Mayhem and Watain’s co-headlining North American tour was to be one of the strongest displays of hellish black metal of the year. Unfortunately, Watain will not be making the trip due to visa issues.
Watain is known for their occult and ritualistic shows, which are therefore treated with near-religious reverence by their devoted fanbase. The Swedish band only travels to the United States very often, and to make matters worse, the tour was to support a new album, Watain’s agony and ecstasy, released on April 29. File this one under agony.
The group shared a lengthy statement explaining the situation via Facebook:
“We regret to inform you that, for reasons completely beyond our control, we are forced to cancel our participation in the upcoming US Tour with Mayhem and Midnight, for which we were due to depart tomorrow.
We have just been informed that the US Embassy has decided to initiate an additional, undisclosed “administrative process” regarding Watain’s visa applications. We were told that this investigation could last for months and that we might not get an answer until the end of the tour. As we have not received any further information on why this is happening, how long it will take, or if visas will ultimately be approved, this leaves us with no choice but to withdraw from the tour.
The same embassy has already approved our work visa applications for each US tour, each of the 8 times we applied for.
Preparing for a tour like this takes a lot of work from the band and our team. Merchandising has been produced, ticket buyers have made plans, and the team is counting on the jobs provided by the tour. It’s a devastating blow for any group, but for the authorities in charge, it seems to have no meaning.
To our loyal fans and subscribers; we were really looking forward to presenting ourselves again in front of all of you. We invested everything we had in this one.
We are working hard to get this straight and our intention is to reschedule North American dates for early 2023. Refunds are available at point of sale.
Finally, we wish Mayhem and Midnight a killer tour regardless.
This isn’t the first time Watain has faced difficulties entering the United States for a tour. In 2019, guitarist Pelle Forsberg was refused entry after a lengthy airport interrogation at US customs. Based on Google searches and the contents of his phone (“motorcycles, hunting and various things related to Satanism, Black Metal and counterculture in general”), the customs officer revoked and canceled the visa of Forsberg’s American work – which had been tuned five times before – and sent the guitarist back to Mexico, where he was before the tour.
Mayhem and support act Midnight are still set to embark on the 2022 No-Watain Tour starting this Monday, March 7 in San Francisco. The outing runs through April 3 in Joliet, Illinois. You can get tickets through Ticketmaster.