It’s been a hard time to be a metal band in Russia for a long time now, and as such, deathcore outfit Slaughter to Prevail are picking up and moving to America. In an interview with Revolver Magazine, vocalist Aleksandr “Alex Terrible” Shikolai said the guys known for devil masks and unhumanly deep vocals are moving stateside due to their homeland’s stance on heavy music, their vocal support for Ukraine, and potential jail time for both.

“It’s kind of risky to … If you say you are against the war, if you do something like you’re protesting, and all this shit, you can probably go to jail, or you can probably get a ticket for 30,000 rubles [approximately $500 USD] or 50,000 rubles [$800 USD]. Not too much, but it’s still fucking crazy. You’re against the war, and the government just says to you, ‘You have the problem. Shut the fuck up. Shut your mouth.’

Especially if you play music and you are against the war, they’re probably going to try to close your shows, shut down the fucking … Whatever you do with the art. Yeah. We got a little problem before because our government thinks that we are Satanists.”

Imagine that — good ol’ Satanic Panic thrives in Mother Russia. Though he says the band has never been arrested for playing, Terrible said they’ve had shows cancelled for “violence, propaganda of violence, Satanism and all this shit.”

Just this past Tuesday the band put out their first new song since their 2021 release Kostolom. Though it still comes with the same kind of down tuned groove and vocal stylings you’d expect from a Slaughter to Prevail song, “1984” manages to get political, calling on the Russian government to end its war in Ukraine.

“In this song, I just sing, ‘Stop the fucking violence,’ and, ‘Why you do this?’ Because I think it’s wrong. I know I don’t know a lot of things. I know I don’t fucking … I’m not a political guy. I didn’t know much about this conflict in Donbas, and all this shit. But, for me, an uneducated person, for me, what is going on right now I don’t like, because people are dying. People suffer, civilian ones. Mariupol, just fucking destroyed. The whole fucking city destroyed.

I can put myself to another person’s spot. For example, I can imagine I live in Mariupol, and then this shit happens. I lose my family, maybe, members of my home, and all this shit. I [would] fucking hate the Russian government. I [would] fucking hate Russia, man. I [would] just … I don’t know what to say. It’s really emotional for me. I think that every person in Russia is against the war — you cannot support the war [unless] you are a fucking stupid person.”

As an American, I can’t imagine having to flee your homeland because of the music you play. Say what you will about our current political landscape, America is still the land where extreme musicians can ply their craft (mostly) unabated.

If you want to read more about the band’s struggles in Russia, how Terrible got that sick face scar, and what it was like to wrestle a literal fucking bear in the “Baba Yaga” video, be sure to check out the full interview at Revolver.