The Singaporean government made headlines in March for canceling a concert by Swedish black metal band Watain, just hours before they were set to perform, over what one official described as the band’s anti-Christian lyrics. The conservative push to have the notorious band banned from playing began with a viral petition on Change.org.
Yesterday, the activist who created that petition, Rachel Chan, launched a new appeal on Change.org to have more performances by “extreme (death and black) metal bands” that are scheduled to play in Singapore stopped, just like Watain’s.
Chan’s new petition includes snippets of the Wikipedia definitions for death metal and black metal, such as the bands expressing “extreme anti-Christian and misanthropic views, advocating various forms of Satanism of ethnic paganism”.
The petition also lists the four upcoming performances that it seeks to prevent: a concert by Dutch death metal band Pestilence scheduled for June 7; the Metal United World Wide festival on June 15; a gig by Canadian death metal band Cryptopsy on July 5; and a performance by Swedish melodic death metal band Soilwork on October 29.
Since it was posted yesterday, the petition has gained over 23,000 signatures, already equalling the number of people who signed the petition to ban Watain (as well as Soilwork) from Singapore.
Will this new petition lead to the government intervening once again in already scheduled concerts to protect the ears of our country’s youth? Based on their response to the Watain controversy, there’s certainly a chance it could, but it may depend on the specific lyrics of each band, particularly in terms of how they address religion.
After Watain’s concert was canceled by the Info-Communications Media and Development Authority (IMDA), Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that the band’s anti-Christian lyrics were “so far out” that the decision to ban their Singapore performance was a no-brainer.
“I saw (Watain’s) lyrics – it’s four-letter words on Jesus Christ, on Christianity, on religion, abusing the cross – everything that is so far out that I can’t see how we could have agreed to (the concert),” Shanmugam told Channel NewsAsia.