Hell Bent For Metal speaks to Ethereal Shroud mainman Joseph Hawker about being out as a gay man in black metal circles. In an in-depth chat, Joseph talks to Tom about a wide range of topics, both relating to his music and musical expression have been influenced by his experience of his sexuality, and his experience of metal in general – and especially the more extreme areas of it.
Joseph speaks first about how he identified with the countercultural element of black metal when he first discovered the genre, and to an extent became jaded by how shallow that aspect of it really was – and about how he wanted to do something different with his own music. He also speaks about how, having grown up as a quiet, passive young person, having a much more confrontational and aggressive musical outlet was important to him.
Joseph tells Tom that his lyrics speak about his experience of homophobia and (to an extent) how that relates to transphobia. He also talks about why he writes about the dangers of fascism and indoctrination, having grown up indoctrinated himself. He also explains why his music is inherently oppositional and rebellious, and how he became disillusioned with the metal he had listened to growing up when he realised he did not identify with a lot of the things underpinning it.
He speaks about his experiences of growing up as a gay youth in a homophobic, racist environment. Joseph also talks about about why he wants to express his anger at this upbringing and the negative experiences inflicted on him for his sexuality through extreme music, as a form of catharsis.
Joseph explains how he was looking for a place to belong in both the LGBTQ+ community, and in metal, but found in neither. He explains why this is the case in both, and articulates how dramatically things have changed for gay men in metal since he failed to find that sense of belonging there.
He and Tom also chat about how it's really impossible to separate the art from the artist, how complacent metal has been about the dark corners of its subgenres, and why Joseph is so strident in his opposition to the fascistic bands in black metal.
This week's visit to the Hate Crew Gaybar sees two picks go into the jukebox. Matt once again goes back to Church Road Records for his selection, picking 'Caged In Gold' by noisy, mathy grind band Helpless for the jukebox – a record Tom describes as making him feel like his parietal lobe has melted. But does he mean it in a good way? Tom, meanwhile, is even more utterly predictable, as he picks 'Dread Reaver', by Abbath, the third album from the former Immortal mainman's current project. The question is, given that Immortal are Tom's favourite band ever, will Matt like it, or will there be some colourful language and making up to do?
Plus there's also news of something very, very special Tom's doing at Roadburn Festival in April.