon the horror of war. Metallica made the only right choice in banning their music from use, and I would have been sorely disappointed if they'd condoned it.
    Yeah and Kill em All was a reference Cliff made about the record company back in the day, not people in general.
    One being a perfect example I wouldn't have been disappointed, quite the opposite, torture is illegal, and barbaric on a humanitarian point of view, nobody should endorse or stay silent when people, terrorists or not, are getting tortured to death to your music
    If I'm not mistaken here, it would appear Mouloudo has misunderstood the meaning of the word 'condone' and the second half of his/her post is contradictory because he/she believes that 'condone' means 'condemn'. If not, I haven't got a clue what Mouloudo's post means either, and am quite confused lol.
    It always good ta poofwead befor you postt
    Um... ok?
    Im pretty sure Mouloudo edited.
    Nope, Samhuinn said he'd be "sorely disappointed if they had condoned it", and Mouloudo said "I wouldn't have been disappointed, quite the opposite, torture is illegal and barbarid...", which implies that Mouloudo thinks 'condoned' is the same as 'condemned'. Also, lol at people downvoting either because they're stupid or a mod posted it.
    Bad Kharmel
    you actually think that playing music someone doesn't like constitutes torture, that's more like being an annoying roommate, what's next, the "leave dirty socks everywhere torture", or the "not replacing the toilet paper torture"
    link no1
    I don't think they where playing Metallica because the prisoners didn't like the music Kharmel. From what I understand they would be using it because it is heavy aggressive music. One of the few things I know about that country is that Metal is frowned upon and people who listen to it are seen basically as barbarians. They where pretty much just cranking up the Metallica to install some more fear before they interrogated them. I think Slayer would have been a better choice though.
    exactly..just think its like if Koreans took you prisoner and started playing gangnam style.
    I imagine if you were to be locked in a room with nobody changing the toilet paper for a few months that's be pretty hellish.
    Kalo Hanaka
    I don't think they just did it because people there dislike the music. The music itself is aggressive, fast and loud. They don't write out how it happened, but I have a fairly sure idea, loudspeakers blasting at the people to get interrogated to rob them of sleep for a couple of days before the actual interrogation for instance.
    so the same men who defends metallicas right to write play and say as they wish dont have permission to use there music...smh they should tell metallica go screw
    I agree with your point about the messages, however you calling a man who risks his life for others, Thick and up his own arse based on a very small set of quotes, is an idiotic and ignorant thing to do. I'm sure he's got bigger things on his mind than "oh I wonder what Metallica's messages are in their songs". Plus even if he is stuck up, he's got every right to be. He killed Bin Laden for f**ks sake!
    You're right, when you're in an army that has killed and tortured hundreds of millions of people you have the right to be a dick. Because mega murder on a global scale is totally understood and condoned when you're America. Great logic kid, keep it up.
    really hmm if your talking about hitlers or stalins or pol pots army yeah your right it was american lives that where killed defeating those same armies but than again typicall liberal bs blaming the worlds ills on the us
    "When I blasted Bin Laden" Good to see he has some humility over his actions.
    This is basically what the military does for you. If you read the whole article he's pretty non chalant about it all. There's a marine that makes game videos called DevilDogGamer, who has the same attitude. They're not the most hearty bunch, how could they be?
    if you read his whole story about Ben Laden, that's quite appaling... acoording to him, Ben Laden stood up, and the soldier put 3 bullets in his forhead because " I think that's what was expected from us"... like "no plan, do what you think is cool"
    And a question that still remains unanswered: "WHERE THE F*CK IS THE GODDAMN CORPSE!!"
    WIth Obama's birth certificate: In knowledged existence, but ignorant people like you just don't want to accept the truth. I'm sure you could ****ing Google it at this point.
    Who are you talking to? Why are you bringing up Obama's birth certificate? "....Knowledged existence.." HUH?
    I know this won't convince anyone, but to this guy, the whole reason he is in harm's way is probably because of Bin Laden. He's probably seen atrocious things committed by people who follow that man's every word, and for all we know, he has been on this hunt for years of his life. I think I could understand if that wore at his professionalism a little bit. Maybe now he can go back to his loving family and not worry about some power-hungry manipulator.
    Badass UltraMan
    I suspect he may have seen this video at some point in the last decade and the phrase popped out.
    Guys, pull your finger out and just start using Coldplay instead. Satan himself would confess his darkest secrets just to get you to hit the stop button.
    I actually like Coldplay. The band reminds me a lot of Travis. And i can't understand why they're getting so much hate.
    From what I've actually heard of them, they're pretty good. Also their singer had balls going up alone at the 12-12-12 concert
    Id be disgusted if my music were used to torture people, its so wrong. Heavy music is about bringing people together, not breaking them down mentally.
