Cincinnati’s Ethicist returns ‘brootal’ to Blind Bob’s

Ethicist’s (l-r) Michael Wojtkiewicz, Chad Snowden, Johnny Finger, and Scott Stevens; photo: Adam Weeden

By Allyson B. Crawford

When you think of post-black metal, what comes to mind? Norwegians in corpse paint?

What about Midwesterners with beards and day jobs?

For Cincinnati-based band Ethicist, it’s definitely the latter. From day one, Ethicist has been a “make-your-own-luck” sort of band. They bootstrap everything and try to outsource as little as possible. And they prefer to keep things on a first-name basis.

So this means writing and recording their own songs, booking gigs, and even printing T-shirts. For a band that likes to ruffle feathers and switch up the metal genre, it’s all a labor of love. Ethicist guitarist and singer Chad Snowden wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We formed in 2012,” he explains. “It was a mutual playing partnership between me and Scott, the other guitarist, who had been playing with other people. We met up with Johnny, an excellent drummer, through an association with friends. It was fairly immediate, the chemistry we had. Instead of running the gamut to find a bassist, I opted to play a baritone guitar. That made shows easier since there were only three people to contact. I had been playing for years, and it was nice to get back to the three-piece idea.”

Ethicist plays, along with FALSE, at Blind Bob’s Saturday, June 24.

Since the early days, Ethicist has added Michael Wojtkiewicz, a bassist, and is now a quartet. This means the sound has evolved, allowing for even more exploration and creativity within the confines of their  “metal” identity.

“Depending on how you hear us, we certainly would be seen as metal by most people’s standards,” Chad explains. “We opt for the genre of post-black metal. Black metal is historically very rigid. We like to mess around with things a lot and there isn’t a formula for how we write. So while our songs still have distorted guitars and screamed vocals, the passages would be closer to something like late ’80s or early ’90s shoegaze, so I guess we’re not as aggressive as some other metal bands. This allows us to play with many different bands.”

This nonconformity to a certain genre of metal has turned out to be a smart business play. This allows Chad to sell his band to many venues, and other bands. This helps grow the metal community around Cincinnati and points all across the map. Plus, he’s made great friends this way.

“I’ve been able to bring a lot of bands to town that wouldn’t have come to Cincinnati,” he explains. “That’s how we met up with the people in FALSE, who we are playing with at Blind Bob’s. They are from Minneapolis and are some of our best friends. We’ve played a lot of quality shows with quality bands.”

When it’s time to head out on tour, the band likes to pick Dayton as a starting point. Ethicist hasn’t played Dayton since August 2015 despite the close proximity to Cincinnati. The foursome likes to keep Dayton shows special. It’s the first city they ever played live as a quartet, and this time, they will debut many new songs here.

“We have great support in Dayton,” Chad says. “But when we play Dayton, we try to make it part of a tour, that way we can work a half day, start the tour in Dayton, and get out and on the road. We also took a good portion of last year to start writing. When we brought on our bassist, we decided it was a good idea to figure out how the band sounds with four members. So we took six months to write and suspended shows during that time to focus on the new chemistry. Now we will be recording and booking heavy.”

So far, Ethicist has released two albums with their third due shortly. The new record is 95 percent written, and Dayton fans will be the “guinea pigs” for this new brootal work.

“We’re gonna be super excited to show off our new songs, and we’re very eager to play!” Chad exclaims about his band’s upcoming Dayton gig. “I’m sure there’s people who have no idea where we’ve been for a year. Hopefully, folks are looking forward to seeing our new stuff, and hopefully, they will be blown away by us bringing FALSE to Dayton. We felt like it would be a good time to bring them to Dayton because you have such a supportive community. Blind Bob’s is one of the most supportive places I’ve ever played at. We’ll push each other to put on a great show.”

Ethicist plays Saturday, June 24 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. FALSE and Choking are also on the bill. For tickets or more information, please call 937.938.6405 or visit or

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About Allyson B. Crawford

View all posts by Allyson B. Crawford
Allyson B. Crawford lives in Kettering and writes about ’80s metal bands on her daily blog You can usually find her at all sorts of metal shows around Ohio and across the country. Allyson can be reached at

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