by Stephanie Vossekuil
By unfortunate circumstance, I found myself in a goddamn Guitar Center in San Jose with my band [Folivore], looking for a Wah peddle last minute so we could finally record our full length which Wands (Sutekh Hexen, No Funeral) has offered to release on wax hopefully sometime in the next few months. I was actively trying to drown out the shitty Top 40 radio while simultaneously amused by the fact that the clerk (who was wearing a large tag attached to a lanyard around his neck that read “Pro-Coverage” like it was his fucking political stance) was trying to sell my guitarist coverage for an extra bullshit cost that he kept insisting he was not interested in paying.
At the magazine stand, there it was: Revolver’s “Hottest Chick’s in Hard Rock, 2011.” And I thought, “Fuck. Here we go again.” In 2010 I first came across this garbage, though it was the hottest chicks in “metal” at that time, and I of course wasn’t surprised. Most of the credibility women seem to acquire in this genre flooded with testosterone stems more from their good looks rather than the actual talent they bring to the table. I suppose this is evident in many facets of life, but as a woman involved in heavy music, I get particularly peeved by this brand of discrimination. Women like Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, Maria Brink of In This Moment, and Amy Lee of Evanescence were featured in full Maxim-esque spreads looking like models with clean, brightly-colored tats and heavy eye-makeup (which you too can replicate! Just go to Revolver’s site and click the link that will tell you how to achieve that mysterious, smokey eye). And after flipping through all the photos and feeling once again let down by society at large, I simply scoffed and funneled my anger into our recording session.
Yes, of course, these women are gorgeous, and even though most of their bands are total shit, it continues to amaze me how the main way they conjure up mass recognition is through disrobing for a photograph. I have personally come into contact with this type of exposure with articles reviewing our band reading, “Folivore’s hot female vocalist” or “Vossekuil is… More than mere eye-candy,” of course alluding to the point that women in general are firstly hot pieces of ass and secondly, noteworthy musicians. After all, how often do you read an article about a man in a metal band that even so much as mentions what he looks like (as if it fucking mattered)?
Alas, I digress and would like to use this time to acknowledge and celebrate genuinely brutal and amazing women in metal. This is just off the top of my head, and in no way encompasses all the awesome ladies that are growing in number in the extreme music scene, but I feel it is a valiant attempt at giving at least some of them the feedback they deserve.
1. Laura Pleasants of Kylesa (Guitars, Vocals)
This woman will drown you in a thick Savannah sludge and leave you begging for more.
2. Vivian Slaughter (Bass, Vocals) and Risa Reaper (Drums, Vocals) of Gallhammer
Nothing quite like two Japanese women pulling you down into the depths of hatred and despair with raw blackened doom.
3. Kanako (Bass), Makiko (vocals), Tomoko (drums), and Noriko (bass) of Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation
Disgusting and bludgeoning death grind from the metal sisters in Tokyo. Prepare to have your balls handed to you.
4. Runhild Gammelsaeter (vocals) of Thorr’s Hammer
This woman’s gutterals are the fabric of nightmares. Though they only released a demo and an exalted EP back in ’96, the resulting product was nothing short of legendary.
5. LunaLoca (bass), GypsyWitch (guitars, vocals), and BitchHammer (drums) of Grey
US doom band musically trudging through the bowels of paganism and magic.
6. Rachel (vocals) of False
This black metal band from Minneapolis released their first EP this year and it fucking rips. Nice to hear a woman with a truly cold and fitting black metal shriek.
7. Danielle (vocals) of Iskra
Joining this blackened crust project at the release of “Bureval” in 2009, Danielle and her grimey pipes conquer the shit out of your soul.
8. Stevie Floyd (vocals, guitars, and keyboards) of Dark Castle
This woman is totally my recent girlcrush. Dark Castle, who recently opened up for Yob in SF, was fucking amazing live, creating a stifling cloud of doom and gloom over the heads of us all.
9. Grace Perry (vocals) of Landmine Marathon
A Pheonix death thrash act that totally rips your tits off. I think this is the only woman on my list who actually fucking appeared in Revolver for the Hottest Chicks in Metal of 2010. Fuck that. But no one can deny her raw talent and I would feel remiss not to include her.
10. Amber Valentine (guitars, vocals) of Jucifer
Georgian sludge duo that always seems to come out with really interesting shit. Inventive music and good vocal range that will tear you up with ferocity and leave you feeling uneasy with haunting clarity.
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