Feb 082012

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 »

Feb 042012

January ended four days ago, so it’s past time for our usual monthly round-up of news about forthcoming albums. I have to confess that this list is even more spotty and sporadically assembled than usual — which is saying something. Various distractions prevented me from keeping a sharp eye out for news about new releases, so I have no doubt this list is incomplete.

Here’s how this round-up usually works: In these METAL IN THE FORGE posts, I collect news blurbs and press releases I’ve seen over the last month about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like at NCS (including occasional updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know their music yet. In this series, I cut and paste those announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

Remember — THIS ISN’T A CUMULATIVE LIST. If we found out about a new forthcoming album earlier than the last 30 days, we probably wrote about it in previous installments of this series. So, be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported earlier. For example, on this list you won’t see such notable releases as the forthcoming albums from Meshuggah, Enthroned, Unleashed, Psycroptic, Goatwhore, Asphyx, Naglfar, or Autopsy, because we’ve mentioned them elsewhere. Or at least I think we did.

Having said all that, please feel free to leave Comments and tell all of us what I missed when I put this list together. Let us know about albums on the way that  you’re stoked about, even if you don’t see them here! Continue reading »

Dec 052011

In an effort to make up for inflicting Amaranthe on you in today’s first post, I’m going to spend the rest of the day serving up female-fronted metal that’s more in line with our tastes here at NCS. We’ve run features on female growlers in the past, and I’m not going to repeat any of that. Instead, today’s mini-series will focus on bands who we’ve never mentioned before on this site. Coincidentally, I’ve learned about all of them over just the last 30 days. At least musically, I’d honeymoon with any of them over Amaranthe.

This first one I discovered only this morning. This South Florida band is called Wykked Wytch, and their vocalist is a chick who calls herself Ipek. Wykked Wytch has recently signed with Goomba Music for the release of their fifth full-length album (scheduled to hit the streets on February 14) called The Ultimate Deception. A press release describes the music as “a unique mixture of black, death, thrash metal with melody, technicality, and aggression.”

The album was recorded at Lambesis Studios in San Diego, it was mastered by Alan Douches, and it features Kevin Talley (Daath) as a session drummer. The album art is by Marcelo Vasco, who’s done work for lots of name bands including Dimmu Borgir and The Faceless — and it’s a fucken eye-catcher. In fact, it’s the first thing you’ll see after the jump. Continue reading »