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GothExplorer

Women in metal

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Today is International Women’s Day, and I am thinking about women in metal.   Let’s face it, they tend to be singers.

Of course, I can compile a list of women in metal bands who play instruments.

Thalia from Frozen Crown plays guitar, as does Dany from The Warning.  Ale from The Warning plays bass, as do Andrea from Motion Device and Melody from Liliac.  Abi from Liliac plays drums, as does Pau from The Warning.  Camille and Kennerly both play the harp.

The list could go on.  Nevertheless, women in metal tend to be vocalists.  Can anyone think of a reason for this?

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I think the reason that women in metal are mostly associated with vocalists (despite the fact that there are women who do other things in bands) is that vocals are the only area in metal music where women would be noticeably different from men.  I don't think there is any reasonably basis to determine from the sound of a guitar or drums that the musician playing it must be a man or a woman - in fact, musicians of equal skill would be indistinguishable on the basis of gender from simply the sound of their playing.  For vocals, however, a woman would sound different from a man.

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1 hour ago, Balor said:

I think the reason that women in metal are mostly associated with vocalists (despite the fact that there are women who do other things in bands) is that vocals are the only area in metal music where women would be noticeably different from men.  I don't think there is any reasonably basis to determine from the sound of a guitar or drums that the musician playing it must be a man or a woman - in fact, musicians of equal skill would be indistinguishable on the basis of gender from simply the sound of their playing.  For vocals, however, a woman would sound different from a man.

I am not sure that is a valid point.

We seem to agree that women in metal are more likely to be singers than instrumentalists.  I accept your point that women tend to sound different from men when singing, and they tend to sing higher.  If you are in a symphonic metal band, then you might want a singer who can hit soaring high notes.  For that reason you might prefer a soprano to a tenor.

Nevertheless you would presumably not object to a woman in your band playing guitar, bass guitar, drums, etc.  If you have a choice between recruiting a man or a woman to play bass guitar in your band, then presumably you would want the one who was musically the best fit, regardless of gender.

I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that the main reason there are not many women instrumentalists in metal bands is because there are not many women who are interested in playing musical instruments - or at least not ones associated with rock bands.

It was reported here in the UK a couple of years ago that as many women are now buying guitars as men.  I suspected then, and still do, that this was part of an Ed Sheeran effect.  A woman who plays Ed Sheeran songs on an acoustic guitar is perhaps unlikely to find her way into a metal band.

 

 

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1 minute ago, GothExplorer said:

 

I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that the main reason there are not many women instrumentalists in metal bands is because there are not many women who are interested in playing musical instruments - or at least not ones associated with rock bands.

I think it would be less likely that fewer women are interested in playing musical instruments than men, than playing a particular style.  Perhaps, statistically, women tend to not enjoy metal as much as men do?  It could be the result of the rather masculine culture surrounding metal, Western gender expectations, or maybe even the themes associated with different styles of metal.

Also, I would be interested in learning statistics of women in metal by the genre that they play.  Perhaps an answer to that question first would better explain what is going on in the genre as a whole.

And for the record, I would have absolutely no problem with a woman filling any role in a metal band, provided she is talented.

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3 minutes ago, Balor said:

Perhaps, statistically, women tend to not enjoy metal as much as men do? 

In which case it is interesting that women who can sing are more likely to be in metal bands than women who play instruments.  It also occurs to me that there are not a huge number of women instrumentalists in rock or pop music generally.  Think of a girl group, and you are probably thinking of a vocal harmony group.  Girl groups like the Bangles and Fuzzbox and The Go-gos - where most or all members play an instrument - are not that common.

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2 hours ago, GothExplorer said:

In which case it is interesting that women who can sing are more likely to be in metal bands than women who play instruments.

Perhaps that might be evidence of my earlier claim that women might more commonly sing in metal bands than play instruments in them because their voices sound different from those of men?

