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Rock/metal bands with female lead vocalists- recommendations?


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Hey, so I was just thinking I have about no artists with female vocalists in my music collection (save for a few from here at OCR and a couple Tsunami Bomb songs).

Seeing as how this is a very music-oriented community, I was wondering, does anyone here have suggestions for good rock or metal bands with female lead vocalists? I would like to specify what I'm going for-- I'm not looking for Symphonic metal, such as Nightwish or... Well, if you don't know Nightwish, Google it, and that's really not what I'm after (on second thought, Evanescence is also a good example of what I don't want). I'm also not looking for super-clean sounding pop-rock things like... God, I know I'm mixing up genres here, but artists like Feist, Avril Lavigne, that kinda stuff.

Basically, what I'm after is good hard rock, alt, grunge, heavy/power/speed metal, punk, etc... with female vocalists. I dunno if you guys are familiar with them, but Tsunami Bomb is a great example of what I'm talking about, but I've been trying to find other stuff. Oh, and final note, English-language is preferred but not a necessity- I'm very aware that Europe has some great, great rock/metal musicians, as do some Asian countries.

So, do share please, I'm all ears. I'd look for myself, but when I look up bands with female vocalists I either get new-age hippy-ish stuff (which is fine but not what I'm interested in) or symphonic metal that just makes me lol. Hard. (no offense if you dig that stuff).

tl;dr- bands with female rock/metal vocalists, GO

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Holy shit, I just went to youtube and saw a vid of Arch Enemy. Jesus, if I'd heard that without a video and the knowledge the singer was a woman, I would have never believed it. I need to look into this... Fantastic music.


Also, I'll second what Tensei said about Arch Enemy. :D

Hehe, Wikipedia was the first thing I checked out, naturally. But with what appears to be about 600 bands on the list, I had no damned clue where to start- I mean, how many of those are what I'm actually looking for, and how many are actually any good? That's why it's always better to ask people who might have decent taste in music.

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Genre descriptions make my head hurt, but if you're after hard/punk/speed/metal/etc, Melt Bananna probably fits somewhere in there and they rock. Also, Milka is a great band out of Orlando FL that are a little softer and more towards the pop side of things. Maybe too close to that Evanescence vibe sometimes, but I thought I'd put in a good word for them anyway.

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Aside from Arch Enemy, there is:

Shadow: A melodeath band from Japan. They only ever made one album (self-titled) and then suddenly they disappeared, but it's a good album if you like In Flames Whoracle era melodeath.

Light This City: A metalcore band from the U.S. Their vocalist is female and a pretty good lyricist (read the lyrics to "The Eagle" for a good example of quality lyric writing). EDIT: Here's a music video of one of their newer songs.

Darkestrah: A black metal band from Germany. Their latest is more melodic and atmospheric (akin to Two Hunters from Wolves In The Throne Room), while their older stuff is a little more kvlt. EDIT: Heres a live video from 2006.

Thats all I can think of at the moment.

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Genre descriptions make my head hurt, but if you're after hard/punk/speed/metal/etc, Melt Bananna probably fits somewhere in there and they rock. Also, Milka is a great band out of Orlando FL that are a little softer and more towards the pop side of things. Maybe too close to that Evanescence vibe sometimes, but I thought I'd put in a good word for them anyway.

Honestly, the genres and sub-genres drive me nuts, too. I was just trying to specify what I was after to make it easier for y'all helpful folks. ANYWAY, I checked out some tunes by Melt Banana, and they're interesting, that's for sure. I'll check out some more stuff, it's pretty trippy. Haven't looked up Milka quite yet, but I will and I'll let you know how it goes :)

SotSS- I checked out all those bands. I absolutely LOVED Light This City, THAT'S the kinda stuff I'm after, for sure. Shadow isn't too bad, and Darkestrah is definitely very good stuff, too, although something about the singer's voice didn't sound as good as LTC. I'll see if I can look up something better quality than a youtube video, but this is definitely going on the right track.

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As far as heavier rock/metal goes, I'm really getting into the symphonic rock genre. The fusion of rock with orchestral elements really brings the music to a whole new level, in my opinion.

