Top 25 Women in Hard Rock and Metal for 201
Happy New Year! 2014 is in the books which means it is time to lay out our fifth annual list of the Top 25 Women in Hard Rock and Metal. The year included fans saying goodbye to a woman who not only waved the metal flag, but was among the first to plant her own flag in the ground of extreme metal: Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow retired her microphone in 2014 to work behind the scenes. Her passion for death metal, and her commitment to the fans remain as impressive as her caustic vocal attack and her horns-up attitude.
Women have long played a major role in popular music across most genres, from country to pop to R&B; but one place where females were notably absent remained the realm of heavy metal. In the genre’s early years few women chose to make harder music their path, whether due to the metal scene perception that it must be a men’s only club (or boys who looked like girls), or a lack of interest; the last decade has seen an influx of ladies picking up, not just microphones and keyboards, but guitar, bass, and drums. All female bands like Kittie, Crucified Barbara, and Nervosa are becoming more frequent each year.
The years since women in metal consisted of a limited number of high-profile names like Wendy O. Williams, Doro, Lita Ford, Ann Boleyn and Leather Leone are thankfully forever in the past. However, despite the rapid growth of women joining the metal fray, their numbers still represent less than 10% of the genre’s overall population. This makes their work and talents stand out even more, and also calls for greater recognition to bring awareness to their growing contributions.
While other magazines will tout the women below as the “hottest” or “sexiest” women in hard rock and metal, what matters to us is the talent and their relevance in 2014. While those listed here are certainly stunning, it is the talent we applaud and acknowledge.
There are many names not on this list that we admire and respect. The list below simply represents those that we felt were particularly important in 2014. Many of our favorites had quiet years. Feel free to add your thoughts and picks at the end of the article, because this is a community and we all have a voice.
Now on to this year’s list. They are in no particular order. We are not ranking them, for they are all talented in their own unique ways. We’ll leave the rankings to our readers. Thank you to all those who voted back in October. Your voices were heard and your input combined with staff feedback formed this year’s list.
Sarah Teets – MindMaze
Sarah Teets and MindMaze celebrated a huge year in 2014. The release of the band’s sophomore album brought global recognition to the Pennsylvania based unit. The album, Back From the Edge, showcased the singer’s amazing vocal skills, and her growth as a singer since the band’s debut release. In 2015, there are tentative plans to do a duet with vocalist Urban Breed (Serious Black, Project Arcadia, ex-Tad Morose, ex-Bloodbound). Sarah began her love of music at a young age. “For a while I really only did instrumental music, such as play the flute, oboe and percussion, but in high school I started singing a lot more,” she offered. “I was constantly performing in various choral groups and bands. My brother and I formed a metal band for the first time in 2004.” Like many female hard rock and metal singers, she took her vocal influence primarily from male vocalists including; Glenn Hughes, Russell Allen, Jorn Lande, Urban Breed and Phil Mogg. From a lyricist’s perspective she hails Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott and Savatage founder Jon Oliva as her biggest influences. Look for our upcoming interview with Sarah.
Sharon den Adel – Within Temptation
It was another mammoth year for one of our favorite Dutch vocalists. Sharon and Within Temptation released another sonic treat with Hydra to kickstart 2014, then dropped a double DVD/CD set on us with Let Us Burn this fall. Both were among 2014’s best releases. With Hydra, Sharon had the opportunity to duet with the likes of Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), David Pirner (Soul Asylum), Howard Jones (Devil You Know, ex-Killwitch Engage), and American rapper, Xzibit. In the world of metal there are extraordinary number of highly impressive female vocalists, yet there is arguably no purer, richer, or more accessible voice than that of Sharon den Adel. Born in South Holland, the Dutch mezzo-soprano began singing professionally at 13, eventually meeting guitarist Robert Westerholt in 1996. The couple and the band have been together ever since. Despite no professional vocal training, the scope of her voice has been hailed as epic and cinematic. As anyone who has heard den Adel perform live can attest, she is definitively not a product of the studio. Every soaring vocal and emotive nuance comes out as excellent as it does on the band’s albums. Den Adel is also one of the most genuine people you’d ever want to meet. Check out our 2014 interview with Sharon.
