When heavy metal first started out in the 70’s (it was at that time called “acid rock”), it was as a rule, male dominated. There were female fans of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and so on, to be sure, but there weren’t really any women who performed metal music. There are some who may argue the all-woman band; The Runaways (featuring Lita Ford and Joan Jett) were a metal band; though I’d say they were more of a hard rock band.
During the 1980’s, there was an all-female pop metal band called Vixen and Lita Ford came out with some albums that were arguably metal as well as some others that would pop up here and there, but would never see much success.
I would argue that all we men were interested in at that time, was seeing Vixen and/or Lita Ford in mini-skirts and showing off cleavage. Ford is actually a fairly good guitar player and musician and her solo music is often over looked, which is a shame to her talent, as well as the talent of many women in the genre.
It wasn’t until the late 90’s and into the early 2000’s that women were finally taken seriously as metal musicians. A band called Arch Enemy hired on a singer by the name of Angie Gassow and of course, there were the sexist remarks and that kind of bullshit, but if one actually took the time to listen, she had not only a great death metal growl, she also had a great presence in the band (I use past tense as she’s no longer in Arch Enemy).
My aforementioned friend from Moscow (who is a lady), introduced me to several female fronted bands including a German goth-metal band called Xandria, who had a singer named Lisa Middlehauve, that even my mother said had a beautiful voice. Indeed, Xandria has some very wonderfully, beautiful music and Lisa’s voice soars angelically above the music.
I have a friend of mine named Melissa “Micki” MacCargar who played bass for a local band called Eight Legged Horse, and not only is she a very nice person, she’s a very gifted musician. There are many gifted women in the metal music industry whom are now getting the recognition that they deserve, but there is still a long way to go. We men need to overcome this bullshit sexist obsession and recognize talent when it is shown and I think we finally are.