It’s with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Brandon Scott (aka TheSpirit), a longstanding member of the Sputnik community who lost his battle with addiction. Brandon was a member of Sputnik for over thirteen years, over which time he wrote frequently as a site Contributor and made an indelible mark on the site with his kindness, wit and unquellable positivity. He wrote prolifically across the internet for a variety of platforms, significantly InvisibleOranges, and was a talented musician involved in active creative projects. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. If you are able to, please consider contributing to his funeral expenses here.
We have compiled a short list of testimonials below; please feel free to share any of your own in the comments (or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be included in this piece):
Though we were never close, I remember Brandon from my earliest days on Sputnik, and of all the people I’ve come across online, he was easily one of the best-humoured, affable and, no matter the scenario, room-brightening. The longer I spent on Sputnik, the more amazed I became at the way he maintained a cheerful spirit, brought the best out of everyone around him, faced personal hardships with vast openness and optimism, respected mutual differences, never took himself overly seriously, and yet – perhaps above all – did what he loved with total dedication without losing his heart to it. I know how much I have to learn from all this. He came across as authentic and grounded at every turn, and had such a natural levity that it was never anything less than a pleasure to interact with him. I’ll miss his charm and banter, his constant indirect reminders of what the important things are and how to hold onto your best self. –JohnnyoftheWell
I didn’t know Brandon well, but I’ve been on this site long enough to know that when I saw “TheSpirit” in a thread, I was dealing with a gentleman of good musical taste, and, even more importantly, one of the more gentle and kind souls amidst our rowdy bunch. There isn’t much else for me to say besides a hearty “RIP”, and to offer condolences to all who knew Brandon. Sput has lost a good one. –Sunnyvale
Brandon’s presence on Sputnik was iconic; it’s safe to say that anyone who used the site for a considerable length of time between 2009 and 2022 knew who “TheSpirit” was. As a general user on this site, I considered him a friend – we arrived here within one year of each other, so you might say that we “grew up” on Sput together. He was always kindhearted and level headed, someone who I felt I could approach at any time for any reason. As a music critic, I admired his taste and skillful prose…he knew the metal genre better than most on this site and could express his opinions exceptionally well. As a moderator, I felt (and still do feel) that he exemplified the ideal citizen while bringing out the best in many of us. Although I’ll never have the pleasure of meeting him in this lifetime, I’m grateful for every occasion in which our online paths crossed over the past thirteen years. He was a true class act, and his absence will always be felt in this community. Rest in peace, legend – I’ll catch you on the other side. –Sowing
A stalwart defender of the underground metal scene, Brandon was one of the guys I would turn to if I was in need of some raw, completely obscure black metal – a reflection of his peculiar but often-times spot-on ability to find something in the nothingness of the metal underbelly. What was also spot-on was his absolutely genuine love for music and his desire to share that love with a larger community – and a prolific sharer he was. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first contributors to his blog Pervert the Church (back when blogger was king), fortunate enough to have spent many an hour shit posting in various threads with him, fortunate enough to refine my writing alongside him, but above all I was fortunate enough to call him a friend. The Sputnik community lost one of their most genuine, honest, and caring writers today, and for that we should all be devastated – when his last comment on this website is shitting on Bon Iver and Animal Collective, I don’t know how you can feel anything but sadness to have lost such a mind. I hope you’re jamming the new Arizmenda album, wherever you may be. –Crysis
It seems like TheSpirit (Brandon) had been part of Sputnikmusic for as long as the site itself. His reviews were always interesting to read, and a few users including myself even ended up praising his review for an Ulver album on the thread for my new review, and he popped in to express his appreciation for the kind words. I never had the pleasure of meeting him in real life, but we connected online through Sputnikmusic and social media apps as well. He seemed like a lovable and nice guy who would always have some knowledge or encouraging words to share. He will be missed by all of us. –TalonsOfFire
Brandon a.k.a. TheSpirit was one of the names on this site I would immediately associate with an engaging, fun, and witty exchange of posts. I just loved his presence, and even though I didn’t know him personally, I could sense the great person that was behind his avatar. We shared great moments here, I remember he was one of the few users I could go on and on with about the hair metal days and I would always look up to him in regards to black metal, nobody knew the genre better than him. Maybe it’s time to fulfil that promise that we made to each other last year, when Lamp of Murmuur released that hell of a gothic BM album that became our little secret, Brandon! Wherever you are, I know you’ll stay with us for the ages, as the legend you have become. We’ll miss you, brother. –Dewinged
Ever since joining Sputnik, hearing anything about ‘…the spirit’ has caused me to think of an incredibly kind and knowledgeable writer rather than a mid Bring Me The Horizon album. Being able to touch an absolute stranger’s life in such a way speaks volumes of what Brandon must have meant and continue to mean to those close to him. Rest in peace, you are missed by everyone who has ever seen your name pop up anywhere. –Jesper
