Every year when Metalholic releases its Top 25 women in Hard Rock and Metal list we get hit with a barrage of “how did you leave so and so off?” Trust me, these lists are never easy, and every year we have to leave people off that we love, and occasionally we somehow forget someone. It happens, we’re human. The 2012 list was tougher than ever as so many new faces are jumping up and grabbing our attention. The best part is that they cover all of the various genres we love and not simply metalcore or symphonic metal.
2013 looks to be another promising year for women in hard rock and metal. This got us to thinking about the fresh new breed of women coming forth. Here for your enlightenment we showcase some of the incredible talents starting to set the world of rock of fire. They come from all over; America, Canada, Brazil. They span hard rock, thrash metal, sludge and doom, progressive power metal, avant-garde metal, extreme metal, and more.
Emily Armstrong, Siouxsie Medley – Dead Sara
It seemed absolutely insane that Emily and Siouxsie did not make our Top 25 list. They are certainly deserving. In fact the battle we faced is, do they even qualify as hard rock, much less metal? Their sound is really more of a vintage rock sound with modern elements. Then we saw them live and it reminded us that what makes something heavy is attitude, and these ladies, and this band simply hammer it live.
This Southern, California duo were a whirlwind in 2012. The two, along with bandmates Chris Null (bass) and Sean Friday (drums) released their debut album this year then took off like a quietly raging storm. They have snuck up on just about everyone then left them gasping for breath in their wake. Both sing and play guitar, but it is Emily’s raw and soulful vocals that serve as the tempest for the band, and Medley’s impassioned and organic fretwork which propels the music forward. The two songwriters have been a team since their mid-teens and their chemistry is palpable onstage and throughout their recorded songs. Armstrong attacks the music like a cross between Jim Morrison and a young Grace Slick and leaves it all on the stage when she performs. In fact, when Grace Slick was asked by The Wall Street Journal which contemporary female singers she admires, she had only one response: Emily Armstrong. Meanwhile, Medley lets her guitar whisper and scream, cry and laugh. If you have not yet discovered Dead Sara now is the time, for they one of the most promising new bands we have been witness to in years.
Vocalist McCutchen and bassist Gladeau are just two-fifths of the Mortillery blitzkrieg, but they give the Canadian thrashers an extra edge that most bands can’t claim. Cara not only fronts Napalm recording artist Mortillery, but the 30-year-old headbanger is also the throat for fellow Canadian thrashers, Minax. Her vocals are absolutely caustic and muscular. When she’s not ripping off faces she has a thing for reptiles and welding. That officially means she has balls bigger than most men. Miranda has some sick bottom end skills, and the 25-year-old can bring it on stage.
Lars Gotrich of NPR Music nailed it when he described the voice of Royal Thunder bassist and vocalist Mlny Parsonz as “a deep, bellowing howl that reaches straight into the chest. She can growl, coo and seethe in one phrase without breaking the seam. To be clear, Parsonz isn’t the center of Royal Thunder, as many bands with female vocalists sometimes paint themselves. She’s an integral part of the psychedelic, bluesy thud that slowly spirals upward from” the depths of the band’s signature sound. Parsonz, who is married to guitarist Josh Weaver, taps into a very heartfelt and soulful vibe with her voice, but she can get as earthy and gritty as the song requires. She also pens some incredible lyrics. Parsonz is admittedly not quite comfortable as being seen as the face or frontwoman of the band. She prefers to be seen instead as just one of the trio, or now, quartet.
Brittany Paige founded her Canadian-based band, Kobra And The Lotus with guitarist Chris Swenson and drummer Griffin Kissack 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, and this year released the band’s debut record. Paige has all the requisite front(wo)man requirements down; stunning beauty, feisty attitude and impeccable pipes (and I do mean her voice). 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.
Emily Lazar is a born performer. From her earliest formative years she has spent her life in a state of preparation through dance, modeling, music, and various other forms of performance art. All of this has culminated into the visage of her alter ego, September Mourning. In fact, Lazar’s life has always been about art from her earliest moments, and she is perhaps the embodiment of a living artist.
“I’m a performance artist and a singer,” she says. “I do computer, I act, I make clothing, design costumes, I paint, I draw–I’m an artist, and I express myself in any sort of medium I can. So my life sort of revolves around my art. It’s been kind of like everything I’ve ever known and I don’t really know how to depart from it. I guess it became such a part of my personality and persona that it just kind of carried itself into my every day living which is really kind of random and weird, but it just kind of happened. So I just think of myself as this working, moving piece of art.”
Munhoz hails from São Paulo, Brazil where she fronts progressive metal merchants, Vandroya. Vandroya’s debut album “One” with be released in January by Inner Wound Recordings. She also lends her voice to the Soulspell Metal Opera, a project created by Brazilian heavy metal drummer Heleno Vale. She won a Best Female Vocalist award from Whiplash.net in 2010 for her work with Soulspell. While Vandroya is just about to break out, Daisa has been performing for years, including her one time all female band, Inlakesh, as well as a Led Zeppelin tribute band, Black Dog. Daisa’s voice is powerful, well controlled, and quite impressive. She prowls the stage with a take no prisoners mindset. Daisa lists her influences as: Symphony X, Dream Theater, Helloween, and Led Zeppelin.
Kristen May – Flyleaf
Lacey Mosley Sturm has been the face and voice since the inception of Flyleaf in 2000. Now after releasing the band’s third album, “New Horizons“, Lacey has left to explore , well, new horizons.
Stepping in to take the band into its second chapter is Kristen May. Hailing from Blue Springs, Missouri, May who also plays guitar and piano, caught the music bug in her teens.
“I have loved music for as long as I can remember. My most vivid memories are being young and playing with my two brothers while my dad jammed tunes of the eighties through his vintage speakers and record player.”
Now the former Verdera vocalist gets to showcase her skills in one of hard rock/alt-metal’s most respected bands. She is already winning fans over with her performances, and this winter she and Flyleaf will hit the road with Drowning Pool. Says May of her new gig: “I believe in the music of Flyleaf so deeply, that I feel blessed to step in and continue playing this music.”
Like May above, Martinez inherited the task of stepping in for a beloved and departed frontwoman. In this case, Grace Perry. Martinez calls Portland, Oregon home, where she also fronts extreme metal outfit, Transient. Ironically, Martinez used to front another Arizona band, Landlord. Martinez’s vocals are downright caustic and demonic, and Landmine Marathon has already re-recorded a couple of songs with Krysta’s acidic throat work, an example of which you can hear below on “Dead Horses”. Martinez lists Mark “Barney” Greenway of Napalm Death and Leo Miller of Animosity among her vocal inspirations. Krysta did not take her addition to the band lightly and in fact talked with Grace about her decision to leave and got her blessing before stepping in. She admits to be stoked and can’t wait to make her own impact on: “Grace is a great vocalist and lyricist. I can’t wait to start collaborating and creating with the band in the upcoming months.”