Playlist: Horns Up!

More often than not, I want the music that pumps through my headphones to be heavy, fast, and loud. I adore music that straddles rock and metal, those songs that sit in that sweet little pocket where the riffs are chunky and the double-kicks are plentiful, but also, where it’s possible to make out the melody and the lyrics. Those songs are my #1 jam.

I never write about heavy rock or metal on this website because this is not fuckyeahheavymetal dot com, this is a place where cute girls with acoustic guitars are in high demand. There are super talented females in the heavier genres too, and I’ve featured a handful of them in this playlist. You’ll hear tracks from two of my favorite female-fronted bands, Lacuna Coil and Guano Apes, as well as female metal goddesses Kittie. There’s also a killer track from Amodus, the only heavy rock band (I’m aware of) that’s driven by females on instruments and a guy on the mic.

If you have sensitive ears then don’t fear this music, the tracks I’ve selected fall on the lighter side of heavy rock. I’d go as far as describing them as ‘pretty’.

Horns Up!

Resonate – Cog
Roquefort – Karnivool
Negative – Amodus
Passenger (feat. Maynard) – Deftones
Heaven’s A Lie – Lacuna Coil
Lords Of The Boards – Guano Apes
Praise – Sevendust
Ænema – Tool
Disconnect & Apply – Dead Letter Circus
A Certain Shade Of Green – Incubus
Flies & Spiders – Many Machines on Nine
Vitamin R (Leading Us Along) – Chevelle
Always – The Butterfly Effect
Everything Everyway – Sunk Loto
Boom – P.O.D.
Brackish – Kittie


Add your favorite heavy rock or metal tracks in the comments below. And if you’re want to see these genres included in our music coverage more often then speak up, let me know you’re here.

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit me up on Formspring and someone on the team will make it for you.

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Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. Let me apologise beforehand, because the comment you’re about to read is sad and negative. I have a problem with the position of women in metal, which ruins metal in general for me. And I’m going to be a deb for a bit.

    First of all, it’s a personal thing. I work in the music industry and when metal bands comes over to my venue, I have to anticipate to my gender being an issue most of the time. It’s not always the case, obviously, but it has happened too often to brush it off. I am treated differently than my male colleagues. I have been told to keep my hands off the bands gear (despite the fact that my job is being there to handle it for them) and I have been on the receiving end of sexist jokes and remarks, amongst some other things. Worst experience: I was hired by this big American metal band to do merchandise for them. However, during the day, the band decided they ‘liked my looks’ and wanted me to come onstage during the show in a revealing outfit and bring over shots of liquor to the bandmembers. (Which I was supposed to accept and interpret as a big honour. I refused, obvs.)

    Secondly, metal bands that do have women in them and their fans objectify and even fetishise these female singers and view them as not much more than decorative singing sex boobs. Also, after main offenders hiphop and reggae, it’s the metal scene where I encountered the biggest amount of derogatory, bigoted gay jokes.

    • And that all just makes me very sad. Because in other aspects, metal is a very interesting scene.

      The self supporting power of the metal scene is great and admirable. The metal scene is this semi-underground musical universe parallel/alternative to the powerful Big Players in the musical field and metal fans are very engaged in metal culture. Also, I’m absolutely sure that powerful metal music fulfills a very important role in so many lonely and misunderstood teens’ lifes. And, from first hand experience, for how scary they may look, a lot of metal fans are very gentle people that do not like to cause trouble in any way. There were very little, if any fights, at the metal shows that I worked and the security at the venue where I work always praises them for that.

      • That’s the problem with commercial metal and why I try to avoid it. This makes me appreciate beening part of a metal scene that is more like a family than anything. Women are welcome and appreciated. My girlfriend plays guitar and her only occasional problem is men being intimidated and/or jealous of her because she shreds like a motherfucker (seriously, better than most men or women I’ve seen play). When her band would play I liked to watch everyone watching them and people would just stare at her frozen with their jaws dropped in amazement. She wasn’t up there being all sexy, she was plyaing guitar and people seemed to genuinely appreciate it. In fact, 80 percent of the time she had her back to the audience (she’s really shy). I’m not saying there weren’t people who wanted to sleep with her, but sexism just didn’t seem like an issue.

