Black metal gig cancelled over security issues – band known for Satanist views previously encouraged terrorism
IMDA issues a statement on cancellation citing "security concerns" raised by MHA
A black metal concert featuring Swedish band Watain was cancelled hours before it was scheduled to take place yesterday.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) issued a statement announcing the cancellation, citing "security concerns" raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The band was scheduled to perform for the first time here at the EBX Live Space in Tai Seng at 7pm last night, with tickets going at $85.
But the MHA provided an assessment to the IMDA yesterday morning, expressing concerns that the band has a history of denigrating religions and promoting violence.
In an interview with metal magazine Metal Blast in 2012, Watain frontman Erik Danielsson said he "totally encourage(d) any kind of terrorist acts committed in the name of Watain".
IMDA said the band is known for Satanist views, and previous controversial performances involved animal carcasses and the throwing of pig's blood on the audience.
"The band also espouses anti-Christian views and advocates Satanism through their songs, and endorses violence," said the statement.
"MHA has therefore asked IMDA to consider cancelling the concert for reasons of public order, and IMDA has agreed."
The authority had previously allowed the concert, giving it a rating of Restricted 18 (R18), imposing stringent requirements such as the removal of religiously offensive songs.
Booking agent and home-grown music company Ravage Records, which brought in the band, could not be reached for comment.
A petition on Change.org had been started to ban Watain and Swedish heavy metal band Soilwork from performing here.
It said the bands "do not represent the culture which we want in our youth" and their songs contained "subliminal messages" of death and suicide.
As of Wednesday, the petition had gathered more than 15,000 signatures.
Soilwork, which is scheduled to perform at the EBX Live Space on Oct 29, has been given a 16 and above advisory.
A spokesman for Street Noise Productions, which will be bringing in Soilwork, said the show will go ahead as planned.
"We have the approval and clearance, and will continue as planned," he said.
"As for Watain, the decision by the authorities is final and there is nothing more to say."
Speaking to the media yesterday, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said the petition itself was not the cause of the cancellation.
"The petition per se did not influence the decision... it was an assessment made by the ministry, (taking into account) security as well as public order," he said. "It will be against public order interest and will affect our religious and social harmony if we allowed the concert to go ahead."
Despite the cancellation, the band hosted a meet-and-greet at the venue in the evening.