The LGBT+ heavy metal podcast celebrates its birthday with Roadburn Festival doing LGBT+ representation right, Skindred being affirming at a show (again), and Unreqvited's 'Empathica II: Everwinter' becoming a Camp Classic, plus the HCGB jukebox sees entries from Ghost Bath and Beast In Black.
Marking a year since the podcast began, Hell Bent for Metal are able to celebrate with some positive news coming out of the Netherlands, in the form of a brilliantly queer first announcement from the always wonderful Roadburn Festival, and also from Wales as the equally-awesome Skindred marked either hosts' gig return in glorious fashion.
Not usually ones to dissect festival announcements, there's a reason why Tom and Matt feel they have to talk about the first wave of bands slated to play at Roadburn Festival 2022 - not just because it's brilliant, but because it features really, really great LGBT+ representation. Trans rapper Backxwash, non-binary doom duo Vile Creature and experimental black-metallers Liturgy, who are fronted by a trans woman, are some of the first names added to next years' bill. The hosts discuss why it's great that these artists are put in prominent positions, and how this can be an example to other festivals around the world to follow when they want to show that they're inclusive.
In more celebratory matters, Tom recently went to his first gig since the Before Times, and what better way to come back than with the absolute party-chaos of Welsh riffsters Skindred. As great as it was to be back in the presence of live music, there's another reason Hell Bent for Metal discuss this, and it's something that's been touched on in previous episodes.
At every show they play, Skindred make it absolutely clear that if you are prejudiced or discriminatory in any way, you are not welcome at their shows. They also make it explicit that no matter the colour of your skin, your sexuality, your gender identity or anything else, they've got your backs. Tom and Matt discuss just how this makes them feel as queers, especially in a genre that has areas where sometimes it can feel unsafe to just be yourself, and how they'd love for other bands to similarly adopt such an easy gesture to make sure everyone feels welcome.
This weeks' Camp Classic comes from pod favourites Unreqvited, as 'Empathica II: Everwinter' is examined with a queer eye. Unreqvited are the first band to have had two albums put into the Hate Crew Gaybar (the first of which was Tom's first ever pick for it, back in the days where the bar didn't even have a name), and if you've listened to those being spoken about, you may remember that the band do not use lyrics. So how on Earth does this post-black metal wordless piece of euphoria speak to Tom's queerness? Matt certainly has no idea to begin with, but comes to fully understand the frankly quite lovely reasons how.
Finally, this weeks' Hate Crew Gaybar jukebox picks come in the form of Self Loather, the fourth album from mysterious and miserable black-metallers Ghost Bath, and Dark Connection, the third effort from Beast In Black, the Finnish/Greek/Hungarian completely bombastic and extravagant power-metallers. Your guess as to who has picked what... (No, not really, you already know.)