        I’m not trying to sound pretentious or “cool” here, but it’s all about staying underground and local. All those big metal acts playing those expensive shows are just like any other big ego rockstars out there. It’s all about the 5-8 dollar shows in local venues, warehouses, backyards, and basements.

        So don’t let your experience ruin all metal! There are still great underground bands out there who are not signed to major labels and who will still rock your socks off.

        • This. Last night when I read Paloma’s comments (most I agree with) I was going to reply and say exactly the same thing.

          i hope we’re not dating the same girl.

        • I find that in Europe women are generally more common in the metal scene in comparison to the States and that a real family culture exists (eg. Arch Enemy, Epica, Leave’s Eyes, Eluveitie, etc. are all European). I feel that in the US it’s more like a brotherhood than a family. Masculinity is way present and praised.

          Women are way more visible, as fans and artists, in the subgenres:
          – symphonic metal
          – operatic metal
          – goth metal
          – folk metal
          – power metal
          – basically metal sub genres that are way more melodic and easy on the ears

          As such they are deemed “untrue” metal and definitely not brutal enough like say thrash, death and black metal which is pretty much male dominated both in artists and fans. So for some like stupid elitist metalheads, women are seen as a joke since those genres are a joke to them. Like a lot of the bands listed in the article are looked down on or are not considered metal from my observation on music culture on the ‘net.

          Anyway yeah, my two cents. I listen to heavier stuff like Necrophagist which isn’t like ever mentioned in gay women sites or just heavier music in general. So it’s nice this article popped up.

          • Very true re: Europe v. USA with women in metal. We have some bands, but they are not nearly as known as the female-fronted bands in Europe (by far).

            I think the general feeling of “they’re not real metal” is more from the perspective from the fans than the others in the scene (bands, managers, band crew, etc.) – again, this is only from my own personal experience.

            There are several metalheads who hate not only on females in metal, but the more mainstream bands as well. I have a handful of elitist metalhead friends who talk so much shit about a mainstream band like Slipknot.

            I mean yes, there are plenty of great bands out there who don’t get enough recognition perhaps – but that doesn’t take away from the music that a mainstream band *does* make.

            I don’t know. Like just about any other topic really – I choose to avoid the lame/dumb people & just keep the cool / open-minded people as friends. :)

    • I am exposed to Archenemy because they’re one of my bf’s favourite bands. Angela terrifies the shit out of me, but my bf met her after a show once and said that she’s the coolest and sweetest woman ever. So, mad props to her.

  2. When I saw “Horns up” I was like IS IT GONNA BE A SKA PLAYLIST and then I thought about french horns, and am going to go listen to horn solos.

    (Lacuna Coil is the shit tho).

  3. 1. I do agree with Paloma about the deep-seeded misogyny that runs rampant with the heavy metal bands. I LOVE metal. Like, LOVE it. I love to listen to it, I love to play it. But it has become increasingly more difficult to tolerate the boys club establishment that is ever-present. As a guitarist and a pianist I found it extremely hard to get the boys to respect me as a musician, not a poledancer to titillate the nerds.

    2. HOWEVER, boys club bullshit aside, if you like Lacuna Coil, do give Nightwish and Delain a listen. In particular, Dark Passion Play (Nightwish) and Lucidity (Delain) are awesome albums.

    • For the Lacuna Coil lovers:
      I used to listen to After Forever quite often when I was younger. Their singer is classically schooled and has a great voice. Another tip !

    • Nice. I’m familiar with Eluveitie’s work though I don’t like that album Omnos is in as much. It suprised me that it was more like a straight out folk album. Wasn’t expecting it. I’ll check out Arkona more. Seems legit.

    • Ye gods! I was scrolling through the comments thinking HOW was this woman not mentioned yet?! She’s fucking amazing – talented, can scream like a motherfucker, great writer, honest and absolutely inspirational, the gay thing aside.

