It is not a particularly big secret that I am infatuated with metal bands that have female singers. Yes, in my mythology, the Sirens have tattoos and growl and scream. It seems rather obvious. I love metal. I love women. But it is deeper than that. I myself am rather weird compared to normal men in that I am very much attracted to intelligent strong women. It is why I am pretty much destined to die alone. (I am ignoring the fact that I am a creepy recluse for the moment) No woman who actually has thoughts and even a tiny bit of self esteem would put up with my shit. I’ve come to accept this. I realize I will be spending the rest of my life jerking off to dreams of some tattooed beauty yelling at me and punching me in the mouth, then crying myself to sleep from the shame and humiliation. This will all probably eventually come to an end from me leaving my studded belt wrapped around my throat too tight, for too long. So at least the misery shouldn’t be drawn out too long.
But I’ve spent enough time talking about myself. I barely care about myself as it is, I don’t expect any of you to care as well.
Heavy metal by its very nature is powerful brutal music. Because of that metal is quite often considered “masculine” music. All you have to do to understand this is to go see a good metal band live. The last show I seen was Amon Amarth, a couple years ago, at The Rave . It was exactly what you would expect from a metal show. A sea of long haired Viking looking men wearing black Tshirts. There were like 10 women in the whole place, and they were clearly the angry pissed off girlfriends of guys at the show. They mostly just sat there with a “I’m gonna cut your dick off when we get home for this” look on their faces.
This is what makes the female lead singer thing even more interesting to me. Because the lead singer is the “frontman” of a band, they very typically become the face of the band. Because metal is a strong powerful music, the women are pretty much required to take on a strong tough persona. They could be dainty little flowers off the camera for all I know. But on stage, or in front of the camera, they are strong powerful women. Because of this I am drawn to them like a moth to a bug zapper.
Sometimes this fascination has been to my detriment. For example, let us look at The Agonist.
If ever there was it Trojan Horse in metal it was The Agonist. Being the naturally skeptical man that I am, I know not to trust a pretty face. When I walked into Ear Wax and picked up The Agonist I needed to convince myself a good reason to purchase the CD. So I looked at the rest of the band and it was a bunch of long hairs wearing black. No emo hair cuts or skinny women’s jeans on men. This band had potential. (At least that was what I was telling myself.) In the end you and I both know that I only bought the album for the hot chick with blue hair and skimpy gothy clothing. When I got home and put the album on, it was exactly what you would expect from a band who’s only marketable feature was “That band with the really hot lead Singer”. It had one or two listenable songs and the rest was mostly garbage.
Oh well, lesson learned. Besides, if I remember correctly, Alissa White-Gluz was a proud PETA supporter. How badass can you actually be without eating meat? Fuck The Agonist!
But having a female lead doesn’t just have to be a marketing tool for mediocre music. Arch Enemy has a female lead singer and are quite fucking awesome at the same time.
To be fair, Arch Enemy didn’t start out with a woman on vocals, and their record sales did pick up with her addition. But Angela Gossow isn’t what makes Arch Enemy fucking awesome. The guitar duo of Michael and Christopher Amott is what makes this band great.
But even more interesting is women taking the helm in Brutal Death Metal bands. I give you Cerebral Bore.
When I first heard these guys, the guy writing the review described her vocals as “Live pigs being thrown into a garbage disposal”. I can’t be the the only man turned on a little bit knowing those sounds are coming from the throat of a nineteen year old Dutch chick. Hell, I bet there is as least one woman sitting there looking like Al Bundy at the sound of those vocals. Sadly Som Pluijmers left the band after only one album. I hope to hear from her again.
The truth is, when it comes to metal, vocals and lyrics are largely irrelevant. Whether it is a man or a woman holding the microphone it does not matter. Metal was birthed from the downtuned guitars of Tony Iommi and has largely been a guitar driven music since then. The fact that a genre like Death Metal even exists should be all the proof that you need. But allow me one more example. There is probably one song more than any that is famous for its lyrics. I am of course referring to Slayer’s “Angel of Death“. Even people who hate Slayer know the first two lines to this song. (Auschwitz, the meaning of pain. The way that I want you to die.) Now think about that song. If Tom Araya was actually singing lyrics interchangeable with any cheesy 80’s ballad, but still occasionally yelling ANGEL OF DEATH, would the song really be any less brutal? Fuck no. Why? Because the lyrics and vocals really are irrelevant.
That being said I hope even more women take the helm of even more metal bands. I hope it will inspire more women to get into metal. Metal is still for the most part a sausage fest and needs more women in it. If their music sucks at least they’ll probably still sucker in the next generation of creepy socially awkward metalheads to buy their shitty albums.