My Favorite Extreme Female Vocalists

Until recently the metal singer was simply the the ugly, male dominated voice of metal. With female singers being almost common place nowadays, I thought I’d take a lot of some of my favorite female vocalists in metal, both old and new and the bands they play or played. Once considered merely eye candy for Goth metal bands, female singers are now growling screaming and rocking as hard as thier male conterparts, and far easier on the eye. The ones listed below deserve more than “hottest chicks in metal” spread in Decibel Magazine as they bring the vocal thunder and have helped bring women further into previously un-thought of territory.

Whats next? Allowing them to vote?

by Erik T

Karyn Crisis – Crisis
Arguably the trailblazer for women’s involvement in metal, Karyn fronted the caustic thrash/hardcore act Crisis from the early 90s until their final album in 2004. Now with her own line of women’s clothing/leatherwear, many of the ladies listed below have Karyn Crisis to thank for opening the door for women to be as extreme, violent and hateful as their male counterparts. She may not have been the first truly extreme female vocalist, but she certainly made the metal world listen.

Angela Gossow – Arch Enemy
The poster child for women in metal, Angela Gossow stunned the metal world when she was announced as the replacement for Johan Axelsson in fast rising melodic death metal band featuring the famous Amott brothers. Then she proceeded to shred her larynx and preconceptions of beautiful female metal singers on 2000s Wages of Sin, giving a huge middle finger to Goth metal trophy singers al over the world and essentially opening the floodgates for female singers in extreme music. True story- Angela and I actually got into a heated E-mail argument after I called her a ‘trophy singer’ in a Walls of Jericho review back in the Digitalmetal days. She ended up being super nice about it all.

Rachel Heyzer – Sinister
Anytime a female singer sounds like a dude and you go for weeks not knowing the singer was a female, she has done a good job. After serving in middling Dutch act Occult, Heyzer lent her throat to long running death metal veterans Sinister for 2001s Creative Killings and 2003s Savage or Grace and I was none the wiser until I actually read the inlay card for the CD. A true veteran of death metal Heyzer has also served in Pathology, Sinister off shoot Infinited Hate and deserves credit for her work in the genre and gruff demonic vocals.

Laura Nichol– Light This City
Arguably the best of the new or current female screamers, Nichol recently called it quits, but her four album legacy as the front-woman for Light This City, should be looked back on as the American equivalent to Gossow-feral and fierce yet beautiful and eloquent, I look forward to whatever project she throws herself into.

Grace Perry – Landmine Marathon
One could argue that Grace Perry and Landmine Marathon is the hair apparent to Light This City as their second recently released album, Rusted Eyes Awake, not only shows a drastic improvement in the band’s songwriting, but makes the argument that Perry might be the most purely vicious active singer on this list.

Michelle Proffit – Hiretsukan
Unfortunately; Hirestsukan are no more, but their one album, 2005s brilliant End States, stands as one of the most blistering, emotional female vocal performances I’ve ever heard, seeping angst and fury out of every screech and wail, coupled with the music’s, jangly, simplistic throes. The track “Tight Not Touching”, five years later, remains one of my very favorite female fronted pieces of metal music.

Candace Kucsulain – Walls of Jericho
Like Laura Nichol, Kucsulain was one of the first new wave of female singers in metal starting with 2000s little The Bound Feed the Gagged, and really taking off after a 4 year hiatus with 2004s All Hail the Dead and 2006s With Devils Amongst Us All, Walls of Jericho took off with Ozzfest appearances and tracks on MTVs Headbangers Ball Compilations-in part due to Kucsulain. However, clean vocals and ballads started to appear on the band’s albums, and a purely acoustic EP (Redemption) mars an otherwise blistering voice and stage presence.

Julie Christmas – Made out of Babies
I first became aware of Julie Christmas and Made Out of Babies on the bands second album, 2006s Coward, and I literally worried about her mental well being as she is arguably the most pain filled, twisted and disturbed singer on this list, whose vocal works comes across like a battered spouse facing her abuser while on PMS.
Kathy Coppola – Circle Takes the Square
Here’s another gal, Like Julie Christmas who shifts from utterly rending screams to psychotic spoken words and whispers. Though as polarizing as the bands debut As The Roots Undo was back in 2004 (I still happen to think it’s a masterpiece), the shifting tortured shrieks and haunting croons of Coppola make for a disturbing listen. However, Coppola gets points deducted for making wait almost 5 years for a follow up…..
Krysta Cameron – Iwrestledabearonce
The “rookie” on this list, Cameron has garnered a lot of attention recently in light of this video, but also because she is cute as a button and can bellow with the best deathcore singers in the genre. Though she may be marginally larger than Whitechapel’s Phil Bozeman, she has the same set of lungs and can turn around and drop catchy pop clean vocals on a dime.  

