A Queer Metalhead look at Sex Education, and Skywalker's Pride Anthem, on the latest Hell Bent for Metal
The new episode of Hell Bent for Metal begins with a look at the British teen-comedy-drama Netflix hit Sex Education - coming up on its fourth season - through a queer metalhead eye in the return of Living After Midnight. Tom and Matt start off by discussing the show itself and their praise for it, through its humor and with to its mature and emotional storytelling and character development. They then take a look at the show's vast representation of an array of characters from all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and note how well their experiences are shown, whilst not being the only facet of their character.
There's chat on how the hosts would have related to the students of Moordale Secondary School, and encouragement that acceptance of queer youth seems to have progressed a lot since either of the guys were at school. It's also noted how impressive it is that the show has managed to show different aspects of sexuality and gender as both okay but also sometimes confusing to people outside of that circle - how people often have to take a journey to understand people for who they are, but as long as they are trying and learning, that's okay too.
Tom and Matt finish up by talking about how them being metal fans submerged in the culture affected - or didn't affect - their watching and relating to the show. Tom looks back on his experiences of his friend groups at school being made up of metalheads, punks and others from alternative culture, and thus finds those type's lack of appearance in the show a more foreign concept, and less understandable from a personal perspective as a result. Matt on the other hand, from his, much bigger, school featuring barely anyone from an alternative scene, and him being less a traditional metalhead himself, found the characters much easier to recognise and empathise with.
After that, this week's Camp Classic comes from Czech hardcore/metalcore outfit Skywalker, with their song 'Justify Me' from their 2021 record Late Eternity. Matt had always felt a very strong connection to this song through its lyrics, and was fully prepared to bring his own meaning on to the show, before he discovered the day before recording that the song is genuinely an ode to the queer community by the band. Tom finds no trouble in seeing exactly the same message through both the song's lyrics and music video, and both hosts appreciate how vocal the band have been in their no-bullshit approach to calling out homophobes.
The guys discuss how the song essentially outlines a journey from confusion and self-hatred for being queer, through self-acceptance and coming out, all the way to pride in oneself for being a true self. Tom and Matt are impressed by how well the band - none of whom are known to be queer themselves - have completely hit on some experiences that most queer folks will be all too familiar with, and the hosts themselves reminisce on their own journeys to where they are now. There's also a conversation about how a certain kind of partner can sometimes be just what someone needs to learn to love themself, and about the importance of allyship from cis-het people.
This week's Hate Crew Gay Bar additions come in the form of the new LP from Pittsburgh, PA's metallic hardcore troupe 156/Silence, Narrative, and the latest album from Methuen, MA's alt-metal veterans Cave In, Heavy Pendulum.