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1 hour ago, Balor said:

Perhaps that might be evidence of my earlier claim that women might more commonly sing in metal bands than play instruments in them because their voices sound different from those of men?

I am not saying that there is nothing in that, but you have also said that you welcome women instrumentalists in the bands if they are talented.

It occurs to me also that there must be some difference in the way women and men play guitar.  Women have smaller hands than men, which has to make a  difference in how they play.

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8 minutes ago, GothExplorer said:

I am not saying that there is nothing in that, but you have also said that you welcome women instrumentalists in the bands if they are talented.

It occurs to me also that there must be some difference in the way women and men play guitar.  Women have smaller hands than men, which has to make a  difference in how they play.

So you're saying that women tend to do vocals rather than play instruments because their smaller hands make it harder for them to play competently? Where exactly are you getting your data?

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32 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Where exactly are you getting your data?

Honestly, it is difficult or impossible to make any productive statements in this thread without some sort of data about women in metal (maybe we should all just fill out the copy-paste survey!).  Again, I think it would be really interesting/enlightening to see statistics on women in metal by genre.

1 hour ago, GothExplorer said:

I am not saying that there is nothing in that, but you have also said that you welcome women instrumentalists in the bands if they are talented.

It occurs to me also that there must be some difference in the way women and men play guitar.  Women have smaller hands than men, which has to make a  difference in how they play.

But that's why they sell guitars in different sizes, so (among other reasons) people with different hand sizes can all play well.

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12 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

So you're saying that women tend to do vocals rather than play instruments because their smaller hands make it harder for them to play competently? Where exactly are you getting your data?

I did not say that.  I said that there must be some difference in the way that they play.  Frankly I am astonished that you read my post in the way you did.

Balor, I accept your point that guitars come in different sizes, but women do not tend to buy smaller guitars - or at least not that I've noticed.  Let me take an example.  Lots of women choose telecasters.  So do lots of men.  The guitar is the same size, but the woman has small hands, whereas the man has large hands.  That has to make some things easier for the woman than for the man, and vice versa.

Maybe I am stretching the point here ...

But to keep the discussion on track - it seems to me that women in pop and rock genres are far more Iikely to be singers than instrumentalists.  I have just watched a clip from a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the men appear to outnumber the women by at least three to one.

 

 

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Maybe it's the same thing that makes men the majority in comedy. Pre-historic mating genes require us to show off, make people laugh and attract the attention of the females, even using props when necessary, where women mainly focus on being pretty and desireable, therefore attracting mating attempts that way. I don't think that people understand or give enough credit how much the caveman impulses drive the decisions and our actions even in modern world. Without culture, deep down we are nothing but animals.

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5 hours ago, ChainsawAkimbo said:

Maybe it's the same thing that makes men the majority in comedy. Pre-historic mating genes require us to show off, make people laugh and attract the attention of the females, even using props when necessary, where women mainly focus on being pretty and desireable, therefore attracting mating attempts that way. I don't think that people understand or give enough credit how much the caveman impulses drive the decisions and our actions even in modern world. Without culture, deep down we are nothing but animals.

We are now in danger of getting seriously off topic, and I am also aware of the site rules on civil discourse.

Nevertheless, I am astonished that anyone buys into this nonsense about humans today having caveman ancestors.  Yes, some people used to live in caves in times past, and some people in some parts of the world still live in caves today.  But guess what - they are not primitive..  In fact, some of them have flat screen television.

It stands to reason that very few people have ever lived in caves at any point in the past, because there are not that many caves out there for people to live in.  Be honest - which one of us knows of a habitable cave within a twenty mile radius of where they are right now.  I certainly don't.

 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, GothExplorer said:

We are now in danger of getting seriously off topic, and I am also aware of the site rules on civil discourse.

Nevertheless, I am astonished that anyone buys into this nonsense about humans today having caveman ancestors.  Yes, some people used to live in caves in times past, and some people in some parts of the world still live in caves today.  But guess what - they are not primitive..  In fact, some of them have flat screen television.

