Hell Bent for Metal cast a queer eye of System Of A Down guitarist Daron Malakian's looks

Hell Bent for Metal cast a queer eye of System Of A Down guitarist Daron Malakian's looks

- By Tom Dare

The LGBT+ heavy metal podcast looks at the times SOAD's Daron Malakian's wardrobe choices confused their gaydars, and discusses why Cult Of Luna's "Leave Me Here" speaks to their queer side, plus 'Torn Arteries' by Carcass and 'Glory For Salvation' by Rhapsody Of Fire go in the HCGB jukebox.

Hell Bent For Metal casts a queer eye back over the varied and plentiful looks of Daron Malakian, the inspired guitarist of System Of A Down. In the return of the #YesHomo feature, Tom and Matt explain why some of them erroneously set off the gaydar of both of them.

Obviously, before they do that, they have to discuss why the Armenian-American four-piece ruled so hard, as well as what they think of the reunion. But after that, they have to dig into some of Daron's signature… "looks".

The early days saw some classics of the oeuvre, as one early video alone has Tom referencing both an androgynous star of late-90s alt rock, and a camp, larger than life Broadway legend, while another results in more uses of the word "fabulous" than HBFM normally get through in a month. Which is saying something.

But it's the modern, post-reunion era where things really settle in, as yet another queer Broadway star gets referenced liberally in response to some of the style choices Daron's offered, while a much older legend of camp is used as a comparison to other outfits. It's enough to confuse both hosts.

This week's Camp Classic is "Leave Me Here" by Cult Of Luna, from the Swedish post-metallers' 2004 album 'Salvation'. And while there's a very superficial reason CoL speak to the hosts' queer sides, there are rather deeper reasons that both hosts manage to find.

While Matt needs to think of experiences described to him, rather than that he's been through himself, to find queer relevance in the lyrics, he nonetheless sees one much more similar than he expected to the one Tom focuses on – and it's the main one at that. While Tom finds a number of his own experiences paralleled in the song, there's one in particular he's come to think of when he hears "Leave Me Here", and Matt's hit fairly close to it.

This leads to a discussion about how much of a chance you can give those people in your life who aren't quite as evolved on LGBT+ acceptance as you need them to be to keep them in your life – and to why you sometimes need to put yourself first in those situations, even if it means taking some painful decisions.

And there's also a discussion about how to deal with radical religious preachers who clock you in the street and try to "save" you in public. Which may or may not involve Gorgoroth.

Plus this week sees two releases going into the Hate Crew Gaybar jukebox. The already-enduring appeal of Carcass' 'Torn Arteries' means the death metal legends' seventh full-length gets an overdue entry into the jukebox, before 'Glory For Salvation', the fourteenth album from the maestros of fantastical symphonic power metal Rhapsody Of Fire, makes a sure to be understated arrival.

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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