Let’s be honest: women vocalists in extreme metal are still a curiosity. I’m referring to women whose vocals range from bestial growls to blood-curdling shrieks, not the ones who sing pretty in folk metal bands or outfits like Nightwish and Epica. Of course, as soon as you step outside the extreme-metal-loving world, dudes who sing harsh are curiosities, too. Fuck, in that outside world, so are all of us. But within our world, it’s the female growlers who are the novelties.
What makes them a curiosity isn’t that they can do it well, it’s that they can do it at all. And so some fans get overly excited about women vocalists whose vocals really aren’t all that great. On the other hand, because metal is a male-dominated culture, good female vocalists are also the victims of prejudice — the kind of judgmental pomposity that proclaims there’s no place for a woman in the front of an extreme metal band. Consider those two phenomena together and you reach the conclusion that it’s damned tough for a woman’s vocals to be considered for what they are, on the merits, divorced from who’s delivering them.
Maybe the day will arrive when everyone becomes gender-blind in judging metal vocalists, but human biology and male-female relationships being what they are, I doubt it. Fuck, I’m as susceptible to the curiosity effect as anyone else. Why else do you think I’m writing this post?
What I’ve collected here are four new songs or videos by female-fronted extreme metal bands: Landmine Marathon (U.S.), Wykked Wytch (U.S.), and Izegrim (The Netherlands). Continue reading »