Homepage / MusicWorld / Svalbard’s Serena Cherry on Underground Metal’s Enduring Gender Bias
The Top 10 Comments on the Lords of Chaos Trailer For Those About to Squawk: Horrisonous, Ravenous Death, Vesication Watch: 10:13 – ‘Conduit Closing’ Video Premiere: Dead Register – ‘Captive’ Track Premiere: Blodskam – ‘Bödel’ Tales From the Metalnomicon: Soundtrack to the “Zombie Punks Fuck Off”-alypse Photographer Alyssa Herrman Discusses New YOB Book Track Premiere: Chainbreaker – ‘Lethal Desire’ Track Premiere: A Novelist – ‘Tombeau’ Maximum Rocknroll Announces End of Print Publication Interview with Bloody Invasion Full Album Stream: Spillage – “Blood of Angels” Wolves in the Throne Room, The Ruins of Beverast and more announced for Fire in the Mountains Interview with Bless the Dead Track Premiere: Breaking Wheel – ‘Torment of Flesh’ Rotting Out Release New Song, “Reaper” Interview with Voidhaven Track Premiere: Judiciary – ‘War (Time is Nigh)’ WAKE Announce Spring Tour Track Premiere: Vimur – ‘Seditious Apertures’ Track Premiere: Imha Tarikat – ‘III-III: Imha Tarikatı (Sect of Destruction)’ Track Premiere: Thetan – ‘Null and Void’ High on Fire Cancel Electric Messiah 2019 Tour Due to Medical Issues For Those About to Squawk: Woorms, Oomph! Limited Decibel Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles Merch Now Available! Ossuarium Unleashes a “Blaze of Bodies” on Upcoming Debut Album Demo:listen: Caustic Vomit Death Fortress Continues Their Unending Reign Demo:listen: Lathliss Gift Subscriptions, Decibel Tour and Metal & Beer Fest Tickets for Christmas? Dimlight – new triple concept album is released, under the main title of “Kingdom of Horrors” OSDM Outfit Brutality Re-record Classic Songs for ‘Antecedent Offerings’ 5 Albums to Look Forward to in 2019 Carcass Watain KILL ALL THE GENTLEMEN Release New Official Video For ‘Sing For Me Sinner’ Hypnotheticall – launch lyric video for “Industrial Memories” Track Premiere: Yidhra – ‘Fuck Christmas’ (Fear Cover) No Corporate Beer: Thinking Hard About the Weather Cocoa Porter Track Premiere: INTRCPTR – ‘Dusted’ Holy Mountain Printing Launch Shirt to Benefit Pat O’Brien STEELAWAKE Release Official Video For ‘Hot Mess’ Food for Thought: Brainoil Discuss First Album in Seven Years DARK MIRROR OV TRAGEDY Reveal New Official Video From Forthcoming Album Album Review: Create a Kill – “Summoned to Rise” Interview with Sectlinefor Serbian Progressive Metal Group DEAD FROG join Sliptrick records CYANIDE SUNDAE Release New Official Video & Single From The Upcoming Album ‘Blinded Generation’ Black/Death Powerhouse HISS FROM THE MOAT Unveils Video For Title Track Of New Album ‘The Harrier’ Track Premiere: Surachai – ‘Empress of the Starved Lung’ Reapter to release new album “Blasted” in 2019 via Revalve records Track Premiere: Vile Apparition – ‘Malevolent Aphantasia’ US Melodic Death Metal Group BLOOD OF ANGELS Join Sliptrick records FETOR / CREPITATION “Onset Of Horrendosity” to be released on January 25th 2019 by Deformeathing Production Full Album Stream: Squalus / Shadow Limb – “Mass and Power” Watch: Gaerea – ‘Absent’ The Workhorse Chronicles: Matron Thorn Track Premiere: Restless Spirit – ‘Ripped From Me’ Full EP Stream: Demonbreed – “Hunting Heretics” Carved to release their 3rd imposing new album Thanatos on February 15th via Revalve Records Mechanical God Creation sign to Goatmancer Records Track Premiere: Musmahhu – ‘Spectral Congregation of Anguish’ MALUM SKY Release New Official Video For ‘Diatribe’ And Announce Album Pre-Order MASSFACE Release New Official Video For The Track ‘Blackwater’ Interview with DIE ENTWEIHUNG Full Album Stream: Adaestuo “Krew Za Krew” No Corporate Beer: Bicycle Kick Russian Metalcore Electronic Group BRIGHTDELIGHT signs with Sliptrick records Interview with Onydia HECATE ENTHRONED Unveils New Song ‘Temples That Breathe’ For Those About to Squawk: Necrosleezer, Blood Feast, Defy the Curse Track Premiere: Olkoth – ‘Imperfect Reanimation’ Veil of Conspiracy “Me, Us and Them” to be released on February 8th via Revalve Records ANCIENT OAK CONSORT – release lyric video for “The Race” Full Album Stream: Tuskar – “The Tide, Beneath, The Wall” Full EP Stream: Deathkings – “Ex Nihilo” Watch: Inoculation – ‘Loss of Esoteric Profoundness’ The Workhorse Chronicles: Rogga Johansson Symphonic Metal/Folk The Mexican Way CABRAKAÄN Join Sliptrick recs Video Premiere: Depravity – ‘Despondency’ Full Album Stream: Goats of Doom – “Rukous” Odium records launch Pre-Order of the Black Altar’s re-edition of “Suicidal Salvation” Interview with Tragodia Canadian Alternative Metal Group DOAN join Sliptrick Records Full Album Stream: Ichor – “Hadal Ascending” Track Premiere: Varego – ‘The Abstract Corpse’ Symphonic Goth Rock Band LIPSHOK CD ‘To Haunt a Quiet Realm’ Interview with GC Project Interview with Bad Bullet NEW HORIZONS – launch new lyric video for “Borderlands Pt.2” Mourn at Obliteration’s Obscure Cenotaph Video Premiere: Vane – ‘Mutiny’ A Little Doom And A Whole Lot Of Heavy Metal – Meet CIRCLE OF WITCHES HECATE ENTHRONED – release new album ‘Embrace Of The Godless Aeon’ on January Onydia – launch preview and tracklist of “Reflections” Interview with Project Infinity in memoriam: Erik Lindmark (Deeds of Flesh/Unique Leader) Watch: Huntsmen – ‘Atlantic City’ NALE (SE) hits the Baltics in March 2019 HECATE ENTHRONED – release new album ‘Embrace Of The Godless Aeon’ on January

