Not since Metallica has a metal band gripped the Singaporean consciousness—and it’s not because they’re scoring any radio hits.

Watain, an acclaimed black metal band from Sweden, incurred the wrath of local fundamentalist Christians when they discovered that the five-piece outfit would make their highly-anticipated live debut in Singapore. A Change.org petition was started and collected over 17,000 signatures. The pressure worked: the Infocomm Media Development Authority announced, just hours before the band was to take the stage, that the concert’s licence would be revoked.

Watain and black metal

A sub-genre of heavy metal established in the 1980s, black metal has courted controversy in many parts of the world. Anti-Christian and Satanic themes are rife. While a lot of it is utilised in the tradition of the genre, primarily for atmosphere and (for certain bands) shock tactics, Watain’s members stand out for being theistic Satanists. Danielsson has stressed the careful distance between their music and real-life beliefs.

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Daniel Peters

Daniel Peters is a Singaporean writer, covering music and culture for almost a decade — saving memes and absurdist (read: juvenile) humour for Twitter at @humswhilepeeing.