We all knew it was only a matter of time before some bands named themselves something like ‘COVID’ or ‘coronavirus.’ Metal bands have loved picking threatening substances or diseases in order to make themselves sound toxic; hell, anthrax is mostly a disease that harms cattle, but those dudes did pretty well. Now, as the new ‘Omicron variant’ is causing mask and vaccine mandates to be strengthened, the Belgian death metal band who named themselves Omicron before the pandemic are finally seeing some attention, for better or for worse.
In an interview with Vice, the Belgian band make it clear that they chose their name long before the ‘Omicron variant’ started going around. “Our guitarist Philippe has an unhealthy obsession with aliens and all the interstellar obscurity that comes with it,” claim the band. “He came up with our name because he was inspired by the Dyson sphere that had been found in the Omicron Cygni constellation.”
“We were a bit anxious that our name might get a negative connotation,” they continued. “But we also felt it might give us the exposure much needed for bands [starting out] in a world overcrowded with musicians trying to leave their mark upon the industry….Having the same name as the new coronavirus variant feels like an extra responsibility we have to carry. We are still going to tread carefully here because we do not want the world to think that we are thriving on other people’s suffering.”
“Whether for the right or wrong reasons, we’ve been getting clicks,” the band’s frontman, Chan Li Heng, confirmed.
As for the question of whether or not they’d consider changing their name due to sensitivity concerns, the band are adamant: ““[Are] we planning to change our name? Hell no. We will not let a virus determine the way our concept should be perceived.”
Words by Chris Krovatin