Honorable mentions go to Runhild Gammelsæter (Thorrs Hammer), Dana Duffy (Mythic, Demonic Christ), Corinne van der Brand – (Acrostichon), Ally French (Bloodlined Calligraphy), Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) and Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth)….



  1. Commented by: Jeff Kent

    Julie Christmas sings one song on the new Spylacopa EP. She’ll be featured more prominently on future recordings I believe.

  2. Commented by: Adam

    faves among those not mentioned would be Amber Valentine – Jucifer – great at the grisly undelicate growling, and the pop vocals, and a lot of weird in between. Also, Laura Pleasants – Kylesa – so intense, layered in with male vocalists, she’s as strong or stronger, but still distinctly female.

    Julie Christmas is definitely my fav, though. Battle of Mice should be mentioned as well.

  3. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Like Erik says, Dani Filth is the best female growler ever. AAAA-HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH.

    Favorites: Julie Christmas and Karyn Crisis. Check out Tymah for another female growler you could mistake for a dude.

  4. Commented by: Teufel

    I’ve always been a big Karyn Crisis fan. Zdenka Prado of Estuary is one of the best female vocalists, for death metal anyway.

  5. Commented by: Grimulfr

    Kriegtalith of Darkestrah

  6. Commented by: vugelnox

    wow no ADORIOR or LUDICRA??

    imo when it comes to great female vocalists utilizing a harsher style and no clean vocals, Adorior’s vocalist Melissa easily trumps all the above listed choices. Check out their vicious 2005 album Author of Incest and see what I mean. My personal vote for best extreme female vocalist ever. The band is top-shelf death metal too.

    Also I’d put Ludicra’s Laurie Sue Shanaman above a good percentage of the listed bands as well. Not to mention Ludicra as a band are goddamn fantastic.

  7. Commented by: Dan Zidar

    Lori Bravo was the only one that mattered.

  8. Commented by: Kenny

    Dominique Persi of Stolen Babies has a vicious scream

  9. Commented by: FSOverCrooks

    No Marie-Helene Landry?
    She kills most of the people on this list just listen to Consumed By Your Poison.

  10. Commented by: Storm King

    The Dani Filth line made me do a double take and then bust a gut laughing. Well done.

  11. Commented by: Jobby

    Melanie Mongeon from Fuck the Facts ain’t bad either.

  12. Commented by: Gobledy

    Some great bands mentioned, but I have to agree that some amazing vocalist were left out. Marie-Helene Landry is perhaps one of the best growlers out there! Other amazing females in death metal include Mallika from Abnormality, Nina Saile from At Odds With God, Zdenka Prado from Estuary, Christine P. Newman from Pyrrah, Jill McEntee from Funerus and Rita, the ex-vocalist of Mortal Torment. Not that the women you mentioned aren’t good vocalists, but I thought I would throw some out there that are less known, yet amazingly talented.

  13. Commented by: Dismembered

    Dana Duffey> whoever. She puts some male vocalists to shame.

    – Mythic & Derketa & Demonic Christ –

  14. Commented by: scooter

    What about Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist? She has good death growls, black screams, and sings well with clean vocals too! Plus she’s way hot!!

  15. Commented by: faust666

    dani filth.. hahahaha

  16. Commented by: Zimba


  17. Commented by: Griguthul

    Cadaveria from CADAVERIA & Opera IX!

  18. Commented by: greg

    candice clot – eths.

  19. Commented by: Rev

    Who the hell is Johan Axelsson, and when did he sing for Arch Enemy?

  20. Commented by: erik thomas

    Aka Johann liiva

  21. Commented by: neshaa

    try from us to sunset she is more hardcore than all of these bands


  22. Commented by: Jack Roberts

    Raquel Walker of Liquid Graveyard. Simply awesome. Deep growls and all kinds of insane vocals. She can also sing clean, pretty well. The most complete singer IMO.

  23. Commented by: Andre Sisniega

    Hey you should relly listen From Us To Sunset!! That Chick makes some amazingly brutal and low growls that you wont believe that she is actually a chick… XD and their music is so fucking evil, darkened and original you should give them a try, you wont regret it…

  24. Commented by: Amebix87

    Decibel didn’t publish hottest chicks in metal, Revolver did. And this list needs an update, there is about 50 more women singing, playing guitar, bass, and drums that slay.

  25. Commented by: Chris

    Listen to The Other Side – by The Army We Have on #SoundCloud

Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.