King Woman bandleader Kristina Esfandiari grew up in what she's called a "Charismatic Christian cult," where she was encouraged to sing during services in a soft, angelic voice. After she moved to the Bay Area, though, she discovered a husky, cathartic howl, and started using it to unlearn and reject her childhood indoctrination. As she explained in a 2015 profile, Esfandiari had been taught to consider screaming demonic. Then suddenly it helped her feel free.
Esfandiari started King Woman as a solo outlet in 2009 (she also releases music as Miserable), and the group has since evolved into a celebrated doom-metal foursome, boasting releases through esteemed purveyors of heavy Relapse and Flenser records. Last year's Created in the Image of Suffering full-length cemented King Woman's crossover appeal to metal and indie audiences. Esfandiari's experience with spiritual disenchantment, along with her riveting purge-through-performance approach to stage presence, make King Woman a fitting headliner for Halloween at the Starline Social Club, on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The show, which costs $15-18 and begins at 8pm, also features openers Lingua, MSC and Mane.