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Traitor Worship Is The World's First Anti-Joe Arpaio Grindcore Project

Joe Arpaio's infamous tenure as Maricopa County Sheriff has inspired lots of protest art and music. But the metal community has not yet joined the flock.

Until now.

Thanks to a volunteer for Bazta Arpaio, a nonprofit dedicated to voting the sheriff out of office during next week's election, there now exists an anti-Arpaio grindcore project.

Traitor Worship is the name of the band, and Arrest Arpaio EP is the name of the project, produced and recorded by Michael Cassidy and Brady Humbert.

The EP consists of two short, brutal blast-beat tracks and one extended track that samples Arpaio's most incendiary quotes ("I already have a concentration camp; it's called Tent City," "My most important mission has just became to help elect Donald Trump," and so on) and places them above and beside crunchy riffs and Humbert's screamed vocals.
Cassidy, with a short-cropped side-parted haircut and no visible tattoos, is surprisingly clean-cut for a guy who just released a grindcore project. Two things immediately become clear when talking to him: One is that he is first and foremost an activist, and two is that his expectations about his project are realistic.

"The world is not exactly clamoring for an Anti-Arpaio grindcore EP," the Arizona native admits. "But it's more about raising awareness."

The project came about through his work with Bazta Arpaio. As part of those efforts, the group put out a call to artists to create art that would help offer as many entry points into the movement as possible. Cassidy, who has been playing music in the Valley for more than a decade, thought he might be able to contribute with metal.

Cassidy wanted the music to have credibility, as projects like this can quickly become corny if not handled with care. The first track, "Arrest Arpaio," takes its chorus from the chanted slogans at recent anti-Arpaio protests. He wanted the EP to be urgent and relevant.

"The earth is littered with crappy protest music," he says, noting that using the "Arrest Arpaio, not the people" chant is a sign of how close Traitor Worship is to the cause.

The second track, "Southern Patriot (Anne Braden's Revenge)," is a tribute to civil rights figure Anne Braden, a Kentucky-born activist who helped convince white people to join the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Both Cassidy and Humbert are white, and they wanted to use the song to acknowledge that they, too, have a stake and an interest in getting the sheriff out of office.

Cassidy hopes that the project will hopefully activate metal fans to join the movement. In the end, he sees Bazta Arpaio (and his musical contribution to the cause) as a sign of political progress in historically bright-red Arizona. Growing up as self-described "radical left" in Arizona can make a guy feel a little invisible as it pertains to national perception.

"It makes me really proud to see that folks are looking at this end and are changing their perception of what Arizona is all about," he says.

Check the project on Traitor Worship's Bandcamp page.