These days chick lead singers are commonplace. Because I am an old curmudgeon, I remember when they were a rarity. Back in the 90s it was a new and novel thing for a heavy metal band to have a woman sing. The Gathering switched from a Celtic Frost style band with Always to a different style when they added a woman singer (I bought my copy of Always for 99 cents, but I think I lost it, oh well). It worked well on Mandylion and Nighttime Birds. Then they turned into Pink Floyd stoners and I lost interest. But they were one of the first heavy metal bands of the 90s to have success with a woman singer, and I actually liked them.
Did you like her batusi dance? I did!
Some other forgotten lady singer bands have gone by the wayside. I have a soft spot for Crisis. Fronted by Karyn Crisis, they were a bit death metal and large parts hardcore, but back in the 90s when death metal was largely Florida style and hardcore was more like Earth Crisis. Hey, they both have Crisis in the name. She also did singing mixed with grunting, which is very popular now but new back then.
I usually am not a fan of the hardcore style, so I was never a Crisis fan, but I recognized what they did for what it was. Some people probably owe a debt to Karyn Crisis but don't know it.
As I said, before them there wasn't much. The only semi-popular group I can think of is Doro, 80s group fronted by Doro Pesch. I always thought of Doro as being more like Judas Priest and Accept. For me they were too mid paced and I was not a fan, but I still can respect what they did.
After Nightwish, a glut of ladies' metal bands emerged, which I have talked about before. I think that because of Nightwish's success, and the way that their singer joined the band, it was easy for a bunch of guys to recruit women from opera schools to moonlight in power metal bands. Before this, it was rebellious women with problems starting bands rather than joining them. Forgotten along the way was Tura Satana.
Again, I was never a fan of their music, but I remember them coming up at the time when the Gathering was starting to sell records and get noticed. But I guess they deserve mention because they were part of something new, though I don't recall them ever being popular.
Do you remember the Awakening: Females in Extreme Music compilation? By the late 90s women were either sidekicks in real bands, like Opera 9, Therion, and Theater of Tragedy, or fronting bands that were going for something more than novelty. No offense to earlier bands, but I had always thought Anneke joined the Gathering because they needed a singer and she was dating someone in the band. She wasn't really a metalhead, nor was Tarja from Nightwish. So you shouldn't be surprised that they are not in the band anymore or in the band but not playing metal.
I was always hopeful about chick singers for several reasons. One, it is easy on the eyes to watch a band whose singer has boobs. Two, I think women have pretty voices as well, so much so that even an average singer can pass off well in a metal band. I'd rather hear an average woman sing than an average man. Finally, more women singers would naturally attract more women to heavy metal, and increase my odds of meeting a gal. Remember, life is essentially a numbers game, and if you went too far into the "subculture", you were dooming yourself to life as a eunuch. Now I am old and don't care. Most of the bands with women singers didn't pan out. I don't want to be a part of any subculture anymore, and I date a woman that doesn't like heavy metal. And its an experiment that's most popular result was this:
Sad, I know.
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane into the 1990s, when the ratio of guys to gals at any concert was about 9:1, and of that 10% most were there with a boyfriend. I don't know what the ratio is like today, but I hear it is closer to a 60:40 equilibrium. Strange times indeed.