To that end, check out the Finnish band, Nightwish. I haven't gone as far back as their first albums, but from what I've heard, they have a pretty neat sound. There's actually two lead vocalists, the second having been hired for the most recent album after they dismissed the first. Try not to get caught up in the fanboy war between their followings as you look for their music. =)

Also symphonic rock, Within Temptation is from the Netherlands. They're a little bit closer to a more typical rock sound than Nightwish, but still unique in their own right.

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I am a fan of Flyleaf, more mainstream, I know, but it's still pretty sick. More of a...I dunno how to describe it, it has some screaming but I dunno if that's your thing. She isn't exactly the best vocalist, she sounds cracked out half the time, but the music is pretty much in your face, and I dig that.

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So, like, I don't know many bands that are gonna sound like Light This City AND have female vocalists... in fact, I've got just one (and they're not as hardcore, even). But... on the off chance that you could just be a lover of female voices like me and not be just looking for stuff you ALREADY know you like, I've listed a bunch o' bands with female vocals I like below. Most aren't hardcore, but a handful are, actually. Every artist on my list is going to sound really different, so I'm gonna make it easy on you by giving you youtube links to a song or two by each. Sit back and see what tickles your fancy! I gave some real basic genre distinctions so you could alternatively just skip around if you're shallow :<

A Fine Frenzy - very laid back alternative rock, lots of piano, subtle sequencing flair, sound is best described as "sweeping," brand new act


Bat For Lashes - experimental alternative pop, lots of varied instruments (harpsichords, for one!), poetic lyrics at times, almost indie, several "unplugged" songs.

"What's A Girl To Do?"


The Birthday Massacre - retro rock/pop, almost industrial, keytar, some darker songs, some that border on happy hardcore, very "fun"

"Red Stars"


"Falling Down"

Björk - She's Björk! Crazy experimental music, could vaguely be described as "pop" at times.

"Earth Intruders"

"It's Oh So Quiet"

Blonde Redhead - shoegazer/noise rock with an indie tilt, not for everyone

Brandi Carlile - Straight up pop rock, but the vocals have an undeniably charming country warble to them

"What Can I Say"

Cibo Matto - disbanded alternative duo of Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, lots of genre blending like jazz, hip-hop, swing, latin, electronic, hard rock and pop, among others

"Sugar Water"

Deerhoof - Experimental noise rock band with lots of short songs focused heavily on melody and featuring simple lyrics

Flyleaf - hard rock/screamo Christian band, you've probably heard them on the alternative radio stations a lot lately (even though their CD came out in 2005)

"Red Sam"

"All Around Me"

Garbage - You remember Garbage, right? Electronica/alt rock band with quite a few mainstream hits, lots of very different material and subject matter, some fantastic upbeat and slow songs

"You Look So Fine"

"Only Happy When It Rains"

Girl in a Coma - Alt rock band that likes to mix up the soft jams with the hard, driving riffs, lots of momentum

Jack Off Jill - hard/punk rock band, toured with Marilyn Manson extensively while they were together, very cool but harder than the mainstream

"Author Unknown"

Joydrop - alt rock/electronic band with an easy sound and some tongue-in-cheek lyrics at times

Kate Mann - rock with a nice country slant, very well-produced album imo, she's really new so it's hard to find a decent example... sorry.

The Knife - Electronica/pop rock brother/sister duo from Sweden, very unique spin with several songs poking fun at men or relationships, but plenty of straightforward pop, too

"You Take My Breath Away"

"Silent Shout"

Ladytron - electroclash band that plays all their music on four Korg synths, a song or two in BULGARIAN, moody, vaguely danceable


Let's Go Sailing - soft alt rock band with lots of happy songs, some orchestration, and whimsical lyrics


Neko Case - alt country/rock artist with an amazing voice, a lot of her music carries a distinctive sound, and although there's a lot of variance in the songs, They all carry that singer-songwriter vibe. Personally, I like it a lot, but not for everyone. Let me say, though... she totally blows me away.

"Deep Red Bells"

"Maybe Sparrow"

Nightwish - symphonic metal with a definitive operatic flair, some ballads, some truly epic and/or sad songs


Portishead - pretty much the forerunner of trip-hop. If you know what that is, you'll love them.

