UK fans are anxiously awaiting further news on the crisis which has forced Danish cult heroes Volbeat to cut the first leg of their headline tour – due to start later this month. Frontman Michael Poulsen has been ordered to take a complete break from band business after being struck down by a mystery illness.

Volbeat’s latest Beyond Hell/Above Heaven album has taken them to arena status in Europe but the band has been been forced to cancel the first five dates of their debut UK tour.

In order to safeguard the second half of the tour, including a soon-to-be-sold-out show at the Electric Ballroom in London (December 9), Poulsen is under strict doctor’s orders to take immediate rest.

And with the famed frontman constantly driving himself to the limit in terms of  performance (resulting in him being carried offstage in Tilburg, Holland, back in November 2009), any health issues have to be taken very seriously indeed.

The band is said to deeply regret the cancellation of the shows in Portsmouth, Dublin, Belfast, Sheffield and Nottingham – the intention is for these dates to be rescheduled down the line. But in the meantime fans will be able to reclaim their money from point of purchase.

Earlier today Volbeat have posted the following statement on their website: “After a strenuous sold-out tour across mainland Europe and Scandinavia, Volbeat are regrettably forced to cancel their first week of scheduled UK shows.

“The band did personally not want to cancel any of this tour but unfortunately Michael Poulsen was ordered by doctors not to fly or travel until his medical condition is stabilised to their satisfaction. At this moment, Michael is under doctor’s supervision and a full recovery is expected within time to be able to pursue engagements from Dec 1 onwards.”

The full list of remaining UK dates is as follows:

December 2010:

1st Norwich, Waterfront

2nd Newcastle, Academy II

3rd Glasgow, Garage

4th Manchester, Academy II

6th Bristol, Thekla

7th Oxford, Academy

8th Birmingham, Academy II

9th London, Electric Ballroom