It stands to reason that very few people have ever lived in caves at any point in the past, because there are not that many caves out there for people to live in.  Be honest - which one of us knows of a habitable cave within a twenty mile radius of where they are right now.  I certainly don't.

 

 

 

Ehr.. ok. You just completely denied an entire field of scientific study, evolution and few other things while at it. And surely you know that the word "caveman" is not to be taken literally? It´s just a common expression of a Paleolithic era humans.. 😅 

Here is one interesting article (and a little quote from it), among thousands of others to read on the subject:
https://hbr.org/1998/07/how-hardwired-is-human-behavior

"Emotions Before Reason. In an uncertain world, those who survived always had their emotional radar—call it instinct, if you will—turned on. And Stone Age people, at the mercy of wild predators or impending natural disasters, came to trust their instincts above all else. That reliance on instinct undoubtedly saved human lives, allowing those who possessed keen instincts to reproduce. So for human beings, no less than for any other animal, emotions are the first screen to all information received.

Today businesspeople are often trained to dispense with emotions in favor of rational analysis and urged to make choices using logical devices such as decision trees and spreadsheets. But evolutionary psychology suggests that emotions can never fully be suppressed. That is why, for instance, even the most sensible employees cannot seem to receive feedback in the constructive vein in which it is often given. Because of the primacy of emotions, people hear bad news first and loudest."

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37 minutes ago, ChainsawAkimbo said:

Ehr.. ok. You just completely denied an entire field of scientific study, evolution and few other things while at it. 

We are now completely off-topic, but that is your choice.

Real science is based on observation (as a minimum) and on repeatable experiments (ideally).  No one has ever observed any of our supposed caveman ancestors, and no one has ever conducted any experiments involving them.  Therefore, whatever you think cavemen got up to is speculation at best.

In future, please do not use the word scientific unless you use it correctly.

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1 hour ago, salmonellapancake said:

I feel as if this thread ended up defeating the purpose of celebrating women in metal on International Women's Day.

I honestly don't think that was ever the point of the thread in the first place.  However, you idea sounds infinitely better.

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16 hours ago, salmonellapancake said:

I feel as if this thread ended up defeating the purpose of celebrating women in metal on International Women's Day.

The thread was indeed intended to celebrate women in metal, but also to observe that women in metal tend not to be instrumentalists.  It was intended to provoke a debate, although not quite the debate that we have actually had.

 

 

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53 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

This isn't a debate. You're just offering rhetoric and personal observations to back up your armchair musings and trying to bat down anyone who seems to have a different view. Can't call it a celebration either, the only thing you seem to be celebrating is your own writing.

 

FA, I am honestly surprised that you have reacted to this thread in the way you have.

Yes, I opened the thread by offering my own point of view, but that is normal for forums that I have been active on in the past.  Sometimes people open a thread by asking a question, but sometimes they throw out their point of view as a way of inviting comment.

I am grateful to Balor for offering his own point of view, but I didn’t really find him persuasive.  That does not mean I was hoping or expecting to disagree with him (or indeed with anyone).

You have misunderstood me about the Ed Sheeran effect.  I was not thinking of sex appeal, but merely of the fact that lots of women like his music.  I may be wrong, but I would be very surprised if women buying guitars has nothing to do with them liking Ed Sheeran’s music.  When I see young women busking, they always seem to be playing acoustic guitars.  Right now I can’t think of an exception.

I may be wrong about the number of women in metal, and their tendency to be vocalists rather than instrumentalists.  I admit that I have no hard data on the subject, and I am sure many people on this forum know of lots of metal bands which I know nothing about.  Nevertheless, you do agree with me that women are underrepresented.

