Allowing metal band Watain to hold Singapore concert can affect 'religious and social harmony': Shanmugam

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam (left) and Watain. (SCREENGRAB: gov.sg/YouTube; PHOTO: WATAIN/Facebook)

Allowing Swedish black metal band Watain, known for their Satanist references in its music, to hold their concert in Singapore will be “against public order interest” and “affect our religious and social harmony”, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam on Thursday (7 March).

Earlier in the same day, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said that the “Watain Live in Singapore” concert, scheduled to take place at the EBX Live Space later in the evening, has been cancelled, as advised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The concert was initially allowed to take place with a rating of Restricted 18 (R18) with other “stringent requirements” in place, including the removal of religiously offensive songs, references to religion or using religious symbols, and ritualistic acts on stage, added the IMDA spokesperson.

Speaking to reporters at a doorstop interview held at the Ministry of Law, Shanmugam also noted that the audience for the concert by the band was supposed to be limited to 200 or so attendees, among “several other conditions”.

“Nevertheless, over the last few days, there were a lot of concerns expressed,” he said during the interview, which was organised to address the issue.

“And if you look at the band, they do have a history – very offensive towards Christians, Jews, supportive of violence, including encouraging the burning of churches,” Shanmugam added. “They have even said they encourage any terrorist act in the name of the band and various other statements which are quite offensive.”

Following a further security assessment on Wednesday by the MHA, the ministry decided “in the light of the responses that the band had evoked and taking account the history that we know” to advise the IMDA to cancel the concert, said Shanmugam.

On Wednesday, a petition addressed to the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth called for Watain and Soilwork, a Swedish death metal band, to be banned from performing here. Soilwork are slated to perform in Singapore on 29 October.

The creator of the petition, Rachel Chan, wrote, “These heavy metal bands do not represent the culture which we want in our youths. Their subliminal messages in their songs include death and suicide.”

The petition has since garnered more than 16,800 signatures as of 8.15pm on Thursday.

Related stories:

Watain Singapore concert ban: Our fans can decide for themselves about our music, says band vocalist

IMDA cancels Watain’s concert in Singapore due to black metal band’s ‘Satanist views’

Petition calls for ban on 2 Swedish heavy metal bands to perform in Singapore