BELPHEGOR have cancelled the Russian shows of their tour.
Austrian blackened death-metal outfit BELPHEGOR have had to cancel all dates of their tour in Russia. The move comes after footage emerged that showed frontman Helmuth Lehner involved in an altercation with Anatoly Artyukh, the local chair of the Orthodox Christian nationalist organization Narodny Sobor (People’s Assembly).
Whilst the band were able to perform in Minsk, Belarus last week without issue, they faced opposition upon arriving in Russia and have subsequently had to cancel multiple dates.
A statement from Lehner has now been released, and reads as follows:
“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 metalheads who loyally stand behind us and fight against oppressors and hypocritical moralizers. Russian supporters, be prepared!! BELPHEGOR are unstoppable and will return.”
The affected tour dates are as follows:
19.04.2016 – RUSSIA – St. Petersburg, Club Zal
20.04.2016 – RUSSIA – Moscow, Volta
21.04.2016 – RUSSIA – Ekaterinburg, Tele Club
23.04.2016 – RUSSIA – Krasnodar, Arena
For more information on BELPHEGOR, visit their Facebook page.