I have admitted in a previous post that I was maybe stretching the point with regards to hand size, but hear me out on this.  I have large hands.  I can hammer on over a distance of three frets, or four frets if I go further along the fingerboard.  Can someone with small hands do that?  I have trouble playing barre chords beyond the tenth fret, because my fingers are large and the spaces between the frets small.  Would someone with small hands find barring easier beyond the tenth fret?

I completely take your point that it might seem bizarre that men with large hands play the mandolin.  As it happens, I tried playing the mandolin some years back, but gave up.  It was not really my instrument.  Nevertheless, a lot of men (and women) play the mandolin in bluegrass bands in the USA.

I stand by my comments in reply to ChainsawAkimbo.  Real science is indeed based on observation, and ideally also on experiments.  His ideas about our supposed caveman ancestors are merely speculation.

In recent years I have donated money to or bought merchandise from Motion Device, The Warning, The Sixsters, Frozen Crown, Camille and Kennerly, and Liliac.  So yes I do celebrate women in metal.

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Speaking as a female, I personally dislike most female vocals in metal, maybe because the overwhelming majority tend to front symphonic bands and that's just not my jam. But even something like Arch Enemy just doesn't sit right with me (I mean that could potentially be because I'm not much into melodeath either, but I digress). Deeper voices just sound much better to my ear in this context.

I would love to see a woman kick ass behind a drum kit in a black metal band or some other extreme subgenre, though. That's what I'd like to see. 

To shed some light perhaps on the smaller hands argument - I tried to learn bass several years ago, but I have tiny little doll hands so switched to guitar fairly quickly and was amazed at how much easier the guitar was for me to handle because of the smaller frets and shorter, thinner neck. I don't think that's a reason most women in metal tend to be vocalists, but perhaps maybe why there aren't too many female bassists. That being said, even someone with tiny hands like myself could master the bass after building up lots of finger strength (was more of an issue than the width between my fingers but that was also a struggle if I'm being completely honest). I still don't think that's the main reason though. I'm very petite so theoretically anyone - even other women - who have bigger hands than I do (in other words, basically everyone except children younger than 12 or people with physical limitations) wouldn't be struggling as much with the bass as I was. Certainly if I can reach the frets on a guitar, just about anyone can. 

I think many women tend to be vocalists - or some metal bands tend to recruit them - is more to do with a specific image or sound they are trying to achieve. Hence why most of them front symphonic bands. Of course there's always the possibility (and there is no doubt in my mind) that some bands want female vocalists as a sort of marketing gimmick ("come see us, we have a hot chick in a corset for you to stare at for an hour!") But symphonic metal and similar subgenres like power metal or folk metal also tend to be more accessible to women because the subject matter itself is more accessible in general - it's not really angry or aggressive and it doesn't delve into seriously deep shit like disillusionment with the world or a sense of isolation from humanity, something that most men probably don't relate to either, but for those that do, they're probably more readily able to embrace it because they won't be immediately dismissed as "crazy" if they do.

As far as women playing metal? I would say that probably comes down to social conditioning. No one is going to have an interest in metal unless they can relate to the subject matter or thematic content, and that tends to be more accessible to men. Girls are still raised to be demure and compliant and to go about our lives with a smile, to be friendly, social creatures, to never express that we're sad or pissed off about anything, to quash any feelings of aggression or rebellion, to be overly concerned with being attractive and feminine so that we can gEt MaRRieD aNd hAvE BaBiEs as the most important goal in our lives and (gasp!) what the average dude might think of us if we don't uphold the feminine ideal, and most women never really break out of that mindset. So for a woman to say "fuck this shit" and pick up a guitar or another instrument and play death metal or whatever instead of whatever their female friends listen to or what music they were taught to like requires quite a different temperament and personality from what has forever been groomed and ingrained by society since birth, as well as perhaps the rejection of any fear of alienation from other women. I can't speak for anyone else but I've always felt like I can relate to men more and I generally feel more comfortable in the company of men because pretty much all of my interests fall squarely in the realm of the traditionally "masculine", so perhaps I'm not the best person to ask about this, as I definitely don't represent the typical woman (whatever the hell that means). These are simply my observations and experiences.      