Alissa White-Gluz – Arch Enemy
What an amazing year for the former vocalist of The Agonist. White-Gluz got tabbed to step in for the aforementioned retired Angela Gossow. Those are huge shoes to fill and Alissa handled it with metal aplomb. Her first act as the voice of Arch Enemy was to melt our collective faces with the band’s newest album, War Eternal. Her debut performance made her an immediate hit with the Arch Enemy faithful and elevated her status among the metal hierarchy. White-Gluz has long been a vegan and is outspoken about many personal causes including her work with Peta II, human rights and environmental protection. Alissa’s vocal skill set is a work of diversity and her lyrics are some of the more intelligent you will find in metal. When Gossow made her decision to retire from the band, she hand-picked Alissa to be her replacement. That is the respect held for White-Gluz’s talents and commitment. Kamelot fans may also be familiar with Alissa, who frequently performs live with the band as well. In 2014, she also lent her voice to the track “The Tragedy of the Commons” on the new Delain album, The Human Contradiction.
Liv Jagrell – Sister Sin
Jagrell once again made an impact in 2014. She and Sister Sin delivered up their fifth, and best record to date, with Black Lotus. One of the year’s best traditional metal albums. Offered Jagrell of the new record: “We always grow a little bit more into the metal scene for each record we do. But that’s our roots. It’s the really old kind of metal stuff. But also we get some inspiration from newer bands like Arch Enemy and In Flames and stuff like that too. I feel that we tried to get heavier on this record than the previous record. Also the production of it we draw to the heavier kind of sound, and I really like that because I’m into the heavy kind of music.” Liv, who is also a model and personal trainer by day, closed out the year with a feature article and photo spread (no, not nude) in Penthouse Magazine. Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, Liv Jagrell is proof that big things can come in small packages. The diminutive vocalist has a feral and commanding voice that immediately grabs the listener’s attention. The former Hysterica singer (known as Sinderella) uses her edgy and booming voice to bring Sister Sin’s classic NWOBHM sound to life, adding punch and charisma to each song. Look for a world-wide tour in 2015, and catch our recent interview with Jagrell as she talks Black Lotus and touring with Doro.
Liv Kristine – Leaves’ Eyes
Liv Kristine never seems to slow down; a studio album with Leaves’ Eyes in 2013, and her fifth solo album, Vervain, in 2014; now plans for a massive tour with Leaves’ Eyes as well as a likely new album in 2015. Liv also lent her vocals to the track “Born with a Broken Heart” on the 2014 Primal Fear album, Delivering the Black, as well as the song “I Am Free” on the debut album by Savn. The blonde, Nordic soprano vocalist first came to the notice of symphonic metal fans with her turn in Theater of Tragedy, whom she spent seven years with. In 2003, she formed her own band, Leaves’ Eyes, with husband Alexander Krull and members of his band, Atrocity. Liv’s captivating voice is both powerful and earthy: a lulling us into her clutches note by note. The Grammy nominated vocalist reached out to reigning metal Queen, Doro Pesch for a duet on Vervain for the song, “Stronghold of Angels”. She also performed a duet with End of Green frontman, Michelle Darkness on the song, “Love Decay”.
Mary Zimmer & Chela Rhea Harper – White Empress
When former Cradle of Filth guitarist, Paul Allender, began piecing together his new project, he struck it rich. If landing multifaceted vocalist Mary Zimmer (ex-Luna Mortis) was not enough of a coup, he also tapped former Coal Chamber rumbler, Chela Rhea Harper, to handle bass duties. Both women are extraordinary talents, but combined they add depth and diversity to White Empress. Although Zimmer is relatively unknown to many metal fans, her work in Luna Mortis showcased an exciting new voice in heavy music. With White Empress, Mary has been given free rein to stretch her abilities in whatever manner best suits each song. She will sometimes go from a beautiful clean vocal line to flaying one’s flesh with her caustic growls. Harper, who also made this year’s 2014’s Top Bassists List, has music in her genes. Her father Carl Harvey is an amazing guitar player and singer-songwriter who is best known for his work as a member of legendary reggae band Toots & the Maytals. Surrounded by music her entire life, her early tastes found her gravitating toward dark and heavy bands like Tool, System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine. However, Harper has her own unique solo project for which she released as an EP, called Sarasvati, which blends hard rock with Eastern influences. Chela also plays guitar and sings for the death/doom metal band VII.
