The two are an interesting contrast to each other. The stunningly beautiful Saiz's makeup-free look differs from Valentine's more feminine, vixeny appearance. Where Saiz is tall and laid-back, Valentine is smaller and has an explosive personality. Neither conforms to the metal world's dated female stereotypes of sexed-up suicide girl or androgynous tomboy.

These stereotypes dissolved in the '90s for the most part — those pesky "sexiest women in metal" lists that still pop up notwithstanding — and they are especially not a major problem historically within Shroud Eater's doom/sludge/stoner musical style of choice. For instance, genre notables Boris, Electric Wizard, and the Melvins all featured women at one point.

But this more welcoming environment doesn't mean Shroud Eater doesn't deal with harassment. A recent tourmate reportedly asked Valentine and Saiz if they "scissor," and during the show in Orlando, a persistent heckler made Valentine so uncomfortable that she turned her back to the crowd. In a happy moment of XX solidarity, a female audience member got into said sexist heckler's face, which resulted in his removal from the venue.

Say, whaddaya think she means by that hand gesture?
Chris Bellus
Say, whaddaya think she means by that hand gesture?

"Yeah, she got in his face and flicked his cap off. It was awesome," Valentine recalls, laughing.

"I don't think [being a woman] is a hindrance," she continues, her tone taking a more sober turn. "But part of us, deep down inside, definitely push it more. You know, can we make it sound stronger or better. Because you really don't want to be a chump. We don't want someone to be able to say, 'These girls can't write a fucking song.' So yeah, we have to really take it to the next level where we are really thoroughly satisfied with what we put out. Nothing is worse than 'Not bad for a girl.' "

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