Svalbard’s Serena Cherry on Underground Metal’s Enduring Gender Bias

Serena Cherry is the guitarist/vocalist of English metal band Svalbard. Recently Decibel asked her to write a guest editorial about her experiences as a woman in the underground metal scene.

“Nice boobs.”

You’ve spent 15 years teaching yourself how to play guitar. Seven years touring with your band. Two years working on your latest album. The debut video from your new album finally goes up online. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and determination. It’s your precious all screaming, all shredding baby—how will the public react?

“Nice boobs.”

Really? Yup.

Nice. Boobs. That is one of the first comments on our new music video.

Guys, I’m blushing. What an absolute honor. I spent years of effort working on these mammary glands. We mic’-ed them up real good in the studio. So glad to see the hard work is paying off. Finally, I am being appreciated for something I have no control over.

But… it’s a compliment, they cry! Can’t you be a little more appreciative when you’re being objectified? As a female musician, you should be grateful to be reduced to a sex symbol!

Because as a woman, nothing you do means anything unless you do it… sexily, right?

Metalheads, I’m disappointed—are you really that reductionist? One of the things that drew me to metal in the first place was how it appeared to be the antithesis of shallow pop culture. It seemed, to the impressionable young me, that metal didn’t give a flying fuck about appearances. Who cares if you’re ugly, obese or covered in scars—this community is all about the music. Metal does not concern itself with such frivolities as conventional attractiveness.

