This is somewhat old news, but it’s the first we at Metal Insider have heard about it. And apparently Australian black metal band Ne Obliviscaris still needs help with keeping their guitarist in the country. The group has been tirelessly trying to help new guitarist Benjamin Baret (originally from France) obtain a Distinguished Talent Visa in Australia for over two years, even performing a fundraising concert to raise money for the application. However, last November, Australia’s Department of Immigration rejected Baret’s application because he failed to meet the standards required for the visa, which includes “a record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in a profession” and that “your achievements must be internationally recognized.” In the Department of Immigration’s letter further explaining their decision, their reasoning included the following:
-“A metal guitarist with internationally recognized records could be expected to have collaborated with renowned metal bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden or Disturbed. There is no evidence in the application that it is the case.”
-“There is also no evidence that Benjamin Baret has won any international awards by being a guitarist or a musician in general.”
Rightfully so, Ne Obliviscaris is furious, and has started an online petition to get the decision appealed and to have Baret’s visa up for review once again. The band had this to say on the petition page:
“To proclaim that bands such as Iron Maiden & Metallica, two of the biggest metal bands in history, are the standard by which one defines ‘exceptional and outstanding achievement’ is something we feel to be completely unreasonable. Furthermore, to use the fact that Benjamin has not won any international awards for a genre of music such as metal in which awards scarcely exist, we also feel is unreasonable. We strongly feel that these reasons for refusal show a clear lack of understanding of the music industry and in particular the worldwide metal scene and Ne Obliviscaris’ current and future place within it.”
Last we checked, 2692 signatures have already been received. If you want to help Baret and Ne Obliviscaris, you sign their petition at GoPetition.com. We’ll keep you updated if anything new pops up, but at very least help Baret and Ne Obliviscaris. It may not guarantee the appeal, but simply adding your name to the petition will help the band fight against a unfair and crappy decision.