COVID-19: Death metal band Omicron wont change its name

They say all publicity is good publicity – and Belgian death metal band Omicron will not be changing its name, despite sharing it with the new COVID variant.

The group’s founder and lead guitarist, Philippe Delhaute, told Sky News things were “really crazy” when the latest coronavirus strain hit the headlines – and that his colleagues had considered a switch.

But he said they’d decided against it, in the hope that it might lead to more people listening to their music and help vanquish “the bad association with Omicron”.

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“We thought we were building our album – which is out next spring – and putting it together,” said Mr Delhaute.

“But then the news hit in November and people started getting in touch with us. The attention is cool, but we don’t want people to think we are using the disease to get our band widely spread.

“Changing the name crossed my mind for one second, but our band isn’t built around the variant. I hope we can let people know that it is something different and simply a coincidence.”

Mr Delhaute said he thought of the band name five years ago after reading an article about Omicron constellations, describing the concept as “awesome”.

He added: “I have an unhealthy thing about aliens and the universe. Our first album is a concept album about aliens taking over the planet and humans fighting back. It is kind of like a movie in music form.”

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Mr Delhaute said the band felt “an extra responsibility” because of the unfortunate name clash.

“We all know people who have had it and have friends or family who have lost someone,” he said. “We want something good to come out of it, like people listening to our music and maybe lose the bad association.”

Omicron – the variant, not the band – was first detected in South Africa but has since been found much further afield, featuring more than 30 mutations, which has experts worried about it being more transmissible.

The UK has reported hundreds of cases since the first European infection was confirmed in Belgium.

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