I'm sick of Revolver's "Hottest Chicks In Metal" issues. I'm sick of MetalSucks telling us about the newest female-fronted metalcore/deathcore/whateverfuckingcore band (no offense, guys). I'm sick of the hipster-metal dude who forces his hipster-metal girlfriend to join his band at gunpoint. It seems like everyone is trying to give big ups to girls in metal, but doing it by either cramming them into lingerie or talking down to them. I call bullshit.
Today we'll take a tour of who I consider to be the finest ladies in metal, and by "fine" I don't mean "hott" (although that term might also apply in some cases). I mean talented. Brutal. Dedicated. Awesome.
No, I'm not talking about you. Or you. Or that chick from Mayhem.
I'm not talking about false shit like Lacuna Coil or Bleeding Through or Evanescence or that chick from Winds of Plague who put pictures of her boobs on the internet. I'm not talking about Otep Shamalamadingdong or that psuedo-rockabilly chick from In This Moment. I'm not even talking about Arch Enemy.
I'm talking about motherfucking Girlschool, the Motorhead of girl bands. I'm talking about Jo Bench, keeping it real in Bolt Thrower since '87. I'm talking about the ridiculous shredding of The Great Kat*.
Women playing REAL FUCKING METAL. The good stuff.
I'm not here to talk sexual politics. Is it sexist for me to even call attention to the gender divide in the metal scene? Am I too sensitive to this kind of stuff from living in the Bay Area for too long? Who cares?
I just want to take a little time to give a virtual high-five to all the ladies kicking ass in the metal world, carrying the banner forth into a bold new age of heavy metal equality. Below you will find a list of 25 underappreciated bands, all of whom are either fronted by women or in some way populated by them. Depending on how metal/internet literate you are, you may have heard of all, some, or none of these bands. Deal with it.
I've included links where appropriate, for furtherance of research. Enjoy.
(Before you start, go back and download the Females In Extreme Metal compilation. It is the soundtrack to this post.)
1) SCARY BEAR
All-girl instrumental thrash from Seattle. Camellia posted about them here. What she didn't mention is that one of the chicks in Scary Bear is Charles Bronson's daughter. Like, FOR REAL. METAL CRED AS FUCK. (Myspace)
Stony, psychedelic, rocking doom metal from Savannah, Georgia. They're blowing up right now, you've probably already heard them. (Myspace / Last.FM)
Our very own Seanford plays drums in this band. Former Playmate Jill belts out metal vocals over crazy Professor shred (Side note: The Professor guys don't play on the Huntress Myspace songs). Without giving anything away, let me just say this: You will be hearing A LOT MORE about Huntress in the near future (and not from me). (Myspace)
4) RUNHILD GAMMELSAETER (THORR'S HAMMER/KHLYST)
Runhild (left) first crushed skulls at the tender age of 17, when she travelled to Seattle from Norway as an exchange student. There she met up with Stephen O'Malley to form the ridiculously heavy (but ridiculously short-lived) Thorr's Hammer. Her gutteral take on doom metal vocals instantly blew EVERYONE'S mind, but she quickly disappeared back to Norway. She later resurfaced in James Plotkin's experi-metal Khlyst, but devotes most of her time to the development of autologous cell-based therapeutics working for a genetic research firm. Dang.
PS: I first heard Thorr's Hammer on the aforementioned Women In Extreme Metal compilation over a decade ago. Such is the case with the next five bands listed as well.
Corinne van der Brand has been rocking bass and vocals in this crippling death metal band since 19-fucking-89 (!). From the Netherlands, the most metal place in the world. (Myspace / Last.FM)
Why haven't you heard of France's half-female black thrash troop Witches? Is it because you suck? Or is it because their name is nearly un-Googleable? (Myspace)
7) NOVEMBER GRIEF
All-girl death metal four-piece, again discovered on the F.I.E.M. compilation. Unbelievably fucking brutal. Almost impossible to track down recordings, but you can dl their demo here. (Myspace - lots of good video.)
Pre-Kylesa crust-grind topped off by the eclectic and severe vocal stylings of one Victoria Scalisi. Look for more Damad on IC soon... (Myspace / Last.FM)
Last band to be featured here that I discovered on F.I.E.M. Downtuned, Star Wars-obsessed doom from the South Bay, featuring the insane percussive assault of a little lady named Chiyo. Get their (sort-of) greatest hits collection Erode The Person here. (Myspace / Last.FM)
10) ORB OF CONFUSION
Speaking of the Bay Area, did everyone already get that Orb of Confusion demo I put up here last November? I hope so.
Orb featured Brooklyn native (and my good Bro) Laurie on bass and vocals, although she left shortly after the demo was released. What did she do after, you ask? Well...
