Today marks the end to yet another Women’s History Month and I thought a great way to end the month would be to highlight some serious girl power that is found in my favorite music genre – metal. Yes, the metal community is predominately male, with women treated as a novelty meant to be seen and not heard, but women continue to make their mark in spite of it all, from leading bands to even being the subject of songs.
So here are just 5 songs sung by (and in one instance about) metal queens that I have had on repeat for most of this month that have inspired as well as motivated me. I know that metal is not everyone’s thing but I invite you to turn your volume up and rock out a bit. \m/><\m/
1. Roots by In This Moment
American gothic metal band, In This Moment and their lead singer Maria Brink are my current obsessions. (Honestly, the more I read about this woman the more I love her and want to list to everything she has ever recorded.) It started when I put my friend’s Beats headphones on and heard the chorus of their song, Joan of Arc , from their 2017 album, Ritual – a concept album about the Salem Witch Trials. It was amazing and the only reason that song is not on this list is because Roots just has this feeling of compete defiance in spite of every challenge and/or person that attempts to bring you down and that is extremely empowering. Even if metal is not your cup of tea, I highly recommend you at least give this song a chance.
Favorite Lyric: …I’m stronger than I ever knew, I’m strong because of you…
2. Night Witches by Sabaton
While not sung by a woman like the rest of the songs on this list, I have a reason for including it on this list. Sabaton is a Swedish power metal band that uses historical battles and heroes as the basis of their music. This song from their 2014 album, Heroes, uses the story of the Soviet female pilots of the 588th regiment called the “Night Witches”as its subject matter. Consisting of a team of 80 women, all volunteers in their late teens and early twenties, flew precision bombing missions at night against the Nazis during World War II. They were hated and feared because they were able to drop bombs in relative silence while flying very low in planes without parachutes and with only maps and compasses to guide them. Seriously the kind of history that is definitely missing from most textbooks and highlighted in such an epic way so you can totally understand why this is song holds a special spot on my morning playlist.
Favorite lyric: The wind will whisper when the night witches come…
3. Here’s to You by The Dark Element
Even with my love of symphonic metal I find that when it comes to melodic metal it can be a hit or a miss for me as it tends to sound a bit more like pop with a guitar riff in the background. Honestly this is probably why I didn’t like Anette Olzon as the (replacement) lead singer of my absolute favorite Finnish symphonic metal band, Nightwish from 2007 to 2012. However, I find that I like her voice more now that she isn’t attempting to replicate the operatic vocals of Nightwish OG soprano, Tarja Turunen. Working in collaboration with Finnish guitarist and song writer, Jani Liimatainen, this new band has slowly crept into my daily listening. particularly this song as it deals with coming to terms with the end of a meaningful relationship; be it romantic or otherwise. Its a pretty dark theme but for someone like me who has lost a few friends in the last couple of years, I find that the lyrics oddly comforting as it goes through each stage of mourning but also deals with what comes after such tragedies -you get to wish that person the best and move on.
Favorite lyric: …In the end I hope you don’t hate me. I leave you with this, I will miss you everyday but I won’t write you again…
4. No More Hollywood Endings by Battle Beast
Battle Beast is a Finnish power metal band that has a warrior princess for a vocalist with a raspiness that deviates from the more traditional ethereal soprano that is ever present in the genre. Which is great because it brings such power to their songs like Familiar Hell and Beyond the Burning Skies – both of which are old favorites of mine. Here they took a step towards a more symphonic metal sound that works great with the overall theme of going against the expectations and goals set by other people, and choosing to embrace what you want for yourself instead.
Favorite lyric: Old clichés still remain but I want my own endings…
5. I am the Tyrant by Frozen Crown
Frozen Crown is an Italian power metal band that is fairly new to the scene and the only reason I even know about them is due to my borderline obsessive stalking of news about the upcoming Sabaton Open Air show. Since then I’ve been listening to their latest releases on Spotify and I’m hooked. Also the lead guitarist is a fierce left-handed black woman who is major curly hair goals. I never thought I would see such representation in a metal band in my lifetime and I’m so here for it. Really makes me wish I had the funds to go to Falun in August to catch their first live show with Sabaton. (Maybe next year….)
Favorite lyric: For the glory, we will rise up once again
Honorable Mention: Revolution by Kamelot featuring Alissa White-Gluz
Ok, so Kamelot is not a female-fronted band (and never will be) but they happen to be my favorite power metal band and they are on this list for a very specific reason.
For those that don’t know in metal there is something known as the “Beauty and the Beast” aesthetic, which basically means having contrasting “angelic” female vocals (usually a soprano voice) accompanied by male growls, screams and/or aggressive singing. Its something that is actually quite popular in Europe hence the number of female-fronted metal bands. However, there is one person in particular that has helped turn the tables on this concept who is also a featured artist in the above Kamelot track (and two others) – Alissa Whilte-Gluz.
The lead singer of Swedish melodic death metal band, Arch Enemy, Alissa is well known in the metal community for being the “hottest chick in metal” and you’d need only watch her on stage once to see why. Her inclusion in this song from Kamelot’s 2015 album, Haven, managed to do something different as Alissa is the one providing the “beast” growls and Tom Karevik, lead singer of Kamelot, with his clean vocals, is the “beauty” instead. Sure, she only has a few verses in the song but it is something worth noting it demonstrates a shift in the metal genre and I can’t wait to see where this goes.
Favorite lyric: We are breaking the walls from inside so rise to the sound of …Revolution!
Are there any songs by or about women that have inspired you lately? I’m always open to adding new songs to my library.