Despite the fact that there are some excellent female-fronted extreme metal bands these days, the genre is still often thought of as a macho, testosterone-fueled aggression pit. The comment sections of popular metal websites like Blabbermouth are full of locker-room talk (or worse) whenever they run an article about a female metal vocalist.
But Elizabeth Schall, the vocalist/guitarist for Dreaming Dead -- who play tonight at the Echoplex -- says her gender hasn't limited her. "I think it's mainly just because I disregard it," she says, speaking from her Echo Park apartment. "I like to think I live in a world where my gender has nothing to do with what I am capable of doing. You go onto YouTube and see 13-year old girls shredding out on metal songs."
"I like to think we're to the point where your music speaks for yourself," she continues. "Nothing beyond a fad is going to come because you put your vag in a picture. The sincere metal fans can pick that apart."
"The metal scene feels like home to me. It's like when you live with your parents and siblings, you don't think of things like 'I'm a girl and I'm a guy.'"
Though the follow-up to their stellar 2009 debut Within One -- called Midnightmares -- was due last Halloween, it still has not seen the light of day.
"We were at the end of mixing the album," Schall explains of the work, which features her ferocious bark anchoring a wicked brew of blackened thrash metal. "Labels started approaching us two weeks before the release date was coming, so we decided to hold off on releasing it. Unfortunately we didn't come to any agreements with those labels, but we decided to take more time to get it exactly how we want it to sound for when we release it ourselves."
Dreaming Dead now has set an April 20th album release for Midnightmares. Their local fans will get a chance to experience the new songs much sooner, when they open for Nunslaughter and Sadistic Intent tonight.
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On Within One, Schall alternated between high-pitched black metal shrieks and guttural death growls. Midnightmares features a slightly more progressive touch to the band's sonic assault, with Schall settling firmly into the lower-end.
"Even from the beginning with our debut EP, my vocals were a lot higher. I stuck to the highs because that was my comfort zone. I stepped back on this album, as we wanted to add a little more color and depth to the tone of the songs themselves."
Schall does not fit the mold of the ogre-ish brutes that normally are the stereotype of the typical death metal vocalist, but her bark has just as much bite.