Sweden’s Crucified Barbara dropped its fourth and most cohesive album in 2014 with In the Red. The Scandinavian quartet has improved its songwriting with each album, and with this record the ladies have penned a collection of fully realized songs that capture both their upbeat energetic rock and roll side and their more serious and edgy, metal side. Lyrically, Crucified Barbara rebels against growing up with “I Sell My Kids for Rock ‘N’ Roll” then takes on the ugliness of misogyny on “To Kill a Man”. With In the Red, the band looked inward to craft its most personal material to date, and sonically each member’s individual performances shine throughout. In 2014, Mia Coldheart (vocals, guitar) Nicki Wicked (drums), Klara Force (guitars), and Ida Evileye (bass) threw down the gauntlet and made their presence known. Crucified Barbara has been around in one formation or another since 1998, but the band did not release its debut album, In Distortion We Trust until 2005. They followed that up in 2009 with ’Til Death Do Us Party, and 2012’s breakout album, Midnight Chase. Check out our 2014 interview with Mia Coldheart.
Simone Simons – Epica
Ginger-haired Simone Simons was inspired to take up the metal calling when she heard vocalist Tarja Turunen on Nightwish’s 1998 Oceanborn album at the ripe young age of 15. Now as Simone turns 29 this month, she is one of the premiere mezzo-soprano symphonic metal vocalists, alongside her other Dutch counterpart Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation. Simons is the blazing voice behind Epica, and she has recorded six powerfully sonic releases with them. In 2014, she and the band released their most potent album to date, The Quantum Enigma, which has shown up on many a best-of-year-end list, including Metalholic’s. Simone also lent her voice to various other projects in 2014 including Angra‘s Secret Garden and Avalon‘s Angels of the Apocalypse, as well as a charity single, “The Power of Love”, for the Red Cross with Countermove. Simone, who runs her own blog, “SmoonStyle” has stated she will never get a tattoo and prefers cupcakes to alcohol and drugs: “I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke and I drink very little alcohol but I do eat candy and cupcakes. [laughs] I think that a lot of musicians start using drugs not because they want to be cool but because they can’t deal with the pressure of things.”
Nina Osegueda – A Sound of Thunder
That rumble you hear off the Eastern seaboard is not another hurricane but the powerfully thundering voice of Nina Osegueda, the vocal fury for Washington DC’s metal horde, A Sound of Thunder. She and the band have been recording demons over the last several years, churning out four back-to-back albums in four years including 2014’s critical success, The Lesser Key of Solomon. Nina and the band are already at work on a fifth studio effort, a covers album, a live fan-only album release party CD, and they released a special Halloween single for the track “Punk Mambo”. Nina’s voice recalls a female Bruce Dickinson meets Ronnie James Dio, and she has tapped into those mighty male metal vocal influences to develop her own style. You like vocalists who can attack each song in unique ways? Osegueda is a metal vocalist Swiss Army knife. However, Osegueda did not grow up on metal. “I went to my first metal show when I was 21, and I saw Dragonforce,” laughs the singer. “I was a late bloomer. I saw Dragonforce and I realized I want to do that.” However, prior to that epiphany she grew up on R&B and Gospel, and she was trained operatically before college interrupted her musical path.
Kobra Paige – Kobra and the Lotus
Kobra Paige founded her Canadian-based band, Kobra And The Lotus in 2008. She is the fire-breathing, driving force behind the band’s straight forward, “fuck sub-genres,” metal sound. Well versed as both a pianist and powerhouse vocalist, she studied classical music with The Royal Music Conservatory of Canada. The band was signed by Gene Simmons’ Universal sub-label, which released the band’s 2012 major-label eponymous debut record. Paige has all the requisite front(wo)man requirements down; stunning beauty, feisty attitude and impeccable pipes. More than that, she has an intangible charisma that just explodes forth when she performs: An undefinable magnetism that sets her apart from many of her male and female counterparts. Paige does not pull punches either: “I am who I am and this is my voice; If it’s not bad-ass enough for some people, that’s just too bad.” She and the band spent part of 2014 on tour with Kiss and Def Leppard while also releasing their new album, High Priestess, which continues to find Paige and the band defining and refining their sonic signature.