11) SERPENT CROWN
Laurie hooked up with singer/guitarist Dara from Santhai to form Serpent Crown. Will Carroll from every SF metal band ever joined on drums. Sadly, since the formation of Serpent Crown, Laurie up and moved to L.A., where I'm sure she'll be starting up something new very soon. Serpent Crown is still rocking, with a different bass player. (Myspace)
On with the SF bands...
12) MANSLAUGHTER (DALTON)
What can I say about Manslaughter? She's one of my bestest Bros, and the metal-est chick I know. Not only does she handle bass duties in Dalton, but she also plays in a new freak-rock ensemble known as Dutch Windmill as well as occasionally dressing up as Xena Warrior Princess to front Warriors of the Snake Pit. She even took on the Eric Adams persona when Dalton became WOMANOWAR for one show (right). And look, she just started a Blogger account! Not long before she's writing for IC...
Encyclopaedia Metallum says "Blackened Progressive Death/Thrash Metal", which I guess sort of covers it. Guitarist/vocalist Leila Abdul-Rauf totally reminded me of a female Chuck Schuldiner the first time I had the Saros experience. Their drummer's name is Blood Eagle. I see him in Trader Joe's sometimes. (Myspace / Last.FM)
14) HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE/UNHOLY CADAVER
Previous IllCon posts have this covered: Hammers of Misfortune / Unholy Cadaver.
Another mega-stony SF-based doom metal thing, Tarrakian (left) features a mega-stony chick named Kelsey on bass and vocals. Did I mention that they're pretty stony? (one look at their Myspace page will confirm it.)
Being based in San Francisco, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain exactly HOW BIG a local band has gotten. But I'm pretty sure everyone already knows about Ludicra. (Myspace / Last.FM)
Elsewhere in the world...
17) DANA DUFFEY (MYTHIC/DEMONIC CHRIST)
Dana Duffey (right) has been keeping it real, death/black metal style, since 1991. First with all-girl three-piece Mythic (Myspace / Last.FM) and then with Satanic warriors Demonic Christ (Myspace / Last.FM). Check her out. Dana is NOT fucking around.
Kick-ass thrash/grind/HC out of Brooklyn, fronted by Peter's homegirl Chloe Puke. Absolutely fucking FACE-MELTING. (Myspace / Last.FM)
I only know about Sargatanas because of Aesop's writeup about their demo tape on Cosmic Hearse. But c'mon, all-girl teenage death metal from Russia? What's not to like?
Similarly, all I know about all-girl Florida death-metallers Demonomancy I learned from this post on Metal Inquisition. It's pretty much all I need.
21) HELL HATH NO FURY
Female-fronted thrash/mosh from L.A., recently shared a bill with them in SF.
Their cover of "Caught In A Mosh" rocked my fucking balls off. (Myspace)
Another killer crust/grind band hailing from Seattle. See previous IC post here. (Myspace / Last.FM)
Another side project of Morbid Angel/Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan, except this time it's metal... Fronted by a female opera singer. See previous IC post here. (Myspace)
Space-themed sci-fi black metal that occasionally bursts out into full-on Disney-style musical numbers. Again, what's not to like? See previous IC post here. (Myspace / Last.FM)
Hot new Trappy Award (left)-winning, female-fronted, NWOBHM-esque four-piece out of Austin, Texas. First introduced to IC readers by Seanford back in January. This band kills.
In addition, I hear they read this blog now. Hi, guys. (Myspace / Last.FM)
Sweet metal bands that used to have chicks in them but don't anymore:
OPERA IX. SINISTER. GEHENNA (Norway). DEATHWITCH.
Not necessarily "metal" but still fucking awesome:
Submission Hold/Saké (see last post), Contropotere, Initial State, Tom Eyos Ki (thanks to abdul alhazred once again).
The Gorgeous Ladies of Japanese Avant Popgrind:
Semi-related IC post: 'COVER GRRLS'.
Ladies' Metal Resources Online:
Reign In Blonde
Stay Female Fronted, Because In Female Fronted We Trust!
For poseur chicks: How To Dress Metal (Girls) on WikiHow.
That can't possibly cover it. Who did I forget? Let me know in the 'Comments' section.
PS: It was my distinct honor to receive an honorary Bachelor's Degree of Letters from Miskatonic University last evening (see below). The degree was delivered by our own very female (and VERY METAL) Camellia sinensis. I am humbled.
* About The Great Kat: Does anyone remember when her publicity team was attempting to contact me almost a year ago? I never got a chance to relate the end of that story. It goes something like this...
Kat's sister (also her publicist) gets ahold of me, totally unsolicited, asking if I want to interview The Great Kat ("The Great"? "Ms. Kat"?). Of course I do. I tell her that. She says they will send me free stuff. Long story short, I spend hours constructing thoughtful, humorous questions which I then send off to Her Highness. SHE NEVER WROTE BACK and I never got any free stuff. What the fuck, The Great Kat?!?!