A queer metalhead guide to 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine', from HBFM

A queer metalhead guide to 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine', from HBFM

- By Tom Dare

The LGBTQ+ heavy metal podcast takes a look at NYPD-based sitcom 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' to discuss its queer representation and how it depicts metal; Blind Guardian epic "And Then There Was Silence" is viewed from a queer angle; and albums from Ithaca, Black Magnet, Funeral Chic, Chat Pile and Yatra go in the HCGB jukebox.

On episode #87, Hell Bent For Metal digs deep into 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine', the sitcom based in the 99th precinct of the New York Police Department, to explain why their perspective as queer metalheads affects how they see the show, which concluded last year after eight seasons.

First, Tom, Matt D, and Charlie analyse how the show handles queer representation, looking both at the character of Captain Raymond Holt, the commander of the dysfunctional squad, who's an out gay man from the dawn of the show, and also character from the principal cast who came out as bisexual later in the shows run, shortly after the actor who plays them came out in reality. As well as assessing how those two characters are portrayed, and how relatable or stereotypical they may or may not be, they address how the show handles other LGBTQ+ issues, including how it threads the needle of making jokes about the queer experience without simply making jokes at the expense of queer people.

They then move on to discussing how being a metal fan can affect the way someone could view it, including in particular how metal is represented in the show itself, given that it comes up either tangentially or significantly many times. This is then compared to one extremely famous example of heavy metal being represented well in comedy, which is sadly unwatchable to the LGBTQ+ community, due to it's central plot being grimly queerphobic.

Plus there's an origin story for one of HBFM's running gags.

This week's Camp Classic is "And Then There Was Silence", the fan-favourite epic song about the fall of Troy by legendary German power metallers Blind Guardian, first featured on their 2002 album 'A Night At The Opera'. Naturally, there's the entirely predictable chat about how the song is camp as tits (which you already guessed, because it's HBFM and it's power metal), there are a number of much more deep-and-meaningful reasons it's relatable to from a queer perspective.

Plus it's all change in the Hate Crew Gaybar, as the show moves even further away from the traditional "reviews show" format for the section, and even closer towards a group of queers chatting around the table of a heavy metal gay bar. As a consequence, there are no less than five albums for the jukebox this week, with the big one being 'They Fear Us' by ferocious UK mathy, riffy metalcore band (and former HBFM guests) Ithaca. Next up, Oklahoma City industrial members Black Magnet, who were entered into the Hate Crew Gaybar before it was even called that, in the show's early days, have their second album 'Body Prophecy', entered into the jukebox. Next up, 'Roman Candle' by Funeral Chic, whose name might make you expect they're a goth metal band from Milan, but are actually a sludge band from Charlotte, North Carolina. 'God's Country' by Chat Pile also goes in, adding more sludgy noise, and is coincidentally the second entry this week from Oklahoma City. And finally, 'Born Into Chaos' by Yatra rounds out the jukebox with some fun, bluesy death metal.

It's a bumper crop, but a more streamlined way of discussing them to go with it, and all in all, this is a far more cheerful show than #86.

Listen to Hell Bent For Metal on Spotify here, listen on iTunes here, or choose one of the other ways to listen here.

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