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Breaking Barriers: Women in Metal Music

Join us for an engaging panel discussion exploring the underrepresentation of women in the metal music scene and the path toward greater gender diversity and inclusivity. This discussion aims to shed light on the current status of female artists in metal and explore the challenges they face in breaking into this male-dominated industry. Are there just more men who are interested in playing metal, or do women need to work harder to prove themselves in the metal scene? You'll hear firsthand experiences and insights from musicians, as we delve into potential reasons for this gender disparity.

Topics of discussion will include cultural norms, the need to prove one’s musical talents and authenticity, the influence of networking and booking practices on gender imbalances, and the categorization of women through labels such as “female-fronted bands”. Is there a need for concrete strategies to foster a more inclusive and diverse metal community, and to empower and amplify women's voices in metal music?

Friday 29. March 13:00 - Room: Frognerparken


Mod: Nora Stemland // Inferno Music Conference (NO)

Previous attendees may recognize Nora as part of the crew behind IMC, which she joined in 2020. Here she primarily works with digital promotion through social media and the IMC website. Alongside her work at IMC, Nora is currently pursuing her master's degree in Equality and Diversity. Her research for her thesis is centered on examining gender roles within the Norwegian metal scene, with a specific focus on female performers. She has many years behind her in the cultural scene, both as an artist, organizer, and promoter. She self-released her first vinyl at 16, and has among other things been the leader of Bodø Metal Club organizing concerts in her hometown. Her primary musical pursuit is her solo project Strangerous, where she explores the borderland between noise, ambient, and contemporary. She advocates for pushing boundaries in different contexts, both artistically and in her work with equality. 

Heidi Withington Brink // Konvent (DK)

As the founder and bassist of the renowned death-doom band Konvent, Heidi also spearheads initiatives like Copenhell’s rock school for young girls and engages in band coaching to nurture emerging talent. Her advocacy extends to panel debates and school talks, promoting gender diversity and inspiring the next generation to embrace metal. Heidi’s multifaceted efforts not only spotlight the importance of inclusivity in metal but also guide new bands toward fostering a more welcoming music scene.


Agnete M. Kirkevaag // Madder Mortem (NO)

Agnete M. Kirkevaag is best known as a founding member, vocalist, and songwriter in prog veterans Madder Mortem, who just released their 8th album «Old Eyes, New Heart» to critical acclaim worldwide. With Madder Mortem, she’s toured and recorded since the 90s, and also co-produced the 2021 documentary on Madder Mortem and their story, «Howl of the Underdogs». As an active recording artist since the 90s, she’s also collaborated with numerous other artists, such as neo-classical legends Autumn Tears, and various bands and projects like Winds, Frantic Bleep, Nordagust, Connect The Circle and many more. As a live artist, she performs with many other projects, both within the rock/metal scene and in many other genres. She has an MA in literary translation and teaches English and Norwegian. She is also active in volunteer work in her local music scene, for which she was awarded the Willy Oftedal honorary award in 2022. 

Jessica Otten // Haliphron (NL)

Jessica Otten has spent the last fifteen years experiencing it inside out, both as a recording artist and as a PR. As a musician in Dictated, she got signed to Metal Blade and did several tours with them, including to far-out rarely visited countries like Nepal and India. Their last album was entirely self-produced, self-released, and self-distributed, an experience that made a lasting impression on her. So while still musically active (she’s currently involved with the band Haliphron) she’s also been moving up the ladder, working at Season Of Mist European office in the Netherlands as a promo agent, and later Head of PR, from 2016 to 2023. You could easily think then that she has her plate full, wouldn’t you? Wrong. Instead of resting on her laurels, Jessica has decided to use everything she’s learned to forge her own path and use this for the benefit of artists she firmly believes in. Hence her decision to start her very own PR company, Future Cult PR!

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Rikke Karlsen // Dwaal (NO)

Rikke is a founding member and guitarist of Spellemann/Norwegian Grammy award nominee Dwaal, a long-time fixture of the Norwegian heavy underground scene. For the past decade, Rikke has been a conveyor of music as a guitar teacher, DJ, writer, record store employee, and co-host of the radio show “Doom Di Doom” on slow and heavy music.

Having been an active musician for two decades, Rikke went through a series of band projects before Dwaal saw the light of day in 2014. She has been a metalhead for even longer, growing up as a music nerd making scrapbooks of guitarists, teaching herself to play through a pile of Total Guitar Magazine tabs and backing tracks of metal classics.

Rikke cares deeply about inclusivity and diversity, particularly within the metal scene. Her own experiences with being an outsider has sparked an extraordinary dedication to these values, and in her experience, playing the guitar has been a gateway to inclusion.

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