      If you haven’t heard of Otep you’re not allowed to read this comment without going to listen to “Confrontation” for instance (whether you’re into political stuff or not, you have to admit it’s amazing).

      On the more general women-in-rock-and-other-stuff-I-just-call-alternative note:

      I personally never bought into Lacuna Coil. They, along with Nightwish and Evanescence were the chick-fronted alternative bands I knew of, but I was never much into clean, high female vocals.

      If you like more raspy, lower vocals (my knowledge or musical terms is clearly tremendous) here’s the stuff I’m obsessed with at the moment:

      The Distillers (always… just always) – check out the live @ Reading video for The Hunger.

      Spinnerette – they have some good tracks. It’s Brody’s (Distillers chick) new project, but I’m still a bit dubious about it)

      The Kills, The Dead Weather – Alison Mosshart on vocals in both, very edgy. might be slightly more mainstream but great bands nonetheless, the bass makes me drool. Also TDW features Jack White. Wahey.

      How To Destroy Angels – a heavy electro band of Tren Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and his wife on the vocals, check out The Space In Between (video!) and Drowning. Also, BBB is fun for when you’re stomping around in your… BBBs.

      Sweethead – Troy van Leeuwan’s (Queens of the Stone Age) side project fronted by Serrina Sims who used to do backing vocals for QotSA if I remember right. Her voice is like velvet you just had the most amazing, hot fuck on. This is the only way I can possibly describe it.

      I think that’s about it.

      • Listen to i wrestled a bear once , that chick lead singer puts everyone to shame the video is funny also

  4. Yay!!! I’m a lesbian metalhead and I had recently been wondering if there were any others, besides my girlfriend, out there.

    Although I’m into more of the death, black, and doom types of metal, I still really appreciate the existence of this post.

    I recommend Ludicra (specifically the album Hollow Psalms); they’re one of my favorite bands in the world! Their vocalist (who is female) is amazing and one of the most humble, sincere people I’ve ever met in the Bay Area metal scene (and probably in the entire metal scene). One of their guitar players is also female.

    Also: Embers (the one from Oakland), Dystopia, Wolves in the Throne Room, Asunder, Gorgoroth, Necrophagist (sometimes a little too technical for me, but still undeniably good), and if you’re into thrash, The Plasmatics.

    Crystal, you can expect several e-mails loaded with mp3s. I have been considering doing this for some time, but this post inspired me to finally go through with it.

    • Dang boo, you didn’t even name my band!! HAHAH! Talk me up to bring me down. JK. Btw, my band is Six Billion Dead for anyone that would like to go check it out on Myspace. ;) Let me just be full of myself for a second… also check out Hoarfrost and Ashmedai. Yay metal.

          • Silly me. I should’ve figured the other bands you mentioned were your projects too. I’ll check them out along with the one with your gf too when it’s up. I’m getting quite a long list of stuff to go through in all the comments here, haha. But yeah blackened death is one of the genres that interest me most so pretty awesome.

    • Hey cheers for this, I love Dystopia and Wolves in the Throne Room so will check out those other bands you mentioned. I’m coming from the crust/hardcore scene so extreme metal is def more my thing.

  5. Check out this band called Gallhammer… they’re an all-woman doom metal band from Japan. SKARP is another good female-fronted heavy band.

  6. I also work within the metal community. Mostly as a photog, but also as a roadie for the promoter.

    I’ve never had any issues personally. But I have heard tons of stories. But the women in metal that I know don’t really give a fuck about that. Bands like Lacuna Coil – yeah, Cristina has been dubbed “hottest chick in metal” (I think it was for Revolver Magazine?) but she’s also said that while her looks may get attention, that’s not why they earned such high sales of “Comalies” (their US breakout album) wasn’t purchased just because of her looks..they can find pics online. So yeah.

    I think there’s definitely a difference in opinion of what is “metal” & what is “not metal” – the more mainstream ones (in my personal experience) tend to be the biggest tools.

