Hell Bent For Metal dives deep into one of their favourite songs from 2021, "On Hold" by Leprous, from the Norwegian tech-metal-turned-prog band's latest album 'Aphelion'. The album was unanimously entered into the Hate Crew Gaybar jukebox, appeared high up in both hosts' top 20 albums of 2021, and they've been saying since it came out that "On Hold" was a future Camp Classic (the regular feature on the show where they take a work of metal that spoke to one or both hosts as queers, and explain why). And when they sat down to try and work out how they were doing it for a show, it provided enough queer meaning to them that it fills a whole special.
The story of the song takes in topics as varied as the queer person's journey to self-acceptance, thinking through your choices as an LGBT person, and the dreadful feelings of inertia the queer experience can entail. The hosts discuss how homophobic behaviour affects them when they encounter it and the extent to which you they can prepare for it, as well as the temptation to "pass" or stay discreet rather than come out – and how there is a parallel to the experience of being a metalhead.
The show also takes in conversations about the LGBT+ community's experience of both mental illness and the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's obviously a fairly dark conversation a lot of the time, but then given the themes of the song, that was essentially inevitable. But that doesn't stop there being moments of humour along the way, and also notes of optimism that things do get better.
Plus, obviously, there's plenty of chat about why Leprous rule, why this song in particular is so outstanding, and why it's one of the most musically accomplished performances you're likely to hear. (Oh, and there's some jokes about how Matt thinks Einar, Leprous' singer, is rather nice to look at. Regular listeners will have guessed that already, though.)