This week on Hell Bent for Metal, it's not a fun one, but it is necessary, as Tom and Matt address two recent examples of heavy metal's problem with tacitly endorsing homophobia.
First up, Faust, who brutally murdered a gay man, Magne Andreassen, in 1992, something which was explored in episode 24 when Faust was being used as a point to sell tickets, has played with Emperor again at a London festival this past weekend. This, as mentioned, is not new; the hosts this time discuss how some self-professed queer allies, including many music fans and press alike who when Faust returned to the band last year, claimed to be disgusted, this time managed to rave about how great the show was whilst completely glossing over his horrific crime.
There's lengthy discussion about how these commenters, and the festival itself, set a horrific precedent by giving a homophobic murderer who's never shown any public remorse a platform, and how this is going to make queer people feel. The hosts themselves comment on how they wouldn't feel safe at these shows, and the more that things like this happen, the worse the problem is going to become, because it makes them feel like their lives and safety aren't as important than those of others.
There's also talk on how performative allyship can be so harmful, due to the fact that queer folk can see people being seemingly on their side, but when it really matters, those same people are more interested in the music than the safety of the people they claim to be in solidarity with. Tom and Matt discuss why this may be, and offer theories such as people trying to make themselves feel better and absolve guilt, and talk about how they're used to some people not caring, but would much rather them make that clear from the start.
After that, there's discussion of another recent lapse of judgement, as the guys dive in to the recent anniversary of Type O Negative's frontman Peter Steele's death, and how many publications fawned over the man so hard, and forgot any sense of journalistic integrity by failing to mention his flaws. Obviously talking about someone who's passed is a delicate subject, and Tom and Matt make the point very clear that they are not trying to get anyone cancelled, as Peter's views may have changed significantly along with general societal acceptance and perception by this point. They do, however, point out how some of his words were very hurtful to queer people.
Some publications managed to strike the perfect balance, by celebrating his music, musical legacy and the good sides of his person, whilst also addressing his history of homophobia. Most that the hosts saw however, did not, and it's pointed out why this is a problem - everyone is flawed but we cannot make out that they were a perfect person just because they're dead. It creates a false and damaging illusion that everyone is a saint, an image that no-one can live up to, and how that does way more harm than good.
Many examples of Peter's homophobia are discussed and it's detailed how the sort of things that he said affect LGBTQ+ people, and how seeing publications make no mention of the incidents is still harmful now.
To wrap on a positive note, there's a trip to the Hate Crew Gay Bar where the debut album from California's crossover band Slowbleed, The Blazing Sun, a Fiery Dawn is added to the jukebox, along with another debut, this time from Georgia's technical black metal band Tómarúm, with Ash in Realms of Stone Icons.
CW: discussion of homophobic language and violence