Avenged Sevenfold, a 2000's pop hit, and a gay sporting legend discussed on the latest Hell Bent for Metal special

Avenged Sevenfold, a 2000's pop hit, and a gay sporting legend discussed on the latest Hell Bent for Metal special

- By Tom Dare

In another special inverting the regular show, the LGBT+ heavy metal podcast explains why Gareth Thomas is a queer icon, why "All The Things She Said" by t.A.T.u. speaks to their queer side, and why the classic albums in the HCGB jukebox include 'City Of Evil' by Avenged Sevenfold.

Hell Bent For Metal's fifth special is another one which turns the main show format on its head, and touches on subjects that might be queer, or be metal, but might not always be both.

After Matt spoke about how Brendon Urie was one of his queer heroes the last time they did one of these, this time it's Tom's turn to reveal one of his. So he explains why former dual-code professional rugby player and legend of Welsh rugby, Gareth Thomas (often known as "Alfie", and someone who's come up a number of times on the show before, including in the Opeth/'Watershed' Camp Classic special), is just that.

There is a surprisingly long list of reasons behind Tom's nomination too, especially considering Alfie came out in his 30's little more than a decade ago. But even non-rugby fans (like Matt) will appreciate them. In the process, the hosts also discuss using media platforms to positive effect, coming out as well as you can, erosion of stereotypes, restorative justice as a response to hate crimes, and reducing the stigma around being HIV positive.

The latest non-metal song to become a Camp Classic is noughties hit (and Matt's oft-mentioned obsession) "All The Things She Said" by t.A.T.u. The Russian pop duo's 2002 smash is hardly shy of its queer themes, from the are-they-aren't-they questions about whether or not the singers are a couple, to the same-sex kissing in the video. Even considering that, however, there are far more deep-and-meaningful topics in the discussion than you might expect, especially for a pop-tastic one-hit-wonder. (Just don't call it that around Matt!)

The discussion touches on how the younger of the hosts, despite his extreme young age when he first saw the video, found it incredibly easy to deal with the ideal of two girls liking each other (and what the hell this has to do with Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan). It takes in how it was very recently that two women kissing was sufficiently shocking that there were people trying to get the video banned (and how this links to Frankie Goes To Hollywood). And it goes on to talk about how revealing your LGBT+ status to your friends and family can lead to social ostracism and isolation. And that barely scratches the surface.

Plus the latest album to be revealed as one of the classics in the Hate Crew Gaybar jukebox sees Matt set fire to his trve kvlt black metal kred, as he goes to bat for 'City Of Evil', the 2005 album that took Avenged Sevenfold from metalcore upstarts to a straight-up metal band clearly aiming for star status. And while Tom has his fair share of criticisms of the 21st Century classic, even he has to acknowledge its virtues. (Even if he can't resist having some fun with its foibles first.)

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