    For all the flack he gets, Lars comes off as a class act in that quote.
    Must have played St. Anger 24/7
    Just an isolated snare track - "clang...clang....clang-clang....clang-clang....clang...."
    Jokes aside that would actually be really good as a torture method. Kind of like the chinese water torture thing.
    Metallica blaring 24/7???? Torture? Shit sounds like my teenage years!!!!!
    Justin Bieber would do the job better imo..
    Or this:
    This shit has just broken the Justin Bieber barrier.
    Still better than BFMV's new record
    I'm gonna assume that was a joke. This video/song is completely horrendous. I haven't heard BFMV's new album, but I mean, they're not bad. They're just an alright melodic metalcore band. THIS, however. Is ****ing shit.
    Funny. Made me laugh. how did you know this existed? Were you on the "weird part" of YouTube again?
    Call me an ambulance because I'm not pulling this knife out of myself by my hands.
    Way Cool JR.
    They probably just had a cropped CD of Hammett's Wah Wah from all their songs mashed together. Nothing butt Kirk's Wah Wah from his entire career cranked full blast on a loop could be considered torturous.
    Gee Halen
    I don't know. Repeating one single Justin Bieber song over and over is more stressing, I guess.
    They would be torturing the soldiers as well as the terrorists IMO with that.
    "this ought to get you talking! *puts on LULU* "NOOO ANYTHING BUT LULU! AGHGHGHHHGHG"
    anyone watch Zero Dark Thirty? they were using bad-ass thrash metal for... torture... i guess.
    There's a good chance Bin Laden was headbanging during interrogation... I guess that's not good.
    Why is it assumed that all POW's would hate heavy music?
    "I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All", the soldier tells Esquire." Kill em all is a joke title about killing managers who want bands to write radio-friendly music, or something like that, it was cliff's idea I believe. It has nothing to do with American invaders in Iraq.
    Yeah sure, if they wanted to torture people with heavy aggressive music, Slayer would work better. But that would be enjoyable. They probably blasted St. anger and Lulu all day, or god forbid, made some kind of horrible mix combining Lou's droning with Lars' trash can snare. Yuergh.
    I definitely agree with Metallica. I think you'd need to be a sociopath to want your music to be used to torture people. I remember Demon Hunter being a crappy Christian metalcore band from like 10 years ago... I never liked them much and definitely have zero respect for them now. That's kind of a sick/cheap way of promoting yourself.
    Not that torture is a good thing by any means, but that is pretty f*cking metal!!!!
    "When we first started the war in Iraq, we were using Metallica music to soften people up before we interrogated them. Metallica got wind of this and they said, 'Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote violence.' I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All" That's because metallica is more like The Clockwork Orange. They sing about violence and pain and war with a side of "Is this what you really want?"
    I can't see where the issue is, tThey were using St. Anger, which is torture even to fans...
    Posted on Demon Hunter's Facebook page: "As for the talk about enhanced interrogation techniques that has sprung up in the media in the last 24 hours surrounding this story, we feel that it is an unnecessary distraction. It's been widely reported for years that heavy metal music has sometimes been used in these situations. We have no specific knowledge of our music being used for this, nor have we ever volunteered it to be used as such, nor are we commenting on it beyond that. The debate about enhanced interrogation techniques is for politicians, military intelligence, pundits and others of the like to have."
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that Demon Hunter's support was for the fact that the soldiers lay their lives out on the line for us. According to their facebook post, they had no knowledge of their music being used as torture. Also, I like how so many of you guys were so ready to jump the gun and call them hypocrites. I guess that's just the internet though.
    Carl Hungus
    Justin Bieber would be perfect torture music. Hell, I feel violated every time I hear his music or have to view his smarmy visage.
    Before I knew who Bieber was, I thought the song Baby was sang by a girl. Hated it then, hate it more now.
    Dear Ultimate-Guitar, No where in the above article did I see where this SEAL said that he used Metallica's music to torture anyone. I did read that they used the music to soften people up for interrogations. I have news for you Ultimate-Guitar, interrogations and torture are two TOTALLY different things. This has to be the laziest and shittiest form of libel this site has used to date on a true hero. Shame one you for defaming this hero's name because of a personal bias. He did a great service to this world, whether you want to believe that he did or not. It's ok, he did for even those of you who hate him for doing it. It is a thankless job that he does. You are a true piece of shit ultimate-guitar, and if this man can take legal actions against you for libel, I hope he runs you into the ground.
    I agree. I hate seeing disrespect towards soldiers. It takes some balls to join the military during wartime. Instead of slamming soldiers for the policies regarding interrogation, vote against the politicians who put the policies in place.
    You can thank the president and former president for that. Not that you would, I'm sure.