Then, over the years, something horrible started sinking in—a daunting realization. There appeared to be one condition of entry to this subcultural haven. Everything was totally cool and welcome in metal… so long as you’re a guy.

Any new male entering the local metal scene was automatically treated with respect. If they played an instrument, musicians would snap them up for a jam in an instant. Newly-converted metal dudes were never subject to grilling or suspicion. They were ushered in like brothers.

I was 14 when I went to my first local metal gig. I found a high-contrast black and white flyer in a second -hand record shop. It depicted band logos spikier than Wayne Static’s hair. Intrigued, I headed down to the dive bar on my own. I didn’t know anyone else who liked metal, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. As I go to pay the promoter the entry fee, he stops and gives me an unimpressed look.

“Why are you here?”

I’m sorry. What?

Why are you here—are you looking for your boyfriend?”

No. I came to check out the bands.

He laughed. He took my money. And he laughed right in my face.

Ladies: Welcome to the othered world of metal. Where you will forever be dismissed. Where you will forever be doubted and accused of “only liking it to impress the guys.” Where strangers will question your right to be at a gig or to wear a certain band t-shirt.

Do you actually even like Darkthrone or are you just wearing the t-shirt?” Hey dingus, last time I checked, 99.9% of people wear the merchandise of things that they like! It’s almost like that’s the entire POINT of band t-shirts—to show your love. Not to make you open for questioning on WHETHER you are a fan or not. Or does the logo say YES but the boobs inside the shirt say NO?

Where does this suspicious attitude towards women in metal come from? How exactly, does our sex betray our passion for the music? Why can’t metalheads get their head around the notion that women are capable of forming their own cultural tastes? Ladies don’t just like something because you do. Please stop attributing devious motivations behind our wearing of band merch.

We’re not ALL trying to get into David Vincent’s pants, you know.

I digress. Soon after being so heartily discouraged at my first metal gig, I felt doors to the metal community slam shut in my face at regular intervals. No one wanted to jam with me because they couldn’t believe I could play guitar. I resorted to making my own records with a four track and a drum machine. Years later, when a small independent label heard these recordings, they offered to release them, “if I used no photos of myself and adopted a stage name that didn’t sound like a girl.”

And on I waded, against droves of doubters. All the while, my love of metal ironically keeping me going against the grain that was the bullshit metal community. I simply refused to believe that this bold, impassioned musical genre which I adored could bear such an exclusionist attitude.

Eventually I plucked up the courage to audition band members for my four-track solo project. When explaining to a potential bassist that I wrote all the music, he shouted, aghast, in my face “Who do you think you are, Mikael Åkerfeldt?!

Still my favorite insult to this day. How very dare I be creative and in control.

Trent Reznor, Tobias Sammett, Tuomas Holopainen—they’re allowed to be one-man musical masterminds; but a one-woman musical project? Well, that’s simply out of the question. Now years have passed since the Åkerfeldt incident, and things seem to be getting better. But I still have one question for the metal world: Why?

Why, in 2018, are you still making it so hard on female musicians? Why are you so discouraging to female fans? In what way does our presence detract from the music? Why the fuck does it matter if a musician has “nice boobs?”

We’re not here to ruin things so there’s no need for all this defensive hostility. We are here to share a passion for heavy riffs without being excluded, objectified and made to feel unwelcome. We love and respect this music. Now it’s time to love and respect us.

Svalbard’s new LP, It’s Hard to Have Hope, is out May 25 via Translation Loss. Pre-order it here

The post Svalbard’s Serena Cherry on Underground Metal’s Enduring Gender Bias appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Svalbard’s Serena Cherry on Underground Metal’s Enduring Gender Bias
Svalbard’s Serena Cherry on Underground Metal’s Enduring Gender Bias
Decibel