Just thought I'd write a quick guide to some of my favourite singers for anyone who is interested in this type of music! These are my personal choices so please don't flame with comments about people I've missed out or that you hate certain people. However feel free to suggest tasty new bands I could listen to. I have used YouTube and Last.fm links to demonstrate.
Additional point: this list is mostly only melodic female vocalists rather the more growly kind like Angela Gossow - but I like those too! Click the pictures for embiggened versions.
Ailyn (Sirenia) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
Ailyn is a bit strange in that she was previously a Spanish X Factor contestant. But she has a nice voice, and doesn't look too bad either. :P In this video she seems to have been attacked by a wind machine and some very un-waterproof eyeliner, but things get better by the next verse. Although she does start floating at one point. But anyway, I recommend the 13th Floor, it's a good album even if it does overdo the Latin chanting a little bit. Go to Sirenia's Last.fm page
Alissa White-Gluz (The Agonist) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
Alissa has both an amazing singing voice and growling voice. Apparently the Agonist are 'Melodic Metalcore' - I get a bit lost with genres sometimes, to be honest... Their first album, Once Only Imagined, is great despite being a little less polished than their latest, Lullabies for the Dormant Mind. The second song shows a different side of them - their beautiful acapella version of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Go to The Agonist's Last.fm page
Anette Olzon (Nightwish) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
These songs are from the last Nightwish album, Dark Passion Play (one of my favourites). Anette has shown a lot of versatility singing on songs ranging from epic metal tracks so folky ballads. She also performs very well live. Despite many people comparing her to Tarja Turunen, she still holds her own if you're willing to give her a try. Go to Nightwish's Last.fm page
Amy Lee (Evanescence) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
I'm sure some people will complain about this, but I still likeEvanescence so I don't care :P Amy Lee writes some beautiful music and lyrics. The linked song is one of my favourites, apparently it started off as the soundtrack to Narnia but Disney rejected it for being too dark... Although they deny it ever happened, so who knows? I recommend both their studio albums, Fallen and The Open Door. It annoys me when idiots on YouTube claim that the symphonic metal bands have copied her (how? by being female?) though, especially when the other bands were generally around longer. Go to Evanescence's Last.fm page
Charlotte Wessels (Delain) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
Delain were founded by Martijn Westerholt, previously of Within Temptation. He is the brother of Robert. I like them a lot, although Charlotte's vocals are quite pop-y. Their first album, Lucidity, was more of a side project, and features guest appearances from Liv Kristine, Sharon Den Adel and Marco Hietala. For the second album, April Rain, they formed a proper studio band. Go to Delain's Last.fm page
Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
Lacuna Coil are one of the most well-known female-fronted bands.. You could almost describe them as 'chill out metal' in some places, although they technically fit in the gothic genre. Cristina has a strong singing voice, and you can hear her guest appearances on songs by Apocalyptica and Megadeth. I recommend Comalies and Karmacode - their latest album, Shallow Life, is more like radio-friendly rock.. Go to Lacuna Coil's Last.fm page
Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
The first video here is Liv's guest appearance on the song Nymphetamine by Cradle of Filth. This was the first time I heard Liv singing. It took me a while longer to get into Leaves' Eyes, but if you give them a try, they are well worth it. The key albums for me are Vinland Saga and Njord. The band produce epic symphonic metal with folk influences, particularly Norse. Liv also used to be the frontwoman for Theatre of Tragedy, and has her own solo albums. Go to Leaves' Eyes' Last.fm page
Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
Within Temptation began as a gothic/doom band in the 1990s, but moved towards a symphonic metal style. Their folk-inspired album Mother Earth shot them to fame in Europe, but my personal favourites are their follow-up albums, The Silent Force and The Heart of Everything. Sharon does not have classical training, but has a very beautiful voice that can produce a wide range of styles.
Go to Within Temptation's Last.fm page
Simone Simons (Epica) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
I love Simone's voice, it's very classical at times and yet still accessible. Epica have released a string of top quality (and epic) albums since their formation in 2002 by Mark Jansen, formerly of After Forever. My personal favourite is Design Your Universe, but The Divine Conspiracy comes in a close second. I also recommend their Classical Conspiracy album, where they perform film scores and classical music with a live orchestra. Go to Epica's Last.fm page
Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish) Watch Video (1) Watch Video (2)
Tarja is a classically trained vocalist who sang for Nightwish for 9 years. My favourite album that she features on has to be Once, which is arguably the heaviest, and is an awesome album. She now has her own solo career - her first album, My Winter Storm, is very cinematic and symphonic, and is best listened to all at once. Her latest, What Lies Beneath, is a more rocky affair, but still features some hidden gems and excellent vocal performances.
Go to Tarja's Last.fm page
If anyone would like to listen to some stuff by any of these bands, feel free to ask me and I can lend you albums or send you some YouTube links.
The best place for fans of Femme Metal is Chalice of Femme Metal!
This guy has done two videos of female singers:
Female Stars of Metal 1 (more well known ones)
Female Stars of Metal 2 (a few more bands like Tristania and After Forever)
[This article edited in 2011]