Death Metal band Omicron would like to clarify some things

Let’s get right to the point. There is a death metal band in Belgium which, since last week, shares their name with a variant of the coronavirus. But unlike the World Health Organization, they were “totally not” influenced by the Greek alphabet.

“Our guitarist Philippe has an unhealthy obsession with aliens and all the interstellar darkness that comes with it,” the band told VICE World News via email. “He came up with our name because he was inspired by the Dyson sphere that had been found in the constellation Omicron Cygni.”

“And he’s never been probed, as far as he knows.”

“Having the same name as the new variant of the coronavirus seems like an additional responsibility that we have to bear. “

The WHO has used Greek letters in alphabetical order to name the new variants of the coronavirus. But with the emergence last week of a disturbing new strain first identified by a South African doctor, the health agency skipped the letter “Xi”, given that it is also the last name. from the Chinese President, and went straight to “Omicron” – the 15th letter of the alphabet.

“No one could predict that this would happen and hopefully people will see it,” Omicron said, the group. “[Are] we plan to change the name? Surely not. We will not let a virus determine how our concept should be viewed. ”

One name can make or break a band (can you imagine if American hair metal band Motley Crue stuck to being called Christmas?), So for the members of Omicron, learning that they now share the same one. name as the new, possibly highly transmissible COVID. The -19 variant turned out to be a mixture of emotions.

“We were a little worried that our name might have a negative connotation,” they said. “But we also thought that it could give us the visibility that groups badly need. [starting out] in a world crowded with musicians trying to leave their mark on the industry.

While the response to the overlapping names has been only jovial, the group is aware that they don’t seem to be profiting from a global crisis.

“Having the same name as the new variant of the coronavirus seems like an additional responsibility that we have to bear,” Omicron said. “We will always tread carefully here because we don’t want the world to think that we are thriving on the suffering of others.”

That Omicron was an ideal name for a metal band was first tweeted by American musician Jon Wurster. A little after, it turned out that there was indeed a metal band named Omicron, albeit this time from Hong Kong, which disbanded in 2016 but is now enjoying a mini-renaissance.

“Whether it’s for the right reasons or the wrong, we got clicks,” said leader Chan Li Heng, now based in Perth, Australia. Rolling stone.

As the global pandemic shows no signs of slowing down, Belgian Omicron has been forced to postpone the release of his debut album Entropy entity– a “concept album” which “plays with the idea of ​​an alien invasion and the insignificance of the human race”, according to the group. The concerts also slowed down.

“We are planning to play in concert halls, but the number of infections in Belgium is increasing again, so it is very difficult at the moment to predict when this will be realistic,” they said.

Omicron, during pre-pandemic times.  Photo: Omicron

Omicron, during pre-pandemic times. Photo: Omicron

While the pandemic has hit them hard over the past two years, from this unfortunate coincidence, the group hopes that good will emerge.

“We hope that people looking for Omicron might come across us and find a much needed outlet in our music. ”

Follow Heather Chen on Twitter.

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