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Female Pioneers in Metal

Otep Shamaya

Otep Shamaya

By Adam Steininger

In metal, a genre teeming with testosterone, women are defying stereotypes and kicking ass with the best of them. Here are our picks for the ten most ferocious female pioneers in the genre.

10. Sean Yseult of White Zombie

Sean Yseult was the first woman in a metal band who was seen more as just a member of the group, rather than being singled out for being female.

9. Kittie

The Lander sisters (Mercedes on drums, Morgan on vocals) started their metal band and released their debut album Spit when they were in their mid-teens. Kittie can be credited as part of the new wave of all-female metal bands, inspiring a whole new generation of women.

8. Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy

Angela Gossow puts growling vocals at the front of her arsenal, as head of death metal band Arch Enemy. She's slowly dragging metal into the 21st century.

7. Tarja Turunen

Most classically trained operatic vocalists pursue greatness on a grand stage. But before breaking off in 2006 to pursue a solo career, Tarja Turunen was a highly influential and powerful singer in the band Nightwish, a driving force in the symphonic-metal movement of the mid-'90s.

6. Otep Shamaya

Otep Shamaya has deep growling grunts and brash lyrics. Known for her lyrics condoning aggression toward men, Shamaya has repeatedly spoken out about her avant-garde principles. "I am an equal-opportunity dispenser of rage," she says.

See also: Otep: Powerful and Vicious

5. Kate De Lombaert

In Belgium there was a black-metal band in the '80s called Acid that was fronted by Kate De Lombaert, who sang about sex, hell, demons and Satan. The band entered the scene at a time when speedy thrash metal was on the rise. Kate De Lombaert's presence made it clear that women were getting involved in more aggressive metal.

4. Dawn Crosby

An underground heroine in the thrash-metal scene with the bands D├ętente and Fear of God, Dawn Crosby was a thrash-metal frontwoman with sandpaper vocals. She raised the bar for aggression as a woman who didn't just cower in the background but was an impulsive and moody vocalist in her own right. As a charismatic force on and off stage, she devoted much focus to her band and the music industry.

3. Doro Pesch

Doro was the first popular female metal badass in the '80s with Warlock, known for her vocal musicianship. For what it's worth, just about every guy walking has had the hots for her.

2. Girlschool

For more than thirty years, this British new-wave metal band has led the charge as the first successful all-female metal band. Establishing roots in the late '70s, Girlschool has worked hard to be respected as metal musicians. In the process, the act has made a strong statement about gender equality.

1. The Runaways

Pure metal they were not. Still, delivering hard rock with a "fuck you" attitude, The Runaways weren't afraid to push back, and their rebelliousness embodied the essence and spirit of metal.

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