Experimental Metal - United States

Jarboe Band

Behold Mahakali, the great black goddess of ancient Hindu myth, ultimate reality, giver and taker of live, destroyer of demons and benevolent mother. Mahakali dances in bloodthirsty victory: her skin black, her eyes red, her tongue lolling, her eyes red with weapons drawn in her many hands and a garland of severed demon-heads hanging around her neck.

She, her voice rising into the air howling in triumph or keening in sympathy, who dares to tell? She is Mahakali, she is JARBOE. JARBOE, singer, performer, composer, lyricist, keyboard player, engineer, producer, and arranger returns with a meditation, exploration and even incarnation of the Hindu goddess of destruction, change and creation. Her enigmatic, visceral vocals miraculously shift from one avatar and aspect to an unexpected other. JARBOE’s repertoire includes a variety of voices from the shy schoolgirl to lascivious seductress to ancient demon. Her signature vocals are supported by burning, churning and droning guitars from Colin Marston and striking contributions by Josh Graham (Neurosis, Red Sparrows) and Dysrhythmia’s Kevin Hufnagel. Amalgamating Avant-garde Rock, epic-era Swans and Ambient/Noise references, the soundscape of “MAHAKALI” is further enhanced by orchestral instrumentation. JARBOE gathers an illuminate list of internationally acclaimed string-artists with violinist Kris Force (Amber Asylum) and cellist Julia Kent (Antony & The Johnsons) at the forefront. The rhythmic foundation is heavily lain by Vincent Signorelli’s (Unsane, ex-Swans) sensitive drumming and Cedric Victor’s driving bass-lines. Joining the all-star line-up with special vocal contributions are Philip Anselmo (Down, Superjoint Ritual, ex-Pantera) and the arch-priest of MAYHEM Attila Csihar.

JARBOE’s work in and outside of the legendary Swans has received international critical attention. Her musical explorations have led to select comparisons to other female musicians with regard for their success in penetrating the otherwise male-dominated “rock” subculture. JARBOE is featured in Andrea Juno’s groundbreaking book “Angry Women In Rock”, and Adele Olivia Gladwell’s women’s studies/cultural theory, “Catamania”. She has been included in numerous and various other editorials and books such as The Wire, New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out, Tip, Spex, People, LA Weekly, SF Weekly, Terrorizer UK, Rolling Stone, Art Papers, Outburn, Signal To Noise.

JARBOE’s recorded and performed projects produce only her unique energy. She draws from a variety of charged sources, from her early exposure to snake-handling revivals in the Mississippi delta, parents who were in the FBI, her participation in a lounge act, experimental performance in gallery & live radio settings, her critically acclaimed 14-year career with Swans doing worldwide concerts (clubs, theatres, festivals, live radio, TV). Her delivery can be at turns innocent, knowing, seductive and vitriolic – contained in melodic as well as experimental compositions. A primary objective for JARBOE is to close in on the gap in the audience/performer relationship via complete submission and vicarious experience through her performance.

JARBOE’s private agenda over the course of her life has been to fine tune endurance – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Through efforts in such disciplines as weight-lifting, kick boxing, mountain climbing, running, role-playing, studies in meditation and Buddhism, and her intense work with Swans, she has journeyed her body towards exhaustion specifically with the intent of rebuilding / reinventing identity and exploring the structure of persona.

JARBOE’s physical explorations into her subjects hardly reaches any limits. To get the message across she places equal importance to her artwork as to her music. The cover of “MAHAKALI” involves a physicality in an extreme portrayal of JARBOE as a significant part of her work. To embody the goddess she stared in rigidity for hours with severe black and red theatrical wound makeup on her face with her tongue thrust out to the point of the sensation of severing it from her body. To prepare for “The Men Album” (2005) JARBOE had her back tattooed with a dagger pierced Sufi heart and the three running legs of a triskele within. The path of MAHAKALI is dangerous and bloody. Do you dare to face the goddess?


  • Jarboe : Vocals, Keyboards, Sound textures
  • Cedric Victor : Bass
  • Colin Marston : Guitar
  • Kevin Hufnagel : Guitar
  • Josh Graham : Guitar
  • Vincent Signorelli : Drums
  • Jeff Eber : Drums
  • Julia Kent : Cello
  • Kris Force : Violin

This band is no longer active on Season of Mist.