Austrian death metallers Belphegor have been forced to cancel tour dates after heavy opposition and censorship within Russia. On arrival in Moscow on 20 April 2016 the band were forced to remove a hanging backdrop, they were then told that that stage props such as sculptures and crosses were forbidden, vocalist Helmuth was not allowed to do vocals for the track, Lucifer Incestus. During just the second track, the sound engineer had been forced to mute the vocals for the rest of the show because of Belphegor’s lyrical content. The band were “outraged” over the experience, and were later informed that they would also be unable to play in Ekaterinburg (21 April) or Krasnodar (23 April).
Frontman Helmuth has released a statement about the incident: “We’ve toured Russia three times since 2006 and always had amazing experiences. We’ve ignored all protests including death threats during the past few weeks. I was aware many black and death metal bands were having trouble recently, but we still marched in. To people who think they know everything: When that waste of oxygen approached us at the airport on the 19th, he had a hand in his pocket. I expected him to have a weapon. If I had hit him, I would have been thrown in jail, and he would have ended up in the hospital. That was their plan; he had that other degenerate filming the entire thing.
“Special thanks to brother Mr. Karl Sanders, who had the courage to block him as he continued to harass me. I’m a musician, not a fighter, especially in Russia. I’ve survived Typhus and have already been dead for six hours, hanging on only by machines followed by open-heart surgery. I do not fear anyone other than myself. No excuses to anyone!! End of story. It is of the utmost importance that artists have freedom of expression. Throughout history religions and governments have and continue to censor creative works all around the world. Thank you very much to all metal heads who loyally stand behind us and fight against oppressors and hypocritical moralizers. Russian supporters, be prepared!! BELPHEGOR are unstoppable and will return.”
Photo by Sviatlana Dubavets.