Kevy Metal complains: Female fronted Metal


No, this isn’t going to be a manifest against women in Metal. In fact, I have no problem with women in Metal bands, as long as it’s actually good what they are doing. Just like with men. And that’s a part of what annoys me; the term “female fronted Metal” is used these days as if its still some sort of oddity, conjuring up the idea that it’s still inferior to…let’s say “male fronted Metal”. Seriously, I have no idea why I should care about the gender, ethnic background, religion, language, sexual preference, political orientation or whatever of the musicians I’m listening to. Okay, I’ll admit that I chuckle at a funny accent every now and then, but that’s it. I love accents.

Of course, some bands are bound to draw some attraction because there are people involved of a certain gender, skin color or country that are not commonly associated with the genre. In the case of Metal, that would mean anyone who isn’t a white man from the US, England, Germany or Scandinavia. And a Latino in the American Thrash Metal scene – the west coast in particular – isn’t all that uncommon either. I just thought that three decades after Doro Pesch and Sabina Classen, we’d all be a little less surprised by the presence of women in the scene.

The term was once coined to describe the Goth scene that was blooming in the late nineties. The kind of bands with the classically schooled sopranos fronting generally atmospheric, keyboard-laden Metal. Today, it seems to be a marketing stunt to give every band with a woman fronting that label. But let’s be frank: what do Lacuna Coil, Arch Enemy, Nightwish, Triosphere, The Gathering, Girlschool and early Heart really have in common musically that they don’t have in common with other bands in their genre?

Another problem I have with the term “female fronted Metal” is how it’s used as a marketing tool by many labels – “dude, check this out, there’s a chick between all these ugly dudes!” – these days without any regard of the music that is actually on the records. It already puzzles me that some record stores in Holland have sections dedicated to music in the Dutch language, capturing vastly different bands under the same category, but dividing music based on the gender of the one who sings the song is just ridiculous.

Can’t we just drop the “female fronted” affix and just call the music out by its actual genre? Using it still suggests that the music is inferior to its male counterparts. As if Warlock’s classic ‘Triumph And Agony’ and ‘Hellbound’, Crystal Viper’s fantastic debut album, Holy Moses’ ‘The New Machine Of Liechtenstein’ and – somewhat more recent – A Sound Of Thunder’s brilliant ‘Time’s Arrow’ aren’t “regular” Metal classics in their own right. I don’t know if it’s the promo departments of the record labels or the scene itself that has done this to Metal – I have an idea though – but looking at this matter: isn’t it just time to grow up?

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