11 Women In Heavy Metal & Hard Rock Who Matter

No.2 Otep Shamaya


“I am an equal-opportunity dispenser of rage.” How can you not respect that? On one hand, that gives Otep Shamaya carte blanche to attack any demographic without repercussion. On the other hand, she’s probably wise enough to know the difference.

Musically, you can’t pigeonhole Otep. And as diverse as their sound is, it’s always intense and often surprising. Shamaya draws inspiration from art, personal strife and suffering (i.e., poverty, violence, religious persecution, etc.), and a generally shitty world. Anyone familiar with An American Prayer will also see the influence of one of the masters of premeditated spoken-word spontaneity.

Otep originally formed in 2000. In less than eight months, they had major label interest and an invitation from Sharon Osbourne to join Ozzfest, which they did for several years after.

A poet/musician, Otep Shamaya’s output has been nothing short of amazing in the last 12 years. She has five studio albums and an eBook of poetry and illustrations. It’s also no secret that she’s an activist, defending rights of animals and Americans (or are those one and the same?).

No.1 Angela Gossow

Arch Enemy

Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy is quite possibly the hardest, most badass woman in metal. Her guttural death growls define brutality and the intensity of her live performance is only matched by that of a nuclear explosion. Though she’s not the original singer of Arch Enemy (Johan Liiva was), she’s become the face, voice, and manager of the influential melodic death metal band.

Prior to Arch Enemy, Angela was in two other bands, Asmodina and Mistress. She also worked as a music journalist and interviewed Arch Enemy for her publication (she was a fan). During the interview, she handed Chris Amott a demo tape, and when Johan Liiva was asked to leave they gave her a call. Apparently, she “wiped the floor” with the other candidates.

After some intense rehearsals with the band, Angela was diagnosed with nodules and lost her voice just before they were to embark on their first tour of Japan together. Since then, she’s been careful with her voice, taking vocal training with the highly respected coach Melissa Cross and refusing to give interviews while on tour (we tried, but we did interview Michael Amott).

If you’ve ever listened to Arch Enemy, then you know that their lyrics are about freedom, the human experience, the system, the man, etc. However, Arch Enemy isn’t Angela’s personal soap box; on their most recent tour, they invited Amnesty International to open up booths at their shows (whenever possible) to help inform and educate people.

The picture painted here might give the impression that Angela has had an easy ascension in life, but as a former anorexic and bulimic (serious psychological diseases), nothing could be further from the truth. We’re glad she found the strength to get well and hope to see her fronting Arch Enemy for many more years. Fuck Yeah!

Rock Hard!

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