Malefica: the witch as restorative feminism in matrifocal black metal performance

Jasmine Hazel Shadrack, Stanimir Panayotov (Editor), Daniel Lukas (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Through my performance as Denigrata Herself in my black metal band Denigrata, something ‘other’ has been advancing in parallel with my on-stage persona. She has made herself known in our perichoresis or total artwork , through our promotional pictures, artwork, and videos. Whilst I had no a priori desire or conceptualisation to create Denigrata Herself in these terms, she has evolved this way nonetheless, birthing herself through me in defiant and emancipating glory. Denigrata Herself is a witch, a patriarchally loathed female archetype who embodies freedom of will, sexual desire and power. Witchcraft as a matrifocal ritual practice has developed, particularly for Denigrata Herself and Manea (keys and vocals), into a feminist strategy of resistance that places the women in Denigrata as role makers who ‘evolve [performance] strategies which “consume” their own biases as they expose and erode those of the dominant discourse’ . Denigrata Herself and Manea’s embodiment of the witch archetype on stage and in our perichoresis uses witchcraft as restorative feminism within black metal, subverting its juridical conservatism and masculinity from inside its dominant discourse by positioning women at the front. This does not mean that troublesome term ‘female-fronted’ which I personally loathe because the expectations are that this is either dealt with as a selling point or it is generally accepted that the band will be an aberration against the excellence of male musical practice (see the works of Dawes, L; Hill, R; Leonard, M; Weinstein, D); conversely it means women are active in all parts of the band and performance. In all honesty, being a woman in black metal means we need feminist witchcraft because not only does it arm us, it protects us against problematic engagements with patriarchy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBlack Metal Rainbows
Place of PublicationCanada
PublisherP M Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-1629638812
ISBN (Print)1629638811
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Aug 2017


  • Black metal
  • rainbows
  • witchcraft
  • feminism
  • restoration


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