Watain are known for their occult, ritualistic live shows, which are thus treated with a near-religious reverence by their dedicated fanbase. The Swedish band only make it stateside ever so often, and to make matters worse, the tour was meant to support a new album, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain, out April 29th. File this one under agony.
The band shared a lengthy statement explaining the situation via Facebook:
“We regret to inform you all that, due to reasons entirely beyond our control, we’re forced to cancel our participation in the upcoming US Tour with Mayhem and Midnight, for which we were due to leave tomorrow.
We have just been informed that the US Embassy have decided to launch an additional, undisclosed “administrative process” in relation to Watain‘s visa applications. We’ve been told that this investigation could go on for months and that we might not get a reply until the tour is over. Since we have not been given any additional information about why this is taking place, how long it’ll take, or if visas will eventually be approved, it leaves us with no choice but to pull out of the tour.
The same embassy has previously approved our working visa applications for every US tour, each of the 8 times we have applied.
Preparing for a tour like this takes an enormous amount of work by the band and our crew. The merch has been produced, ticket buyers have made plans, and the crew relies on the jobs that the tour provides. It is a devastating blow to any band, but to the authorities in charge it seems to hold no significance.
To our loyal fans and followers; we had truly been looking forward to stand before you all again. We invested all we had for this one.
We are working hard on setting things straight and our intention is to re-schedule the North American dates for early 2023. Refunds are available at point of purchase.
Finally, we wish Mayhem and Midnight a killer tour regardless.
It’s not the first time Watain have had to deal with difficulties while entering the US to tour. In 2019, guitarist Pelle Forsberg was denied entry after a lengthy airport interrogation at US customs. Based on Google searches and content on his phone (“of motorbikes, hunting and various things related to Satanism, Black Metal and counter culture in general”), the customs officer revoked and voided Forsberg’s US work visa — which had been granted five times prior — and deported the guitarist back to Mexico, where he had been prior to the tour.
Mayhem and support act Midnight are still set to embark on the 2022 tour sans-Watain beginning this Monday, March 7th, in San Francisco. The outing runs through an April 3rd date in Joliet, Illinois. You can get tickets via Ticketmaster.