Is this black metal record an accidental gay concept album? Hell Bent For Metal finds out

Is this black metal record an accidental gay concept album? Hell Bent For Metal finds out

- By Tom Dare

The LGBT+ heavy metal podcast's first Knotfest Special is an in-depth look at Anaal Nathrakh's album 'Endarkenment', and an explanation as to why the hosts interpret it as a queer concept album.

Hell Bent For Metal's second ever special, and their first in partnership with Knofest, takes the Camp Classic feature from the regular show – where they take a work of heavy metal that spoke to them as queers and explain why – and turns it into an in-depth feature-length episode available exclusively through Knotfest Premium.

The album they are looking at 'Endarkenment', the 2020 album from Anaal Nathrakh, the Birmingham, UK experts in making grinding black metal that sounds searing and vile. Which, apparently, can be interpreted as a queer concept record. And while one of the hosts was convinced at the start, the other needs a little bit of persuading, as he just heard the usual mix of politics, swearing, and noises that sounds like an angry demagorgon passing through a jet engine.

Anaal Nathrakh's trademarks are the scathing, biting wit of the lyrics, filtered through the vitriolic musical talents of Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt, and distilled in thunderous fury. And perhaps inevitably, when you have a band possessing such clearly massive levels of knowledge, awareness, and engagement with the world around them, the sardonic lyrical slant takes on some very real, current issues – and never more overtly so than in the case of the songs on 'Endarkenment'.

Anaal Nathrakh: Dave Hunt (L) and Mick Kenney

The album's intelligent sociopolitical commentary, while not specifically aimed at or in reference to the LGBT+ community, is revealed to contain extensive relevance to the queer experience in its subject matter. From the intractability of many of those with anti-LGBT+ views, and gay neoligisims in reference to repressive politicians, through to the oddity of those who take offense at men wearing make-up, and inevitably ending in some of the darker corners of religious dogma and anti-LGBT+ violence.

The discussion takes in the experience of the 21st-century queer, politics, religion, and the most extreme and horrific end point of prejudice. Also, because it's Anaal Nathrakh, and because there's a song on the album called "Libidinous (A Pig With Cocks In Its Eyes)", there's some very juvenile chortles.

And, of course, there's some discussion about why Anaal Nathrakh are brilliant, why they matter so much not just to the hosts to extreme fans in the UK, and how Tom accidentally ended up picking the opening track for one of their headline shows… possibly…

Warning: This show contains Birmingham accents. Fake ones. Done very badly.


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