    "What would Jesus do?" Probably not condone torture. I'm atheist mind you, but I would never call Demon Hunter Christian, just hypocrites. Then again, that's the deal with any band once they step over that line of being Christians in a metal band and being a Christian 'metal' band. Way to betray the convictions of the dude your entire faith is based on.
    can't say i support Demon Hunter's cause, but hey, any way a band can get publicity. i wouldn't not listen to them over this
    Because they are a christian band, they maby wanted to share their messages.
    I totally understand both standpoints. Every artist is going to view their work differently. What surprises me most is that I've always known Demon Hunter to be a Christian band, I'd figure it would been like..Disturbed.
    So that is why US soldiers return home all mental-circus in their heads? Because they have to listen to Metallica all day?
    I think Metallica have a say in every circumstance how their music is being promoted or publicized. I can certainly see here why they would not want the association. However, I do not think it very couth for people on here to call a man "a bit thick" or "up his own arse" after he terminated the life of a monster responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. I've spoken with ex/current soldiers with whom I have both agreed with and disagreed with. However the latter didn't move me to call them names, moreover from behind the smokescreen of a computer.
    i don't think people think he's thick because of that, i think they're sayin he's thick because of comments like "I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All"
    Read his quotes, he definitely comes across as a bit thick to say the least. The fact he killed a man does not make him any cleverer.
    us torturing them isnt as extreme as them torturing our soldiers/sailors/marines. the methods they use, even compared to the methods we use, are simply barbaric. thats how this world is now though. you cant roll over and submit if you want to win. it should be painfully obvious that the people we are fighting want us and our families dead. why should we take it easy on them? i guarantee they wouldnt give us the same courtesy. you may be a bleeding heart liberal, saying this treatment is inhumane, but they dont care. they will cut our heads off on tv if you let them. and personally, id play any music i coud if it made them uncomfortable. even most of the songs on your profiles....
    Dang right. People don't understand that war itself is inhumane. Killing people is inhumane. People should try to avoid war at all cost. But when you are at war you must fight tooth and nail against your enemies. You can't play nice. You can't play with a plastic sword against a real sword. Anyways, the guy never said he was using Metallica for torturing them. He said he was using it before interrogating them. Interrogating is not the same as torture.
    If they're that big of a threat, they'll attempt to come over and fight. There's no difference between a human being and a soldier, no matter what country they're from. So take your selfish, stereotypical American ideology and go fear monger elsewhere. PS- Last I noticed, WE are in THEIR country thinking it's ours, spreading "democracy".
    Was thinking of checking out Demon Hunter's music out of curiosity, but thankfully this saved me the time. I'm glad that Lars denied the use of 'tallica's music and spoke out against it, though.
    I can see why metallica doesn't wan't there music played or lincked to terrorist interragation witch would degrade there overall image.
    want* their* linked* interrogation* which* their*
    Sorry i suck at typing on a touch screen.
    No, you suck at grammar.
    you sound ****ing dumb he said he was on a touch screen
    You're missing a comma between "dumb" and "he". So, you calling someone else dumb is a bit hypocritical, considering you cannot get the simple use of punctuation correct.
    There should be a period between 'dumb' and 'he'. Not a comma. So, you calling someone hypocritical is a bit Ironic. Wouldn't YOU say?
    Not true. In this situation, it could go either way and still make sense. Using a period or a comma shows two separate thoughts relating to the same idea. Therefore, both a period and a comma would suffice in this case. Also, ironic does not need a capital "I".
    Funny, of course that a Christian band, who are all about helping your brother and whatnot, condones the use of their music for torture
    I saw demon Hunter, havnt been the same since. Can see why they used it. Also their name needs changed. I hear "Demon Hunter" I think black metal, not Evanesence (sp?) without a female singer. IMO thats what they sound like.
    Go listen to "The World Is a Thorn", "Infected", "Someone To Hate", "Tie This Around Your Neck", "Follow the Wolves", "I Am You", or ANY of their songs that isn't "Fading Away". They have more in common with Sepultura than they do with Evanescence. That being said, I don't condone torture and I'm kind of disappointed in them for this.
    i like the fact that in a certain way they helped in hunting 'Demons' (Terrorists), but also incredibly lame
    A monkey wrench can be used to fix your bolt/plumbing problems... it can also be used to hit a person in the head hard enough to cause him to arrive at a state of coma. I hope you get what I mean.
    If they wanted to break the prisoners down, why the hell didn't they use Oh, Sleeper? Without understanding the lyrics, there's some heavy stuff in there, especially with all the screaming.
    I would have played them coldplay, cos listening to Chris Martin's vocals is worse than torture!!!!
    I can't think of a more cruel way of torturing anyone, I thought nothing of this until I imagined someone forcing me to listen to Nirvana... I think I'd rather just be killed than go through that. Yes, Metallica were right to stop use of their music this way.