Singapore bans Swedish death metal band on religious grounds

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore banned Swedish death metal group Watain Live from performing a concert on Thursday over concerns about the band’s history of “denigrating religions and promoting violence”.

Watain Live has gained an avid following thanks to its nightmarish live shows, which have included performing Satanic ceremonies on stage and dousing their fans with blood.

The Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) said it canceled the concert following an assessment submitted to it by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

“MHA has expressed serious concerns about the concert, given the band’s history of denigrating religions and promoting violence, which has potential to cause enmity and disrupt Singapore’s social harmony,” the IMDA said in a statement.

“MHA has therefore asked IMDA to consider cancelling the concert for reasons of public order, and IMDA has agreed.”

Band members were not immediately available for comment.

Singapore keeps a tight rein on public speech and the media, especially when it comes to matters related to race and religion, but bans are fairly rare.

Future Music Festival Asia was canceled by the Singapore government in 2015 due to worries it might encourage drug use.

Drug trafficking is punishable by death in Singapore.

Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by Nick Macfie