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3 minutes ago, Depraved said:

 

As far as women playing metal? I would say that probably comes down to social conditioning. No one is going to have an interest in metal unless they can relate to the subject matter or thematic content, and that tends to be more accessible to men. Girls are still raised to be demure and compliant and to go about our lives with a smile, to be friendly, social creatures, to never express that we're sad or pissed off about anything, to quash any feelings of aggression or rebellion, to be overly concerned with being attractive and feminine so that we can gEt MaRRieD aNd hAvE BaBiEs as the most important goal in our lives, and most women never really break out of that mindset. So for a woman to say "fuck this shit" and pick up a guitar and play death metal or whatever requires quite a different temperament and personality from what has forever been groomed and ingrained by society since birth, as well as perhaps the rejection of any fear of alienation from other women.

This is pretty similar to what my wife and one of my friends said when I brought it up to them. My friend (a female bassist and songwriter in a metal band, as it happens) had this to say about learning instruments: "I think like an abundance of other skills out there, it wasn't pressed upon too many girls at an early age to develop skills and interests. I grew up with girls whose parents basically taught them to have good etiquette, learn how to look pretty, and MAYBE develop socially approved "feminine" skills like dancing, etc. sadly, not too many girls are taught how to play electric guitar, drums, bass etc. at an early age. I was lucky my dad was a musician and despite his flaws that's one thing he did right was taught me how to play from an early age." She also mentioned the prevalence of "wow, you're a good player for a woman" comments, and how that makes her feel like she's in a separate and somehow lesser category. I could imagine both of those being really annoying bars to clear, that male musicians don't have to worry about.

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12 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

This is pretty similar to what my wife and one of my friends said when I brought it up to them. My friend (a female bassist and songwriter in a metal band, as it happens) had this to say about learning instruments: "I think like an abundance of other skills out there, it wasn't pressed upon too many girls at an early age to develop skills and interests. I grew up with girls whose parents basically taught them to have good etiquette, learn how to look pretty, and MAYBE develop socially approved "feminine" skills like dancing, etc. sadly, not too many girls are taught how to play electric guitar, drums, bass etc. at an early age. I was lucky my dad was a musician and despite his flaws that's one thing he did right was taught me how to play from an early age." She also mentioned the prevalence of "wow, you're a good player for a woman" comments, and how that makes her feel like she's in a separate and somehow lesser category. I could imagine both of those being really annoying bars to clear, that male musicians don't have to worry about.

Yeah, exactly. When I was a kid, my parents gave both my brother and myself piano lessons. But when my brother wanted to give up piano and learn to play drums instead, they had no problem with that, whereas my mother especially wanted me to stick with piano as it was "much more becoming for a lady" *eyeroll*. In my experiences also, a lot of guitar teachers won't really take female students seriously. If I struggled with something, it was because I was lazy or incapable, apparently, but male students are given much more time and attention to get it right because "they're actually serious about it". I was always treated like an annoyance by the teachers I had when I was trying to learn bass (who were terrible teachers anyway, in retrospect) and I think that's also part of the reason I gave up bass in the first place. I was made to feel like I couldn't do it and they were very defeating about it and like how dare I even try, right? It didn't help that they convinced me to learn to play right-handed when I'm naturally left-handed and so progress was basically non-existent. When I switched to guitar, I bought myself a left-handed Schecter on clearance with my tax return money and resolved to teach myself, and it's been a much better experience to just fumble my way through it and watch youtube videos about technique instead of getting yelled at or have to deal with snarky remarks for not being a prodigy as soon as I touched the instrument. I mean I'm still terrible and sound like a rusty toaster and I haven't even picked it up in an embarrassingly long time because I fucked up my shoulder but there's not this overwhelming sense of "I'll never be able to learn how to play because I'm a girl".