Cristina Scabbia – Lacuna Coil
Fans were vocal when Cristina Scabbia was left off 2013’s list, but one of our favorite Italian vocalists had a low-key year in 2013. In 2014, she and Lacuna Coil stormed back with a fantastic new album, and a relentless touring schedule. Scabbia is not only known as one of the two singers of the Italian gothic metal band Lacuna Coil, she is also an accomplished writer and one of most charismatic and real people in music. She has been featured alongside a variety of metal artists including; Alter Bridge, the unique instrumental band Apocolyptica, and thrash metal legends Megadeth. She was also part of Arjen Anthony Lucassen‘s Ayreon project. Scabbia had an interesting 2014: In January it was announced that two of Lacuna Coil‘s longstanding members were retiring, just as the band was embarking on Revolver Magazine’s Hottest Women in Hard Rock Tour with Sick Puppies. The band released its newest album, the darkly cinematic, Broken Crown Halo, and Cristina celebrated her 10-year relationship anniversary with Slipknot guitarist Jim Root. As usual with Cristina, there many personal photos taken all over the world, as Scabbia tries to remain as connected as possible to her fans through social networking and Instagrams. She randomly holds fan Q&A’s on a whim through her Facebook and Twitter forums.
Charlotte Wessels – Delain
Despite her powerful vocal presence, there is something quiet and unassuming about 27-year-old Dutch vocalist Charlotte Wessels. However, that has not lessened her impact on the metal scene: First as singer for the short-lived To Elysium, and since 2005, as the face and voice of Delain. The Zwolle, Netherlands born vocalist has been both classically and jazz trained and she has a bachelor’s degree in art history. The latter surfaces in the lyrical content of some of the band’s songs, as Wessels writes her own lyrics. This is apparent on the band’s fifth album, the 2014 release, The Human Contradiction; the title of which was inspired by Octavia E. Butler‘s science fiction trilogy Lilith’s Brood. Wessels truly showcases the breadth of her vocal capabilities on the new record. Alongside Simone Simons (Epica), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), and Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Charlotte also lent her voice to the charity single, “The Power of Love”, for the Red Cross with Countermove.
Dianne van Giersbergen – Xandria, Ex Libris
We’re not sure what they put in the water in the Netherlands, but whatever it is, it certainly breeds an amazing amount of fantastic singers. In 2014, another name began falling off the lips of symphonic metal fans across the globe as Ex Libris vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen joined Xandria in place of the departed Manuela Kraller who graced this list last year. The Dutch singer, while no relation to Anneke van Giersbergen, has an equally stunning voice. The charismatic singer is a vocal coach. She has a soprano voice capable of great power and also great warmth and character. In 2014, Dianne not only released the album Sacrificium with Xandria, but also saw the release of the sophomore Ex Libris album, Medea. Where Xandria is more cinematic and atmospheric in style, Ex Libris is more progressive. The differences help showcase Dianne’s vocal capabilities. Van Geirsbergen, who turns 30 this year, took her first vocal lessons when she was just four-years-old. She founded Ex Libris when she was only 19. Dianne had an opportunity to tour the world in 2014, including shows in Mexico and America, as well as the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. Dianne studied classical music and has a Master of Arts degree in music.
Ida Haukland – Triosphere
Ida Haukland is an amazing talent. The Norwegian vocalist and bassist co-formed Triosphere a decade ago and in 2014 released their third album, The Heart of the Matter, produced by Jens Bogren. The record, powered by Haukland’s spectacular vocals and intelligent lyrics, was a critical success, including taking the #1 spot on Metalholic’s Best 50 Metal Albums list for the year. She also landed on our Top Bassists list as well. Ida’s voice can be pure and smooth, but most often sounds like a metal version of Bonnie Tyler. Haukland began as a guitarist in an all-female band at 16, but wanted to learn more instruments. When another band asked her to play bass, her path was set. She admits to having a deeper connection with the bass and feels it was the natural choice for her. “The first time a bass guitar really caught my attention, was when I accidentally heard the bass-solo in “Maxwell Murder” by Rancid. I had not begun playing in a band at that time, but remember being flabbergasted by it. Later on, Les Claypool amused me quite a bit together with Primus, and my jaw dropped pretty hard when I heard Billy Sheehan with Steve Vai and David Lee Roth in “Shy Boy” (and then it of course kept dropping to really anything Sheehan plays),and of course Geddy Lee.” The only bass she’s ever owned is a black Washburn MB5 Mercury-series 5-string.
