9th May, 2017, was supposed to see a much-anticipated event take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Brazilian bands, Krisiun and Nervochaos, along with producer Icaro Veiga, arrived, hoping to perform at The Metal Morgue. Hosted by Raptor, this was going to be a concert no metalhead would want to miss. Hundreds of tickets had been sold, fans were happily preparing to welcome the bands, and local performers like Thrash and Severe Dementia were ready to perform alongside them. However, just the day before the event, things started to go downhill.
When the bands arrived at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, the federal police seized their passports, trapping them inside the airport. They were forced to sit around, and wait for 10 hours, due to certain “security issues” our police seemed to have. Things got so bad, they had to go as far as to contact the Brazilian Embassy in Bangladesh for their release. Undoubtedly, the concert had to be cancelled and after their release, the bands rested at the Radisson Hotel, awaiting their departure. This should come as no surprise, that the artists were extremely disappointed and humiliated, after receiving such demeaning treatment. They were accused of being “Satanic Bands” and the event cancelled because apparently, this sort of music is “Anti-culture”. They were also kept from performing because Bangladesh could not provide adequate security for such a big event. This is quite similar to the incident that occurred when Eluveitie was turned away, days before they were to perform in our country.
It’s funny how these big, popular bands keep facing such problems, while Indian performers visit quite often, putting together shows with no issues at all. What we Bangladeshis must realize, is that these concerts are still just music shows. These events provide artists with platforms to perform in and just give the crowd something to enjoy. The music may be of a different genre, but that does not make it any less acceptable. It’s not like we perform any heinous acts or commit crimes. This is just a gathering of music-lovers and artists from around the world, joined through their love of the art. And there is never any sort of discrimination that keeps people apart; no matter the religion, race or social status, we accept each other as family. Enormous music festivals and concerts take place in Dhaka every year now, from Folk Fests to the Joy Bangla concert. These even feature artists from abroad. Yet, no one ever complains about the lack of security or any inconvenience because we really are able to arrange big events. Then why is it that visiting bands have to cancel their concerts due to “unavoidable security purposes”?
We contacted A.K. Rahul, drummer at the Bangladeshi band, Poraho about the incident that took place and the accusations the bands had to face. According to him, this cannot be expected from a country that boasts so many musical artists and bands, who quite freely travel around the globe, performing their music with heaps of love and respect from their fans. Bangladeshi bands like Warfaze, LRB, Miles, Nogor Baul, etc. are free to perform wherever they want. Yet, musicians seem to have trouble even getting past airport security in our country. Bangladeshis have to travel to Bangkok and Malaysia, to watch bands like Coldplay and Megadeth perform, when it could be us, hosting these events. If other Asian countries like Japan, China, Indonesia and Nepal can allow these bands, what’s holding us back? Organizers go through loads of trouble, to complete all the necessary paperwork to bring in these bands legally, only for the shows to be cancelled at the last minute. These sorts of acts ruin the image of our country and they might even keep big bands from ever wanting to perform here.
When looking at this incident from a religious point of view, cancelling this event still does not make any sense. In this time and age, we are exposed to many works from both Hollywood and Bollywood, that completely go against our religious views. Models and actors from our country are competing with the outside world. We are hosting events where there are lots of performances that can be considered “Oshlil” and yet, we seem to accept those just fine. But a few bands try to visit, to play their music and that is dubbed “Anti-culture” and “Satanic”. There are Muslim countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where religion does not raise any problem at all. So, this cannot possibly be blamed on religion. It’s our views that are at fault; our minds that should be opened a little more to new possibilities.
After the inconvenience they faced, the bands are preparing to leave Bangladesh, disappointed. The problems faced here have even caused them to cancel their concert in Mongolia and China. But they will continue with their tour, through Asia. Raptor has promised a refund to anyone who bought tickets but that is little consolation for the heart-broken fans, who were counting days before the band arrived to perform for them.