"Glory Box"

Shiny Toy Guns - electronic/new wave band that shares the mic between a girl and a guy, a fairly new act out of California

"Jackie Will Save Me"

I spent a lot of time finding some decent quality clips, so hopefully you find something you like!

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Some great suggestions so far. Lots of good music taste around here ;)

Stricltly speaking, Apocalyptica's music is instrumental, but some of their tracks feature vocalists. (omfg don't even touch their latest album it is trash. stick with the older stuff) Female vocalists they've worked with previously include Sandra Nasic of Guano Apes, Marta Jandova of Die Happy and Manu of Dolly. I haven't been able to get my hands on any of Dolly's music, but I'd definitely recommend Die Happy and Guano Apes to you. Good German alt rock.

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Thanks, Aninymouse. I've been looking for new music, and you've given me a lot to look into.

I read a lot of Light this City's lyrics, and HOLY CRAP. The subject matter is similar, but it's a cool subject and all of the songs are well written. Some of them really stand out. (The Eagle and Like Every Song's our last I loved)

Within Temptation... I disliked. I hate when women sing in falsetto, and they just kind of sound like a Evanescence clone. Or vice versa, whomever came first. Anyway, falsetto bad.

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I like that Evanescence was brought up a few times, because it gives me the opportunity to say this: As much as I liked "My Immortal" on their debut, the music, lyrics AND singing have gotten much worse since then. It annoys and saddens me that that woman sings in a grating monotone throughout any of the new songs I've heard.

EDIT: I'd like to add that the lyrics to "The Eagle" have impressed me thus far. Granted, I haven't actually heard the song yet.

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Blonde Redhead is better on their last two albums, Misery Is a Butterfly and 23

Pixies when Kim Deal sings, e.g., "Gigantic" and "Into the White"

Rilo Kiley is poppier but still great (see "Portions For Foxes")

Sonic Youth when Kim Gordon sings, which is a lot

Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all-around excellent all the time

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EDIT: I'd like to add that the lyrics to "The Eagle" have impressed me thus far. Granted, I haven't actually heard the song yet.

I looked around a little but it doesn't look like there's anywhere to listen to it freely.

However, it does sound a good deal like "The Unwelcome Savior," except the verses are more melodic, and the chorus sounds more epic (as does the song as a whole), so if you liked "The Unwelcome Savior" you should like it as well.

EDITED TO ADD: A band I forgot to mention that is worth checking out is Estatic Fear. They have a clean female vocalist who kind of reminds me of pixietricks (at least she was the first one to come to mind when I heard A Sombre Dance) and a male vocalist who sings mostly in a black metal rasp.

They play what is essentially symphonic doom metal with some folk and classical music infused for good measure. Beside the typical guitar/drum/bass, there is a lot of lute, flute, cello and piano as well.

Unless you absolutely despise the male vocalist or slower paced music in general, I see no reason why anyone could fail to like this band. Awesome stuff.

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Hm, I'll list a few of the bands/artists I've heard and that I'd recommend a look into who use female vocalists to a good degree:

Nightwish - the symphonic power metal/opera metal powerhouse of the metal world, they singlehandedly increased the popularity of female fronted metal bands. Currently they feature a non-classically trained singer, although she's competent as well

Within Temptation - the symphonic goth metal band. Although their lyrics have gone downhill, their Mother Earth album still remains a great album

After Forever - another symphonic goth metal band, they go for a more atmospheric effect compared to the two aforementioned bands. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they're definitely not bad at all.

Ayreon - the incredible project of the multitalented Arjen Lucasson, each of his albums sport a good dosage of female vocals in them and definitely worth a listen to anyone looking for the best in rock opera/metal opera (the Human Equation album), or progressive rock/metal (the other albums).

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I think you would enjoy some of Darzamat's older work.

Secret Garden: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ljKD2tsbjg

Onriad and In the Abyss of Forgotten Woods are also good examples.

Darzamat's newer work is much different, but is just as great.

The Burning Times:

And finally, I suggest Lacrimosa's Alleine zu Zweit:


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