Carla Harvey – Butcher Babies
While SoCal’s resident shock ‘n’ rollers, Butcher Babies, had another busy and exciting year, co-vocalist Carla Harvey shined just a little brighter and was just a little busier than her cohorts. The darker side of the vocal duo, which also features Heidi Shepherd, Carla is also an accomplished author whose work has included a couple of highly acclaimed comic books, and her new semi-autobiographical novel, Death and Other Dances. “Semi-autobiographical novel is a nice way of saying it’s true but I don’t want my Mom to know,” laughs Harvey. Aside from being a singer, author and actress, she also has a degree in Mortuary Services and hopes to one day run her own funeral home. During our 2014 interview, Harvey talked about her fascination with death: “I’ve always liked the kind of macabre stuff. Ever since I was a child I have been obsessed with death and dying. Pretty much everything that I do, or write about or draw about has to do with either sex or death.” Carla and Butcher Babies released Uncovered, an EP of cover songs this year. Her personal pick was the twisted Napoleon XIV classic, “They’re Coming To Take Me Away”, which became the EP’s single. “The reason I chose it,” shared Harvey, “my step-father used to listen to it in the car and I always thought he was completely insane and it always kind of creeped me out. I knew it was one we would have to do for the EP.”
Maria Brink – In This Moment
While we are not quite sure what to make of the new techo-industrial direction In This Moment is taking with the band’s latest two albums, Blood (2012) and Black Widow (2014); it is clear fans are responding to the theatrical aspects of the group’s persona, and none more so than the come hither sexuality of front woman, Maria Brink. Brink has long balanced the innocence of her adorable heart-shaped face and pouting lips against her caustic side: She can carve the heart out your chest with her voice–from lulling and sweet clean vocals to ferocious growling and screams–Brink takes no prisoners when she has a mic in hand. Off stage she’s all girly-girl. Maria and In This Moment kicked off the year headlining their own Hellpop Tour and releasing their first live DVD Blood at the Orpheum. Aside from closing out the year with another headline tour in support of Black Widow, Brink also made cameo appearances this year performing on the song “Big Mouth” for Jake E Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel debut, and the track “Contemptress” on the new Motionless in White album, Reincarnate. She will kickstart 2015 as a guest vocalist for the new Papa Roach album, F.E.A.R. on the song, “Gravity”. You would be hard pressed to find a more competitive soul out there than Maria. She plays hard, and she plays to win. Welcome to her gun show!
Kim Dylla aka Vulvatron – GWAR, Thismeansyou
The metal world was rocked in 2014 when one of its most celebrated and theatrical frontmen, Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus of GWAR, was taken from us. When all seemed hopeless and lost, Vulvatron appeared on the scene with her blood spewing mammaries to lead GWAR in across the galaxy in search of their fallen comrade. Vulvatron is Kim Dylla, vocalist for Virginia-based metal outfit, Thismeanyou since 2002. Dylla was an Echols scholar and earned a degree from the University of Virginia in studio art with a minor in computer science. Kim has carved out a niche as one of metal’s premiere seamstresses. She owns Kylla Custom Rock Wear and has created wardrobes for bands like Machine Head, Slipknot, Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy and White Empress. In 2014 she returned to the stage as Vulvatron, immediately winning fan support, exciting the GWAR faithful with her depraved antics and wild showmanship. The universe’s sexiest Scumdog is back from the future… bow before the boob spew!!!
Cadaveria – Cadaveria, Dynabyte
Born Raffaella Rivarolo, the Italian singer and keyboardist took on the persona and pseudonym of Cadaveria when she joined goth/symphonic black metal band, Opera IX in 1992. Cadaveria spent nine years with the band, recording three studio albums before departing in 2001 along with drummer Alberto Gaggiotti (aka Marcelo Santos/Flegias) to form her solo project. This year Cadaveria released its fifth album, Silence, which blends gothic, death and black metal elements into what the singer refers to as horror metal. The same year she started her namesake band, Cadaveria also joined the gothic industrial metal band, DyNAbyte, which has released two records to date. The singer lists her favorite albums as Ænima by Tool and Symbolic by Death. A major fan of filmmaker David Lynch, the members of the band besides she and Santo, draw their names from Lynch characters. Cadaveria‘s vocals are biting and sinister with something of an insidious quality to them.
