Being International Women's Day 2021, we here at Maniacs are sending a massive shout-out to all the amazing women who help make heavy music the awesome community we love so much.
It's no secret that there are plenty of amazing bands with talented female musicians killing it, but this year we thought we would introduce you to some bands you may not have listened to before!
Cthonic might be one of the most influential metal bands to ever come out of Taiwan since forming in 1995, having released eight albums of politically-charged, epic death metal with a distinctive Asian feel about it. Bassist Doris Yeh has been slaying on bass and backup vocal duties since 1999. She also became Cthonic's spokesperson and business manager for the last decade, too. Badass!
Like Cthonic, Japanese noise rock trio Boris have been around for quite a while - since 1992, to be exact - and all three of their current members have been playing together from the very start. Guitarist Wata's undeniable energy and talent has had a profound impact on different corners of sludge, doom and experimental rock/metal, and she is frequently regarded as one of the most respected guitarists out there.
Not bad considering she hadn't picked up a guitar until she was 16!
Belgium has been a hub for brilliant blackened hardcore, and Oathbreaker are one of the finest on offer. Equal parts beautiful and terrifying, they do an unreal job of creating a serious atmosphere.
Caro Tanghe's vocals are the most powerful aspect of the band, with her ability to move between delicate, haunting clean vocals and banshee-like wailing and screeching that will give goosebumps to anyone listening.
Check out the double track '10:56/Second Son Of R.' below to see what we mean,- a particular highlight being Caro's desperate screeching at the 7:30 mark.
Myrkur is a Danish folk/black metal band masterminded by Amalie Bruun, who performed all the bass, guitar and vocals on her debut self-titled EP, before recruiting a session/live band to continue carrying the project forward.
Her music is a unique blend of bleak Norwegian black metal and more with strings, horns, and her haunting vocals. It's a delicate balance between light and dark, and her work has earned her a dedicated fanbase around the world.
Kristin Hayter creates under the moniker Lingua Ignota and is honestly one of the most unsettling, disturbing and yet cathartic artists out there. Her work isn't easy listening by any stretch, but it's not meant to be - harsh noise, guttural screaming and hyperventilation is met with operatic singing and ceremonial atmosphere makes for some seriously intense stuff.
When you couple it with the fact that Kristin draws on experiences of surviving domestic violence for her lyrics and music, it sits on its own level of art altogether. Massive respect.
For those who like their metal slow, fuzzy and doom-laden, it's hard to go past American riff-lords Windhand, who are able to churn out both crushing tunes and almost folky ballads, creating a fantastically dark atmosphere. Dorthia Cottrell's dreamy and brooding vocals are a perfect accompaniment, and it's pretty safe to say that the band wouldn't be the same without her.
The band have released four albums to date, and Dorthia also released her own self-titled solo acoustic album in 2015. Check these guys out if you're into bands like Sleep, Eyehategod and Electric Wizard!
On the other end of the speed spectrum lies Michigan's Cloud Rat, whose unrelenting and incendiary grindpunk is powered by the gut-wrenching screams of Madison Marshall.
Menacing sections of blast beats, d-beats and evil riffs are met with flashes of melody and atmosphere for a truly visceral experience. While a lot of grind vocals are tough to listen to over the course of an entire album, Madison is able to produce a raw and authentic performance that stays engaging throughout.
It wasn't entirely uncommon to see misogyny in a lot of early death metal, so it speaks to reason that Venom Prison tackle it, among other global injustices, head on with some seriously pummeling death metal of their own!
Larissa Stupar is not afraid of touching on some pretty messed up themes including rape culture, fascism and mental health. Kerrang! hailed he as "metal's most important - and uncompromising - voice", and we couldn't agree more. In our interview with Larissa, said:
"Women in metal and heavy music generally are being take more seriously and have a wider representation but I think there will also always be people who don’t like to see this kind of development. But you know what? Fuck them."
We're still gutted that Wales' Venom Prison never made it out to Australia for Download 2020 (eff you, COVID), but hopefully it won't be too long before they're out here again.
Alright, Bolt Thrower may be a little more well-known than others on this list, but that doesn't stop them from being fucking awesome! Easily one of the most consistent and influential death metal/thrash bands ever, Bolt Thrower are the band you put on if you need something that will get your head banging straight away, every single time.
Bassist Jo Bench appeared on every single Bolt Thrower album, remaining in the band from 1987 up until their split in 2016. If you've ever watched her play live too, you'll know just how badass she is.
Finally we have the sludgy, psychedelic and dark metal titans Kylesa - again, a few readers may have already heard this band, but they're just too good to not include. Kylesa formed in 2001, releasing seven albums until their indefinite hiatus in 2016, the band manage to wrap up decades of metal influence in one cohesive package.
Laura Pleasant's ethereal vocals contrast beautifully with Phillip Cope's more aggressive voice, all underpinned by a concoction of thrash, doom, hardcore and more that wind their way through Kylesa's dynamic sound.