A Trans Fist In The Face Of Bigots In The Metal Scene

A Trans Fist In The Face Of Bigots In The Metal Scene

- By Tom Dare

Extreme metal musician and trans pioneer Kat Shevil Gillham talks to the LGBTQ+ heavy metal podcast about her experiences, plus the queer angle on a Strapping Young Lad classic plus HCGB gets releases from Zeal & Ardor, Persefone, and Cult Of Luna.

With Hell Bent For Metal finally able to do an in-person interview, Tom goes to the lovely cathedral city of Durham, in the North-East of England (just up the road from Tom) to meet singer, drummer, and trans pioneer in the metal scene, the metal as fuck Kat Shevil Gillham, from bands such as Thronehammer, Uncoffined, and Lucifer's Chalice.

Tom speaks to Kat about what playing heavy metal means to her, and how the scene has changed in her time in it. One striking example of both revolves around Kat's experience of coming out 20 years ago – something which cost her her band at the time – and her subsequent journey to getting back on the stage as her true self.

Kat also talks about how, while she's now thought of as a pioneer and has been an inspiration to other trans metal fans and musicians, that was never something on her mind at the time she first came out as trans – but that it's amazing when others tell her she's inspired them. She also says that, while they are increasingly the minority in the scene, she very definitely still encounters people hostile to trans folk – and how she is quite happy to piss off the people who need it.

The ferocious "All Hail The New Flesh" by the much-missed Strapping Young Lad is this week's Camp Classic, which gives the hosts a chance to reminisce about Hevy Devy's great old band (and it's terrific rhythm section). But it also means the hosts have to explain why this song reminds them of that newly-out gay guy who wants all the things he's denied himself throughout his years in the closet. With the emphasis on the word, "things".

A deeper dive into the song's substance, however, leads to a discussion on how much effort it must take to be one of those people who really, really put a lot of time into hating on LGBTQ+ folk (one letter individually, or everyone under the rainbow flag), or one aspect of their lives. With one aspect in particular seeming to come up more than most.

The Hate Crew Gaybar staff have mops on standby this week, as a bumper crop of excellent new releases for the jukebox means the froth forecast has a red warning on it. First up both hosts have picked Zeal & Ardor's self-titled album, the third release from the experimental, soulful black metal band. Next, it's a mystery as to why Matt's picked 'Metanoia' by Andorran prog/tech metallers Persefone… at least it is until it's revealed Einar from Leprous does some guest vocals, when Matt's thinking becomes entirely clear. And finally, Tom has promised to be brief and restrained on his pick, which is 'The Long Road North', the eighth album from Swedish post-metal masters Cult Of Luna. We'll let you find out if Tom was telling the truth or not.

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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