Unless you were living under the proverbial rock in 2014, it was difficult to miss the phenomenon of Japan’s Babymetal. The group is fronted by the trio of Suzuka Nakamoto as “Su-metal”, Yui Mizuno as “Yuimetal”, and Moa Kikuchi as “Moametal”; Su being the primary vocalist and Yui and Moa background singers. Backed by an impressive yet nameless band of professional musicians, the Babymetal sound infuses elements of death, speed and symphonic metal with J-pop. It is hard to imagine another band that has so polarized the metal community as Babymetal did in 2014. The group quickly became equally loved and despised around the world, with few standing in the middle. The metal die-hards quickly dismissed the band as a gimmick, immediately overlooking the decidedly excellent talents behind the three tween vocalists who front the band. The album is packed with tight performances and dense, catchy atmospheric compositions. In all of our polls this year, Babymetal supporters voted in droves and their voices cannot be disregarded. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, any band that can spark such intense passion among metal fans is doing something right, so for that we acknowledge their impact in 2014.
Sabina Classen – Holy Moses
German thrash metal queen, Sabina Classen joined Holy Moses in 1981 when she was 17-years-old. In 2014, she and the band celebrated their 33rd year with the release of Redefined Mayhem. It is the band’s 11th studio album and it is their first new music since 2008’s Agony of Death. Sabina is the band’s sole founding member, and she stated of the new record: “We had to redefine ourselves as a band and gel as a team. There were people who voiced their doubts that it would work. But the new songs prove beyond all doubt that Holy Moses continue to be a force to be reckoned with.” Sabina was one of the first women in metal to use harsh vocals and death growls. She, along with her friend Doro Pesch, helped pave the way for women in metal. When Holy Moses went on hiatus in 1994, Classen formed Temple of the Absurd, releasing two albums in the 90s before reforming Holy Moses in 2000.
Jessica Sierra – Mongrel
Every year on our list is a local/regional talent that is just tearing up the scene. In 2014, that rock and roll wrecking ball came in the form of Mongrel and front woman, Jessica Sierra. Based out of Boston, Mongrel is a metal freight train running on punk tracks. The band’s attitude and swagger is perfectly represented by the smokey pipes of Sierra who shines on Mongrel‘s new EP, Evolution. Jessica is fierce and powerful and she can bend your knees with a soaring wail or drop into a luring vocal huskiness then calls you to crash upon rocks of your broken soul. Sierra lists her favorite bands as Sepultura, Soulfly, The Doors, and 40 Below Summer. She shared in a recent interview that part of what drives her are the fans and, “the feeling and the desire to share a piece of myself with the world.”
Ann Boleyn – Hellion
Ann Boleyn is an absolute legend in hard rock and metal. Ann was once tapped to join The Runaways as bassist, though she never joined the band. She was a well-known radio DJ in the late 70’s at KROQ and is said to have coined the term “speed metal”. Boleyn has been the iconic voice of Hellion for over three decades, and she also founded a record label which released the debut albums for Morbid Angel, Sepultura, Flotsam & Jetsam, and Bathory among others. Boleyn is a noted keyboardist and her dramatic contralto voice adds an epic quality to everything she sings. In 2014, Boleyn and her new incarnation of Hellion released a 2-disc anthology, To Hellion and Back, spanning the band’s career, including new material, and a couple of tracks produced by her mentor, Ronnie James Dio. It should not be surprising that Boleyn’s new line-up includes Dio members Simon Wright on drums and Scott Warren on keyboards, as well as young guitar virtuoso Maxxxwell Carlisle. Hellion also released a new EP, Karma’s a Bitch. Before the term female-fronted metal even existed, Boleyn was a force so powerful, major record companies felt fearful of taking a chance on the band. In addition to her artistic side, Boleyn also earned her law degree in 2007.
