According to The Star Online, LAMB OF GOD's previously announced September 28 performance in Kuala Lumpur has been canceled after the band's concerts were deemed to be infringing on the religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysian society.
The Department Of Islamic Development Of Malaysia (Jakim) last month raised objection to the show, claiming that LAMB OF GOD's music is a mix of metal songs with the reading of verses from the Quran.
The decision to cancel the concert was made Wednesday by the Communications And Multimedia Ministry at a meeting of the Central Committee On Applications For Filming And Performances By Foreign Artistes (Puspal).
However, in a statement to the media, concert organizers Livescape Sdn Bhd took responsibility for calling off the show, claiming that they decided to scrap LAMB OF GOD's appearance after the band claimed to have received several death threats.
"This difficult decision was made after thorough deliberation by us at Livescape and taking into account the objections raised by various groups as well as life threats made by certain irresponsible individuals towards the bandmembers," Livescape said.
The LAMB OF GOD bandmembers issued a separate statement, saying: "In response to the growing controversy and public protest within Malaysia, and on the advice of our management, we have elected to cancel our show in Kuala Lampur. It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs.
"We would invite anyone offended by our music to engage in a discussion regarding the true motivations behind our work, especially before publicly slandering us based on assumptions and shallow misinterpretation.
"We sincerely apologize to our amazing fans in Malaysia for the cancellation. However, in light of recent events in the band’s history, and given the increasing fervor of the media coverage regarding the Malaysian controversy, our management feels that the environment surrounding the upcoming show is becoming increasingly volatile. More than anything, we do not wish to jeopardize the safety of our crew, our fans or ourselves. Many thanks to all who have spoken out in our support through this."
LAMB OF GOD, which was originally known as BURN THE PRIEST, sparked controversy in the Christian community by "incorporating evil and anti-divine spiritual elements in its performance," Jakim's director-general, Datuk Othman Mustapha, said.
Othman said the objection was in accordance with the decision of the Fatwa (Edicts) Committee that the practices and acts of black metal groups were misguided and contrary to the true teachings of Islam.
According to the Malaysia Chronicle, Othman said there were many examples of the band's references that showed their usage of religion and divinity in their music and lyrics.
"The name LAMB OF GOD also referred to Jesus that Christians referred to as the son of god," he said.
Jakim claimed the band had aired Quranic verses during their performances in the United States previously and had suggestive songtitles such as "Walk With Me In Hell", "Sacrament" and "Resurrection".
"The organizing of such events do not only corrode morality but also the faith of Muslims," Othman said.
"Performances by heavy metal outfits that were often extreme also encouraged its audience to lose control," he added.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, also demanded the concert be banned, claiming that LAMB OF GOD could cause "untold harm and moral decadence" among young people.
Former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin disagreed, telling The Star Online that "the people raising the objections should provide proof, such as lyrics, to show that the musical acts are truly objectionable and will negatively impact our society and culture."
He added: "A performance can be banned if proven to be unsuitable but not just because you don't like it."
Human-rights lawyer and metal music fan Michelle Yesudas defended LAMB OF GOD, telling The Sun Daily: "First of all, LAMB OF GOD is not even black metal. People who understand metal music know the vast difference between black metal and the other genres.
"This seems to be a targeting non-conformists. A few hours of listening to a band is not going to change a country's moral integrity," she said.
LAMB OF GOD was famously banned from playing the church-owned Forum in Los Angeles in 2005 because church leaders were offended by the group's previous name (BURN THE PRIEST).