HBFM explain why a Steel Panther song’s lyrics aren’t helpful to metal’s LGBTQ+ community, digs into the queer interpretation of an underrated British black metal tune, and puts albums from Knoll, Aeir, and Russian Circles into HCGBs.
The latest episode of Hell Bent for Metal sees the return of Harmony Corruption, where Tom and Matt look at something that someone in metal has done that is damaging to LGBTQ+ folk and discuss why. This time around, the lyrics to one of the biggest glam metal songs of the 21st century get looked at, in the form of ‘Death to All But Metal’ by LA’s Steel Panther, and it’s clear from the off why the queer community could have one or two issues with the song’s content and theme.
The song is pointing and laughing at gay people for being gay, and uses a slur which wouldn’t pass these days, and is presented in a parody way – there’s discussion on whether this would ever be okay, how to handle jokes on queer culture, and how, if that was Steel Panther’s intention here, they’ve missed the mark completely. Tom talks about how this song was yet another barrier keeping him coming out at the time when he was working in the metal industry, as the overt homophobia not only passed, but was encouraged.
The hosts also try to work out what the point of the song, and the ‘joke’, is, and why or how the band would continue to play the song night after night for over a decade. They also discuss how the crowd at those shows would feel about this sort of thing, and the industry at large – how the people at the top aren’t that great at holding people to account over less than helpful remarks or behavior, and how if a band is selling record, nearly anything goes.
Onto a much happier note, and this week’s Camp Classic comes in the form of ‘This Hollow Affliction’ by British euphoric black-metallers Asira, from their debut 2017 LP Efference. Matt puts forward his taking from the song from a queer perspective in the experience that a lot of the LGBTQ+ community will be familiar with – the period in life where it’s apparent that staying in the closet is perhaps doing more harm that it would be to burst out from it, but the anxiety and unknown is preventing that from happening, ensuing a state of limbo. He continues with picking out another couple lines in the song to detail the feeling of wanting to fast-forward to an easier time of being able to be oneself, but becoming used to the lie being lived.
Tom has his own thoughts and feelings on the song from a queer angle, on a more musical level, in that the key change towards the end of the song and the following swirling instrumentation and vocal could represent the joy and happiness that coming out can often bring, when the possibilities and life that has been hidden away for years is finally free to be lived in full. This signals the end of the journey of the song, through the pain and hardships to a sense of bliss and euphoria (albeit still with some struggles), and it’s a take-away that Matt’s interpretation would also end with, so surprisingly the hosts come to the same destination, just through a different route.
The new-look Hate Crew Gay Bar has three entries this week, with Matt bringing in the second full-length from Memphis, Tennessee’s grindcore troupe Knoll, Metempiric, and Tom selecting both Vol. I: A Frith Befouled, the debut LP from the UK/US sludge collective AEIR, and the eighth album from post-metal masters Russian Circles, Gnosis.