I hate those "...for a woman" comments also. Even shit like "I've never seen a woman headbang like that" when I go to concerts, like they're all surprised. Yeah, and what were you expecting me to do? Stand still in front of the stage all stone-faced with my arms crossed, you know, like all those guys you see on either side of me while the band is playing their hearts out and tearing it up? Shit, you couldn't pay me to stand still when I go see bands I really like, I end up completely exhausting myself by the time their set is over. Of course, but if I were to just stand there, then I'd be fending off other stupid comments like "obviously you're not here for the music". It's kind of being damned if you do and damned if you don't. Though in my experiences at smaller shows in my area at least, guys tend to just ignore me. Which is an improvement. It's really sad to have to say that being ignored and not spoken to at all is an improvement, but if they do say something, I can tell you they will never have anything good to say. I'd rather be treated like I'm not even there at all. (The fans, not the musicians; the musicians I've met have more or less been on their best behavior.)

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This might be an unnecessary bump, but I find topics like this to be very interesting and on a personal note I kind of feel the need to air a few mild grievances I have had with some parts of the metal community which, much as we may be tnankful for it, has had its fair share of problems like any collection of people.

Just one thing I'd like to point out beforehand is that I think you have a slightly malformed question. When talking about subjects that are this complicated, as social subjects tend to be, you can't just look for one singular reason. It's likely to be a combination of several things that were mentioned ITT.

Biology by itself cannot explain the effects we have seen. Biologically, I don't think women have changed much in the past century, and yet if we take the last hundred years into account we will see enormous differences in the types of interests that women have expressed. There are more women getting into stem fields, getting into combat sports or even just sports in general, they have become a sizable demographic in the video game industry....the list goes on. As I said previously, in terms of biology women haven't changed much in the past century, so I don't think this aspect will contribute much if at all to the disparity. What has changed is the culture. We live in a post-civil rights era where individuality and self-determination are valued above erroneous moral principles that pretend to derive themselves from nature. Even still, after all of that, we're still trying to outgrow some outdated preconceptions of what a man or a woman should be. That said, I'm sure there may be some aspects that act as minor inhibitions - smaller fingers, less fast-twitch muscles, etc - but I don't think these would be enough to account for such a large disparity when we know the average metal musician isn't playing a 666 bpm blast beat on a quadruple bass pedal. Typically, metal isn't a competitive sport, lol.

When considering culture, you also need to take into account what culture has surrounded metal itself and the type of effect this may have. For a long time and even still today there is a great amount of negative stigma that surrounds the genre of metal. Everyone here knows that well. If you grew up around kids who were both religious and ignorant or you had adult figures who were equally closed off to new ideas, you certainly knew that stigma. "It's just noise", "you're summoning the devil", "smart kids shouldn't listen to stuff like this, they should listen to Mozart", on and on. So, already out of the gate even if you're a guy you were going to get comments like this if you had such environments. If you add on top of that the type of expectations that will be put on you as a girl, you are just completely fucked, lol. 

These views aren't that prevalent any more, but at the time that Simone Simons was growing up it was way worse than when I was in high school getting crap over my proud ownership of a Death Magnetic CD - which, granted, anyone who stans that album unironically deserves to get bullied BUT STILL, it wouldnt have made a difference if it was DM or Lightning. 

That said, this does segway into my next point over how cartoonishly toxic some parts of the metal fanbase itself tends to be at times......I understand that the whole general idea of being a social pariah has been effectively romanticized and is sort of an essential and (in my opinion) unfortunate hallmark for some metalheads, but this whole attitude of "you're not a real metalhead if you listen to x and y or you dont do z" can honestly be kind of ridiculous. These expectations make it especially hard if you're some poor newb who just wants to casually jam out to some A7x and tbh I think this is why metal can be completely inaccessible to most people. There are some beautiful acts in metal that are just master classes in everything from tonality to rhythmic complexity, but at times the fanbases of these acts can be too....fanbase-y. And that can really turn off potential metalheads from even listening to the crazier stuff when they're being told their tastes are wrong, let alone getting into it enough to want to become an artist in such a genre. Art is meant to be shared and enjoyed. If we want these ideas to survive beyond our times, we are going about it completely wrong.

