Churches' council expresses appreciation over cancellation of Swedish metal band Watain's concert

Swedish black metal band Watain mingling with fans on March 7, 2019, after their performance was cancelled.
Swedish black metal band Watain mingling with fans on March 7, 2019, after their performance was cancelled.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) has expressed its appreciation to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam over the cancellation of Swedish black metal band Watain's concert on Thursday (March 7).

In a letter addressed to Mr Shanmugam on Friday, NCCS president, Bishop Terry Kee, said the council shares MHA's "serious concerns over what Watain represents and stands for".

"We fully agree with MHA's assessment that the band's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence has the potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore's social harmony," he added.

In the letter, Bishop Kee said that the council's worry is that the worldview the band promotes works against the common good and the building up of social order.

"We view Watain's sacrilegious attacks on the Christian faith through their songs as particularly disruptive and hurtful to the cause of religious harmony, and we are concerned that Watain's open endorsement of satanic violence could have deleterious effects on impressionable and restless youths," he said.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) had cancelled the Watain concert on Thursday, which was due to be held at EBX Live Space, a concert venue in the Upper Paya Lebar industrial estate, following concerns raised by MHA.

The ministry had provided its assessment that the concert should not proceed and expressed serious concerns about the concert, citing the band's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence, which has the potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore's social harmony.

 
 

Mr Shanmugam told the media at a doorstop interview at the Ministry of Law on Thursday that public outcry against the show prompted MHA to make a security assessment for the show.

An online petition on Change.org had called for a ban on concerts by Watain and fellow Swedish metal band Soilwork. The petition has garnered more than 17,000 signatures.

The concert had earlier been allowed with a rating of Restricted 18 (R18).

Despite the cancellation, the band turned up at the venue, where they chatted with fans, sold their merchandise, took photos and signed autographs.