True crime is a fascinating media phenomenon. Exploration of the most heinous crimes committed by the lowest of society is something not just left to the investigators, detectives, or forensic investigators anymore. Hell, it was the amateur sleuthing of Michelle McNamara that helped name, arrest, and convict the Golden State Killer just a couple of years ago. For some, this visit to the darkest recesses of the human condition is a respite, a moment to breathe against the more general and pedestrian horrors of this life.
SKYND have made their bones upon the true crime wave of popularity, dating all the way back to their first track “Elisa Lam” in 2018. Sonically speaking, the band is electro-industrial at its core, with elements of darkwave, nu metal, and shock rock. The amount of research that the English band puts into each track is nothing short of a labor of love, even when the crime committed had anything but love involved. Such is the case for their most recent effort, “Bianca Devins.”
The titular social media personality was murdered on July 14, 2019, at the age of just seventeen years old. Her killer, who I will not name here, intended to make the crime a murder-suicide, but was unsuccessful in the latter half, and was charged with second-degree murder. Disturbingly enough, the killer posted a photo of the deed to Devins’ Discord server, with the caption “sorry fuckers, you’re going to have to find somebody else to orbit.” Jealous and callous, and would be sentenced in March 2021 to 25 years to life in prison for the murder.
Bianca’s death led to the creation of Bianca’s Law, which would compulse larger social media networks to have protocols in place for removing real-life violent content from said platforms. It would also introduce charges for those who knowingly disseminated images of violent crimes with the intention of harassment or of glorification.
From the first refrain of “damn, my neck hurts,” this song has stayed with me. This is a powerful composition, a perfect realization of SKYND’s mission. The band does not mean to glorify these crimes, but to honor the victims and remind one another that the monsters aren’t that far removed from us. The music video is a visual feast, using Devins’ love of anime to create a visual representation of her that appears throughout the video. SKYND’s own makeup, switching out her usual blonde ponytail for a lavender one, with eyes drawn over her own, is a striking appearance for the enigmatic and commanding frontwoman, the eyes especially paying tribute to Bianca’s love of anime and pink.
The work of SKYND may not be for everyone, and that is fine. Those who are able to explore the band’s catalog and the various themes touched on in each case and song will find a connection with what the band describes as The Dark Place, and perhaps learn something about themselves in the process. As the band puts it in the description of the track:
“He took Bianca’s life because he couldn’t stand that she wanted to live her life the way she did. He took that away from her.
People then posted this horrific photo of her, not even knowing her name. They just shared it, not fully knowing what happened. That’s why it was very important to me to write about her, to put her name out there once again, and put her in the spotlight.”
To learn more about Bianca’s Law, read about it here. Check out the music video for “Bianca Devins” below, and stream/purchase the track on Bandcamp in the widget below the video.
Author’s Note: all images were taken from the music video.