Brandon will always be someone I remember as an unparalleled champion of music. He always had an obscure lofi black metal album no one else was talking about at the ready to fling out at anyone willing to listen. When he got his teeth in something he’d scream it from the mountaintops forever. This has been true of him for every one of the years I’ve known him, back when we were just sputnik users to every social battleground on the wide web today. Underground extreme music has lost one of its great heroes, whether it knows it or not. –Gameofmetal
There’s not really a widely-recognized cultural norm for the kind of relationships most of us share on here. Most of us will never meet, and because the vast majority of our interactions are online, we have more control over what we decide to share and how we can dress our interactions. I’ve been on this site for 15 years, and have been theacademy for 13 of them. I have spent every one of those 13 years as theacademy interacting with TheSpirit and I have to say that he was someone who made this place better. What he shared – his name (Brandon), his opinions on music (a love for metal and a voice as a reviewer that really carried that torch), and his personality (a friendly, mostly polite, funny dude) – has gone a long way to keeping this community a place that weirdos like me keep coming back to. It says a lot for two people to do anything consistently for over a decade – remember that. Even if it’s just the occasional comment or shoutbox exchange, the bullshit that happens on here matters a lot, at the core of our souls, and Brandon was a testament to that. –theacademy
I’m not the most interactive person when it comes to chatting with other users on Sputnik, it’s definitely one of my downfalls, but Brandon was always one of those dudes you gravitated towards – it was impossible not to. His taste in music mirrored mine quite a lot, and over the years he was very supportive when it came to writing my own reviews. TheSpirit was a very intelligent guy and he is an immense loss to this site; both in critiquing music with his writing prowess, or just being a super-cool guy to talk to in threads. I’ll miss his presence in the Breaking Benjamin and Burzum threads in particular, as he brought an immense amount of energy to the discussion of albums he was passionate about. Rest in peace Brandon. –DrGonzo
Brandon was a one of a kind human cheat code. As a person, he was kind, thoughtful, funny and unpredictable. As a writer, he was prolific, professional, passionate, curious and all-encompassing. Everyone has talked about how sweet he was, and it’s all true. He could pull anybody out of their shell with his smile and wit. But, I think just as importantly, he was uncompromising; his tough love was tough and it was love. He was majorly supportive of me at a low point and never once babied or pitied me, and wasn’t afraid to say blunt shit that needed to be said. It made him a real and reliable friend. His status as an icon in multiple music communities is easy to see: he has been beloved and influential for years, probably more than he would have ever guessed. His passing leaves the world a lot darker, and that’s him to the end: metal as fuck. Rest in peace friend. –Slex
There’s not a lot I can add to the messaging to those touched by Brandon’s reach, and he most certainly had that. In a world of internet toxicity, throw-away lines in place of communication Brandon surpassed the usual levels of ‘internet friendship’. While most in my scope would know Brandon by his handle TheSpirit they would first recognise how he championed life, championed music. For those around the hallowed halls and occasionally dusty servers of Sputnikmusic would see some obscure blackened metal ascend from the underground into relevant conversation, we all knew without looking that it was Brandon that would unabashedly raise it, two-handed, with adoration and love. Brandon loved music, and if an album or band found themselves in his sights they were certainly in good hands. I’ll never forget his whippy remarks, nor his funny and kind nature nor his prolific as a reviewer, never seeking praise or feeding ego. TheSpirit is an ethos of information and support, an under the radar prodigy, always humble but willing to learn from experience. Never forget, it was Brandon who hi-jacked Bring Me The Horizon’s sound-off page with a That is NOT the spirit, I am TheSpirit and just about touched every corner of this site during his prolific tenure.
I’ve never met Brandon, certainly not face to face, nor did I ever shake the man’s hands. But his messaging felt like an embrace, arms outstretched and caring. Brandon cared about music, about people and provided support in whatever form was available. More personally and ever so recently I’d remember him casually messaging me about my sick child’s progress. He didn’t owe me this level of care, didn’t need to check in every other week to see how I was coping, how my family was doing – always with a kind grace and warm regards. Unfortunately, it would often take me days to write back, life’s busy. But if there’s a message here it’s send that message tonight – – don’t wait til the morning. Take the embraces from people like Brandon who reached out. Forever missed, never forgotten. –Gnocchi
Brandon was a genuinely kind and down to earth person. His passion for music was contagious. His presence on this site had an immeasurable impact on me and most anyone who was active in the 2010’s. He was an exceptional writer with an incredible knowledge on almost everything related to metal. He undoubtedly helped mold the music tastes of many a Sputniker over the years. We quickly became very close friends and that friendship spanned over a decade. The memories of going to concerts with him, staying up late talking about our favorite bands, and lifting each other up in difficult times will stay with me forever.
Rest peacefully, brother. Hope you’re shouting at the devil. –Maniac!