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Black-Metal Blacklist

Is it bureaucracy, post-Sept. 11 paranoia or their own criminal records? Whatever the reason, Sweden's Marduk can't come here.

Although no one involved with Marduk will say so directly, it appears that Morgan's and Legion's criminal records are keeping them out of the country. Strangely, for a band as outspoken as Marduk, no one other than Morgan, Legion and the Swedish authorities seems to know what crime they committed. The group's PR contact at Century Media could only concur that "there's a lot of red tape, stemming from their convictions, on their end, from their embassy," but even he didn't know what it was they had done. And to be honest, for a Swedish black-metal band, the possibilities are endless. The black-metal scene in Scandinavia has, since its inception in the late '80s, been plagued by musicians burning down churches, committing suicide, killing random citizens and murdering one another in half-assed attempts to prove the mettle of their metal. These activities garnered police and media attention throughout the Northlands, but Legion says that these days, media scrutiny of black metal is "totally gone. Media always sell stuff by shocking people, so they have to come up with something new. I guess we're not scary anymore." Maybe not in Scandinavia, but here in America, someone in the Immigration and Naturalization Service has doubts about the safety of the country if Marduk were to tour. Some sheep with a rubber stamp and a list of regulations must have smelled the wolf stench on Marduk's application and decided that a band that has filled out all the paperwork twice and toured the country earlier without killing Bon Jovi or hijacking a plane was still too dangerous to let back in. God bless America, asshole.

American fans will have to console themselves with Marduk's forthcoming boxed set, Blackcrowned, and the live video that will accompany it. Legion promises "a book with all our lyrics for the first three albums and also Panzer Division Marduk," as well as "two discs of different versions of old tracks, totally unreleased songs, covers, all kinds of shit.... We wanted to do something massive, something cool." Only 1,500 copies of Blackcrowned will be released here, so get 'em while you can -- if they're allowed in the country, that is.

In the meantime, Marduk's American cult should continue to seek out those hidden rifts in society where no one can see or hear them and public opinion means nothing. Carry Marduk in your heart. Return to the woods. And wait for the wolves to come.

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