Elize Ryd – Amaranthe
Elize Ryd is the sonically stunning voice of Swedish power metal merchants Amaranthe. The 30-year-old brunette beauty offers a belt/high soprano voice. She began singing and dancing at the age of the three. When she was 13 she won a talent contest in Gothenburg as the youngest participant in the competition, where she received a scholarship award as “most promising singer.” Cameo appearances for bands like Falconer, Dreamland and Dragonland would cement her reputation as a voice to behold and bring her into contact with her fellow musicians in Amaranthe. The band released its well-received debut album in 2011. Ryd also spent time in 2010, 2011 and 2012 touring as guest vocalist with Kamelot. Ryd has seen the release of two new Amaranthe albums in back-to-back years with The Nexus in 2013 and Massive Addictive in 2014, and she won the “Rock And Role Model” award at 2014’s Bandit Awards. Ryd also lent her voice to both Timo Tolkki’s Avalon records; Land of New Hope (2013) and Angels of the Apocalypse (2014). Elize has kept herself busy in 2014 touring the world and doing vocals cameos on several other projects.
Sweden’s melodic death metal contingent, Frantic Amber, has been teasing and toying with fans since it released its debut EP, Wrath of Judgement, in 2010. The quintet, which is 80% female, features members from Sweden, Denmark, Japan and Colombia. The trio of vocalist Elizabeth Andrews, lead guitarist Mio Jäger, and guitarist Maria Siebecke have been with the band since its inception in 2008/09. In 2014, the band welcomed new bassist Madeleine Gullberg Husberg formerly of Dwarf, and new drummer Mac Dalmanner previously with Pandemonic. With a new line-up intact the band proceeded to record its debut full length album, Burning Insight, which has garnered positive critical attention around the globe. Look for the band to make a bigger impact in 2015.
Jacklyn Paulette – Requiem
Santa Cruz-based singer-songwriter-guitarist, Jacklyn Paulette became the big buzz in 2014 when she joined forces with former I Am Ghost vocalist Steve Juliano. The duo are part of the metalcore outfit, Requiem. The quintet released its debut album, The Unexplainable Truth this fall. Part of what keeps Requiem from sounding like all the metalcore clones on the scene is Jacklyn’s vocals and commanding stage presence, as well as the band’s ability to mix punk and pop elements seamlessly into their sound. She is no six-string slouch either, and Daisy Rock Guitars was impressed enough to sponsor her at only 15-years-old. Jacklynn began singing at three and playing guitar at 10. She states that her first concert was KISS when she was not even three-years-old. Not surprisingly, Revolver Magazine tabbed the up-and-comer as one this year’s Hottest Women in Metal, but beyond the beauty is immense talent that is not limited to the metal genre. Paulette is also the lead guitarist for the horrorpunk-rockabilly outfit, Stellar Corpses. She also showcases her indie side as part of Dressed in Roses, a duo with her sister Madeline. While 2014 kick-started the machine, look for 2015 to be even bigger for Paulette and Requiem.
Brazil has long been an overlooked hotbed of heavy music and São Paulo is at the heart of the nation’s metal uprising. In 2010, two like-minded musicians, bassist and vocalist Fernanda Lira and guitarist Prika Amaral were searching around for the components of an all-female thrash metal band. Fortuitously they found each other and Nervosa was born. The duo became a trio when they tabbed drummer Pitchu Ferraz in 2013. Nervosa decimated the scene in 2014 with the release of its debut album, Victim of Yourself—a bold, stentorian slab of old school thrash with moderns tints and death metal undercurrents. As a trio there is no place to hide if you don’t have the talent, and there are no holes in Nervosa to fill except the ones they carve into your cranium. Amaral is an absolute shred machine. The fretstress picked up the guitar at 14 and taught herself to play. Her speed and technique are astounding, but only in how they balance against her strong melodic sense. Ferraz began at 15 learning from the masters. She is the pummeling and driving engine that powers Nervosa. Leading the way is Lira. Her approach is a no-holds-barred, fiery attack and her performances leave it all on the stage. The 25-year-old Lira began playing bass at 13, inspired by her father, also a bassist. Among the bass legends she hails as inspirations are Rudy Sarzo, Steve Harris and Steve DiGiorgio. Fernanda is a bassist who plays with passion and feeling, which she infuses into who band’s aggressive sound.
There it is, our 2014 list. There were so many more names we wanted to add, but we had to keep it to 25…plus a bonus track. Who did you want to see on this year’s list that is missing? Sound off below!