Russian Religious Types Out to Silence Metal Bands

Metal can be found in every corner of the world, including places where it’s not exactly welcome, especially by certain elements of the religious establishment. This includes Russia. Noisey looks at what’s going on.

In front of the Moscow Art Theater, a severed pig’s head sat in silent protest, the words “To Tabakov” scrawled in black ink across its clammy forehead. Around the shrine, on April 1, 2015, Dmitry Enteo and the members of God’s Will, his Russian Orthodox activist group, shouted anti-blasphemy slogans and theatrically crossed themselves. It’s unclear whether the target of their ire, artistic director Oleg Tabakov, was present that day, but nonetheless, the group certainly achieved its goal of expressing disgust at the man’s decision to stage Oscar Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband. As the spokesperson for God’s Will, Enteo—a slight man with a high forehead, a perennial self-satisfied smirk, and large, expressive eyes ripped straight out of a Pushkin verse—is no stranger to fomenting public chaos.

The Orthodox religious views he and the others share have led them to denounce any art that smacks of Satanism, homosexuality, or cultural deviance. His actions are typically showy and over-the-top; in addition to throwing pig heads and interrupting theater performances, some of his more colorful transgressions include tossing eggs at members of Marilyn Manson’s band before a 2014 performance in Moscow, allegedly vandalizing an art show for showing “pornographic” images of Jesus Christ, staging a “missionary flashmob” in the capital’s Darwin museum, and reportedly assaulting LGBTQ activists and Pussy Riot supporters.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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