Amnesty International is to draw attention to freedom of expression abuses by going on tour with a death metal band as part of a strategy to piggyback on niche supporter groups.
Swedish metal band Arch Enemy will be giving their support to Amnesty during their Khaos Over Europe tour, which starts this week. The band, whose music includes Bloodstained Cross and We Are A Godless Entity, are known supporters of freedom of expression.
It is the first time the human rights charity has sought to promote its causes on a large scale with a band from a niche-interest area such as metal. Amnesty will have a presence near merchandise stalls at gigs to showcase instances where freedom of expression has been denied.
Head of art for Amnesty Jo Metcalf explained that partnerships with acts that have strong relationships with fans are a growing focus for the charity.
'Working with bands who have loyal supporters who listen when they say something is far more beneficial than talking to them in a general way,' said Metcalf. 'When Arch Enemy say something about freedom of expression it has a resonance with fans. That goes for bands from Arch Enemy to U2.'
Metcalf pointed to U2's support for the case of Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, on their 2009 360 degs Tour. 'You need to give some credit to U2 fans that she got released,' said Metcalf.
Metcalf added that the charity was also working closely with artists in India, Africa and Latin America because they would 'talk to fans in a more appropriate way that has the right context'.
This year marks Amnesty's 50th anniversary, although there is no major concert planned.