Norwegian black metal legends EMPEROR arrive on U.S. soil for the first time in years one member short. Due to continued delays via the U.S. Immigration Services, guitarist Samoth is currently awaiting approval for legal entry into the United States. The process for the band's arrival started months ago and despite daily calls from both Norwegian and U.S. representatives of the band to multiple departments in the U.S. embassy in Oslo and Stateside governmental departments and agencies, his status still pends.
Samoth comments, "What can I say? As things stand today, I'm not allowed to enter the U.S. It's an extremely unfortunate situation and totally out of my control. The reality is that I'm still waiting for a 'waiver' that apparently has to come from the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. We have done everything we can and continue the dialogue with all agencies involved. It has been an exhausting and very costly process. I've had several visas issued in the past, and technically there should be no reason for them not to grant one now. We realize that this is a bit of a let-down for everybody involved, especially everybody who bought tickets to come and see the show tonight [July 13]. Please bear with us on this. The show will and must go on no matter what. Ihsahn, Trym, Secthdamon and Einar will fucking devastate! I will be there as soon as I have the go-ahead."
Ihsahn adds, "This is a very unfortunate situation for all parts as everybody has been looking very much forward to this whole trip. I think, however, we owe it to ourselves and our fans to keep our spirit up."
EMPEROR will perform tonight (July 13) at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City. Their performance for July 14 is already sold out as is their July 16 performance at Key Club in Los Angeles. The band's final performance is scheduled for July 17 at House of Blues in Los Angeles.