Blabbermouth linked me a great article today: Woman in Metal. Discussing yet another article, published in print, "The 13 Sexiest Chicks in Metal".
Basically, this magazine interviewed Lacuna Coil, among others, and did a photo spread of sexy female metal musicians. Some applaud the obviously clever play to the male audience's insatiable need for eye-candy. Others deride the obvious appeal to appearance over musical talent. Even others take a tangent to that idea, observing that metal chicks are generally getting typecast into the "sexy goth vocalist" role these days.
Personally, I applaud teh sexy metal. Seriously, if you got it, show it off! Yes, metal should be about the music... but the second you step up on a stage, the second you make a music video, a promo shot, you're becoming more than just a musician. You're a performer. There's a reason why Metallica has huge pyro at their shows. Why Heaven and Hell (separate blog coming on that one) construct wickedly creative sets. Why Iron Maiden burns giant wicker effigys, complete with virgins, on stage. Hell, would you be as impressed showing up for an Amon Amarth concert, and instead of a long-haired viking badass, being greeted by Wierd Al screaming from the bowels of his lungs?
Anyways, for the record, in live concerts, I've seen more floppy man-wiener (the Shitty Dwarves nightmare, forever scarred into my mind) in concert than I've seen woman titty. I think the women of metal owe me one...
While there are still a few asshats that can't get over the girls in metal bands, there have been plenty of bands who showed that women can be respected for their metal, and not just in the stereotyped roles either. One of my favourites was Drain STH, a distinctly doom band with hard rock overtones. A band that purposely avoiding letting their image get out, so that their music would be respected before people discovered they were four smoking hot Swedish bombshells.
Sadly, in recent years, a lot of the women have been herded into the Goth metal role. Not that this is a bad thing! It has produced some amazing goth metal bands, including Lacuna Coil, Nightwish (with Tarja), Evanescence (hey! Just because they get radio play doesn't mean they can't be heavy sometimes!), Within Temptation, and dozens of others. However, I really wouldn't mind seeing a few girls breaking out of goth. Especially as vocalists (since, yes folks, most women sound different than men), and in other roles too. That was part of why I was so eager to hear samples of Missy K in Stratovarius... not the same sound to be sure, but it'd have been novel, and I always appreciate something new in my metal.
Hell, if they sound good, I won't even care if they're hot or not. Though I certainly wouldn't complain if they are...
Metal is sexist.
There, I said it. We all know it, but not many will speak the words out loud. Metal is full-on testosterone, blazing guitars, bone-crushing riffs, and either the kind of operatic screaming that sends shivers up your spine or the death-roar of a demonic soul.
Metal does not compromise... much. Women vocalists is about as far as it goes. Bottom line, women "can't" do a death metal growl. They sounds too 'pretty and clean' for exceptionally aggressive music, and metal's overwhelmingly male-dominated themes and attraction ensures that substantially fewer women get pulled into its embrace than men.
I for one don't see this changing anytime soon. It's tough for most guys to see women as... well... tough! And metal is very much, as aforementioned, a testosterone-overdrive that girls find very hard to compete in, thus limiting their involvement to more commerically tinged metal/hard-rock that isn't 'hardcore'.
Anyway, good blog, I enjoyed the read.
- The Irishman (who can definitely do the death metal roar at times)
By the same token, all "popular" music (i.e. stuff made for fans) is sexist. It simply results from the culture in which it's made. Women and men are allowed to do only a certain set of things. Unless you change the underlying boundaries, you won't change metal, pop, or anything else in a real way. Until then, be satisfied with the little progress being made. I for one will continue listening to Bif Naked (you may begin the flame war on that if you'd like).
As a counterpoint to "woman can't do a death metal growl" (you could argue this link on either side of the point), I linketh the popular American-death band Kittie.
I personally don't like Kittie because I'm not a fan of the American death metal style. But you can't deny she's got a very impressive female version of the growl.
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