The LGBTQ+ heavy metal podcast takes a look at teen same-sex romance ‘Heartstopper’, and say how they see it differently because they’re metalheads. Plus there’s a Camp Classic from Wintersun, and HCGBs picks from Besvärjelsen and Sylvaine.
The latest episode of Hell Bent for Metal sees the return of Living After Midnight, where the hosts take a look at a piece of queer culture and explain how they could relate to it differently to other queer folks due to their involvement in metal culture. This week it’s Netflix’s latest smash hit Heartstopper under the microscope, the coming-of-age rom-com that sees a gay couple in a teen drama front and center for the first time in recent memory. Spoilers ahead.
Tom and Matt take a nuanced view of the series, first making sure to not overlook its flaws and misrepresentation of some parts of the queer community. There’s analysis on how lead Nick’s female interest within his bisexuality isn’t really shown at all, and how his journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance feels unrealistic and incredibly rushed. It’s also noted that only the romantic aspect of teen life is explored, something that through the hosts’ experiences, was not the only part. They comment that this could be due to the fact that the writer of the graphic novel on which the series was based is asexual.
All that said, the guys move on to what they enjoyed about the series – how sweet it generally is, and moreso how they wish that their schooling lives could have been way more like those in the show than their reality. Tom and Matt talk about how the show’s huge success from the off could be a huge moment in queer culture and media, in that it could spawn the other streaming services to go chasing their own similar version (whilst perhaps being written to show a more believable series of events).
The key issue that gets spoken about, though, is how the hosts experienced their own school life, and its queer aspect, differently because they were in the metal/punk/emo scenes. There’s talk on how similar it is or isn’t that people would just avoid you for being in those scenes, to the perhaps more realistic situation that Charlie would also be ignored for being a geek. They guys also chat more on how being into metal from a young age and still being closeted in their sexuality was a double-barrier and would often end up with feeling isolated, and how that doesn’t seem to be Charlie’s experience in the series, perhaps because he was neither. The section is finished up by Tom and Matt speculating on what the next couple of seasons of the shows could hold, and what they’d like to see done better in regards to its queer nature.
After all that, this week’s Camp Classic takes a look at ‘Sons of Winter and Stars’ by Finnish power/folk metal icons, and one of Tom’s personal favorite bands, Wintersun. There’s a multitude of reasons why the song spoke to the queer sides of each host, notably the analogy of stars shining brightest after the darkness being much akin to the experience of many a queer finding their inner fabulous when they’re out and proud after struggling with inner turmoil for so long.
There’s also a look given at the song’s title, and how that could be interpreted to represent LGBTQ+ folk, as well as a couple more lines picked out from the opus, before the realisation hits that the show would be 80 hours long if everything was explored in detail, and thus was promised the next HBFM special. Watch this space.
In between all of that, this week’s picks for the Hate Crew Gay Bar jukebox are the latest album from Sweden’s stoner/doom brigade Besvärjelsen with Atlas, and the fourth LP from Oslo, Norway’s solo blackgaze project Sylvaine, with Nova.