On Sunday just passed (November 14), Hell Bent For Metal took part in Queer Stories From The Home Of Metal, an event celebrating the LGBT+ community of Birmingham, in the West Midlands of England: the place heavy metal was born.
As part of an event organised between SHOUT Festival (a queer arts festival in the West Midlands), and Home Of Metal (the exhibition that celebrates metal's birthplace), HBFM had their first live recording. In front of an audience at Subside Bar, the hosts are joined by two of Birmingham's queer residents, Eva Echo and Andy O'Malley, about their experiences of being out in metal, and out in the place metal started.
Eva speaks about how metal has been a home and a place where she can be relaxed and herself, and also about some of the mental health issues the LGBT+ faces. Andy, on the other hand, whose experience goes back a little further than either the hosts or Eva, speaks about how for much of his life, he wasn't really out in metal at all, staying hidden, but that things have improved dramatically since. He also speaks about his experience of being HIV positive, and both how it can still be an awkward thing to talk about, but has also resulted in some experiences and life changes he's very glad happened.
As they were in the West Midlands, HBFM also took the opportunity to explain why "Breaking The Law" by Judas Priest speaks to their queer side, in this week's Camp Classic. Given Rob Halford is the most famous gay man in metal, and is also originally from the West Midlands, it was the perfect choice.
While the songs' socio-political lyrics about the malaise in Britain at the beginning of the 1980s make their meaning completely clear to all, both Tom and Matt find plenty of meaning for queer folk. Most of it is fairly obvious in their relevance (Rob Halford? Hide in plain sight? Surely not…), but some of them are perhaps a little more niche in their interpretation.
Despite more than enough meaning to be found in the lyrics, however, there's still time to talk about the absolutely spectacular video, full of theatrical poses and hilariously camp melodrama. (And a random Monty Python reference. Naturally.) Who knew Judas Priest could fit so much queer in one song? Everyone? Just checking.
Back home from Brum, there's just time for the hosts to make a quick trip to the Hate Crew Gaybar, to make sure the jukebox is a little better stocked than the playlist used in the bar after the live bit of the show finished recording. The releases they've picked for this week's jukebox additions are 'Into The Hollow Earth' by Southern metal (with extra vocal harmonies) band All Hail The Yeti, and 'Pelgrimsoord' by Dutch reverent melodic black metallers Ossaert.