With Matt sidelined by illness, Hell Bent For Metal welcomes back the gayest straight man Tom knows, former Metal Hammer scribe Abhi Ahluwalia, as guest host, to take a look at the feast of euphemisms that is "Spit Out The Bone" by Metallica, the song from their 2016 double album 'Hardwired… To Self-Destruct'.
From the absolute open goal that is the title itself, through the feast of metaphors for NSFW things in the verse, to the delivery of the chorus, it's enough to have you saying "oh Matron!" more than Kenneth Williams did in his entire career.
Amid all the fun and games (and there is really rather a lot of this), there are a few truths to be found in the jests. Whether these are the sometimes rather impersonal nature of gay experiences, or myths around certain aspects of sexuality, they inevitably do crop up – as do references to 'Sex Education'.
Also, because it's Metallica, there's the inevitable round of opinions, as Tom and Abhi both offer up their views on who's better, Metallica or Immortal (the big question!), and dig into what they think of 'Hardwired… To Self-Destruct' and its place in Metallica's catalogue. Tom also explains why, despite being a big Metallica fan, he deliberately waited till February of this year to listen to 'Hardwired…'.
Boogie metal belter "Earth Rocker" by pod favourite crowd-pleasers Clutch is this week's Camp Classic, with it being revealed as a genuine queer metal anthem – even if it's almost certain that this isn't what the band were aiming for. But irrespective of intention, both Tom and Abhi immediately agree that this would serve brilliantly as a blues metal counterpart to "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. Which, admittedly, is probably the first, and also last time, Neil Fallon and his magnificent beard have been compared to the pop diva in the eye-catching outfit.
Irrespective of the oddness of that comparison, Tom identifies that there are certain specific lyrical phrases in "Earth Rocker" that express self-validation, self-worth and positivity in a way that make particular sense to LGBT+ experiences. The Marylanders' have unintentionally spoken to that bit of queer affirmation – Pride, even – that doesn't seek to or need to justify oneself or one's existence, because you don't need to.
There are two new additions to the Hate Crew Gaybar jukebox this week. Abhi's putting in resurrected alt metal genre-fusers Quicksand's new album 'Distant Populations', which he promises he's not just nominated because it will force Tom to talk about Deftones again (even if Abhi does know full well how much Tom doesn't like them), but is just that he thinks it's both an excellent and interesting release.
In the most predictable news since the sun last came up in the East, Tom's entry this week is the new EP from Enslaved, 'Caravans To The Outer Worlds'. Hot on the heels of last year's album 'Utgard', the Norwegian progtastic black metallers (and one of Tom's favourite bands) have even more music for him to go nuts about. Standard.