All things considered, it's a wonder we have frontwomen like Angela Gloddow and Alissa White. There is such an insane amount of pressure that works against you, doubly so if you're a woman, that I do think should be examined because it does reach a point of legitimate concern at times. All of us are here, sure, and I'm sure none of us care what anyone says about our tastes or how we look or what have you, but not everyone is the same way or grew up in the same circumstances, and we won't all have the same priorities as a result. If we truly want to carry forward the same spirit of self-determination and encourage everyone to be who they are, then we should be more critical of attitudes that only serve as barriers.

One final point before I end this long rambling post: about your observation over more frontwomen as opposed to instrumentalist, my hypothesis would be that this is a feedback loop effect. To put it simply:

new girl sees metal frontwoman -> girl grows and becomes a frontwoman -> new girl sees metal frontwoman

In a highly selective and risky business like music -  especially metal where female role models are even rarer - I think this is a likely explanation. Girls grew up seeing women singing and fronting an otherwise all-male band. This has predated even the existence of metal itself. Thus this can pretty strongly influence the kind of image they will have for themselves to pursue, and in turn will influence their fans once they grow up and fulfill their own dreams.

 

hope this was an insightful post, and hope i dont get banned for necro if this counts as that. sorry if it does, but Im just very interested in this subject and wanted to put my thoughts here

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    • Whichever tier of thrash metal you consigned Sacred Reich back in the 80's/90's they still had their moments.  "Ignorance" & "Surf Nicaragura" did a great job of establishing the band, whereas "The American Way" just got a little to comfortable and accessible (the title track grates nowadays) for my ears.  A couple more records better left forgotten about and then nothing for twenty three years.  2019 alone has now seen three releases from Phil Rind and co.  A live EP, a split EP with Iron Reagan and now a full length.

      Notable addition to the ranks for the current throng of releases is former Machine Head sticksman, Dave McClean.  Love or hate Machine Head, McClean is a more than capable drummer and his presence here is felt from the off with the opening and title track kicking things off with some real gusto.  'Divide & Conquer' and 'Salvation' muddle along nicely, never quite reaching any quality that would make my balls tingle but comfortable enough.  The looming build to 'Manifest Reality' delivers a real punch when the song starts proper.  Frenzied riffs and drums with shots of lead work to hold the interest.


      There's a problem already though (I know, I am such a fucking mood hoover).  I don't like Phil's vocals.  I never had if I am being honest.  The aggression to them seems a little forced even when they are at their best on tracks like 'Manifest Reality'.  When he tries to sing it just feels weak though ('Salvation') and tracks lose real punch.  Give him a riffy number such as 'Killing Machine' and he is fine with the Reich engine (probably a poor choice of phrase) up in sixth gear.  For every thrashy riff there's a fair share of rock edged, local bar act rhythm aplenty too.

      Let's not poo-poo proceedings though, because overall I actually enjoy "Awakening".  It is stacked full of catchy riffs that are sticky on the old ears.  Whilst not as raw as perhaps the - brilliant - artwork suggests with its black and white, tattoo flash sheet style design it is enjoyable enough.  Yes, 'Death Valley' & 'Something to Believe' have no place here, saved only by Arnett and Radziwill's lead work but 'Revolution' is a fucking 80's thrash heyday throwback to the extent that if you turn the TV on during it you might catch a new episode of Cheers!

      3/5
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    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/52-vltimas-something-wicked-marches-in/
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    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/50-queensryche-the-verdict/
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    • https://www.metalforum.com/blogs/entry/48-candlemass-the-door-to-doom/
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