    There’s the Metal Female Voices Fest every year in Belgium that fucking kicks ass.

    I listen to ALL things metal. ALL. Dark Tranquillity, Soilwork, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Strapping Young Lad, Rotting Christ, Hypocrisy, The Agonist, Sinister Ego, Nightwish, Within Temptation, etc etc etc.

    So so in love with metal.

  7. Oh! Also – Kittie is alive and well. They’ve been touring & their new album is being released August 30.

  8. i logged in just to say that i could not imagine a world without Deftones and thank you for completing my life by putting them on autostraddle. :D
    Passenger is, however, not one of my favorites. i would recommend Digital Bath or Knife Party for a ‘pretty’ song.

    • I also cannot imagine a world without deftones. They were my first heavy rock show, I was about 15, and I’ve been crazy about them since. ‘Around the Fur’ is probs my favourite song of theirs, or maybe ‘Bored’, but Passenger has been on my mind lately, Idk why. I went to a festival in January where deftones and tool were on the same line up and I was pretty disappointed when Maynard didn’t join the deftones for this song, maybe they don’t like it either.

  9. OMG Passenger. I fucking LOVE THAT SONG! Maynard’s voice makes me want to melt into a puddle and do inappropriate things. The deftones are so smooth and combined with JMK it’s the most amazing thing. I can totally do without POD though. Pure shit IMHO

  10. Ahh. Jeez. I feel so weird that after lurking on the site for over a year, through some really moving articles and just flat-out amazing posts that THIS is what’s going to finally get me to say something.

    Nice list! Here are some suggestions for anyone else whose tastes run a bit heavier. Since it seems to be a theme in the other comments, each band includes at least one female member.

    LIGHT THIS CITY – “The Anhedonia Epidemic” (Laura Nichol, vocals)
    Death/thrash stuff from California. Laura Nichol has my favorite growl in metal.

    BLACKGUARD – “This Round’s On Me” (Justine Ethier, drums)
    Black/folk metal band from Quebec. Juice is one of the most dynamic drummers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

    THE AGONIST – “And Their Eulogies Sang Me To Sleep” (Alissa White-Gluz, vocals)
    Another metal band from Quebec. Nice mix of clean and heavy vocals.

    WARFACE – “Insanity of the Obsessed” (Laura Christine, guitar)
    Okay. Super death, verging on grindcore. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but Laura shreds so hard.

    ALL THAT REMAINS – “Six” (Jeanne Sagan, bass)
    Fairly mainstream metalcore band. Jeanne was also in The Acacia strain for a bit.

    BORIS – “Pink” (Wata, guitar)
    An amazingly talented genre-splicing Japanese metal band. Wata is a beast.

    WALLS OF JERICHO – “A Trigger Full of Promises” (Candace Kucsulain, vocals)
    Metalcore. Solid band, Candace is also a body piercer.I feel like that’s somehow important.

    IWRESTLEDABEARONCE – “You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs’ Real Voices” (Krysta Cameron, vocals; Mim Cameron, guitar [2009])
    Probably the band on this list I’m most excited about. They’re completely unique. Brutal breakdowns and a fantastic sense of humor that comes through in the music. Also, they did a Muse cover. And there’s a free dubstep remix album, so.. (Muse “Uprising” Cover) (“Danger in the Manger” Hulk Dubstep Remix)

    So… yes. I’ll just leave these here and resume lurking.

    • Great bands!

      Also, The Agonist & Blackguard are on tour together as support for Kamelot.

      PS. Blackguard are some serious touring motherlovers.

  11. If you’re into more death metal/heavier metal, Arch Enemy has a female vocalist named Angela Gossow, who is really fantastic.

  12. This is possibly the best playlist I’ve come across on here. I like most genres, but I have a weak spot for metal, and it’ll always be my ultimate favourite, I think.

  13. I wrestled a bear once , hads down the most bad ass female singer in the metal buisness and shes beautiful , i personally cannot stand female sceamers it just sounds bad but this chick is AMAZING!

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