Opeth Frontman: 'Music of Female Metal Bands Is Weak, Bands Get Recognition For Being Women'

"Still the whole sexist thing, which is sad," Mikael Akerfeldt says.

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Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt recently touched on the subject of female metal bands, describing most such acts as "weak" and stressing that their gender brings undeserved attention. "When it comes to music, I think it's still pretty weak, there's not a lot of female bands out there," Mikael told the Fight Network. "Some of those bands get a lot of recognition because of the fact that they're women, as opposed to whether the music is good or not. Still the whole kind of sexist thing - which is sad I guess. "Obviously there's a lot of talented musicians out there - women just as many as men. Just happens to be that metal is still male-dominated. Maybe it's gonna catch on, I'm not sure. But women in the metal scene have our collective support, of course. I certainly don't have anything against it." During the rest of the chat, Akerfeldt discussed the early days of Opeth, his death rumors, as well as music censorship, which he finds pointless for the most part. "Doesn't make any sense to me," he said. "People and authorities have blamed music, especially metal music, for all sorts of bad things for years. People forget of this Tipper Gore [PMRC] thing that's resulted in these advisory stickers because of 'filthy lyrics,' she said. We even have those - on an album like 'Damnation.'" The latest Opeth record, "Heritage," saw its release in September 2011 via Roadrunner Records as the band's tenth studio effort.

79 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Krill3Z
    For ****s sake UG... He didn't describe "most such acts as "weak"". He meant that female bands are still a weak portion of the metal/music scene, and that there is not a lot of them. I don't know if you're just stupid or if you misinterpreted that on purpose...
    Baia
    i agree in some way, i mean, there are great female artists out there but some felamel bands do get attention just because they are girls
    trentonlambert
    I'm in high school right now, and I can say, it's not just metal. It's any genre. Give a girl an instrument, let her half-ass it, and she's the best musician on the effin' planet. These girls playing the guitar. They ccan play a few variants of an E chord, and they're praised like they're the next Van Halen. I ACTUALLY PLAY Van Halen, and I'm called "moderate". Doesn't make sense.
    MaggaraMarine
    Yeah, there are videos on Youtube where the title is "FEMALE guitarist covers Metallica - One" or something like that. If it was played by a man, everybody would be like "that's not really that impressive". But when it's a woman playing the song, everybody's like "that's so impressive" or "marry me". It's like people assume that women can't play the guitar. Or actually people assume that women can't do anything and it's really special if a woman can do something well. I mean, what does it matter if it's a woman or a man playing the song? If it sounds good, it sounds good and if it doesn't sound good, it doesn't sound good. It has nothing to do with the gender.
    catjaro
    I'm a girl, and I even agree with this. I play the guitar and have for six years. If I was a guy, all my friends and family would laugh at how bad I was, but since I'm a girl, everyone's like "wow, you're so good at guitar!" I'm not good, by any means. I can play a few a7x songs, and that's at the upper boundaries of my limits. I stick to stuff with a good rythym part and leave it at that. But I'm trying to improve every day, and as long as I keep practicing and I'm having fun, then I don't care what anyone else thinks of my playing.
    GhostPlayground
    Wata, say what you want about her tone and the noisy tendencies of her band, but she sure can play.
    vayne92
    I agree 100% with this. Not discrediting women as musicians, but as far as metal is concerned they pretty much all get the recognition they get just for being women.
    Krill3Z
    Oh seriously now, censoring bad words are we? Yeah i'm sure someone would get really hurt otherwise. Let's see here... Shit piss **** **** cocksucker mother****er tits fart turd and twat. Oh i see only F U C K and C U N T are the words that are dangerous, thanks UG! Now i know how to live my life without hurting anybody!
    Soccerguy
    Someone's knickers are in a knot. They've been censored for as long as I can remember.
    Krill3Z
    Doesn't make it any more valid. Censorship (especially in language) is laughable and F U C K I N G stupid in my opinion.
    Majin Gaara
    Nice blink 182 refrence.
    Krill3Z
    Well i was actually referring to the original 7 dirty words by George Carlin. I suggest you check him out if you haven't already. Gotta admit i heard the 7 dirty words in the Blink 182 song first though..
    HitmanJenkins
    He does have a point, I don't care who fronts a band as long as the band itself is good. You have some bands like Butcher Babes and Huntress who are just awful (in my opinion), yet a lot of the focus is on the women and I believe that's why they're so popular, if they were fronted by men then no one would care about them. However, there are also some female fronted bands that are amazing, like Arch Enemy, Landmine Marathon and Blood Ceremony.
    Vicryl 2.0
    so far I like all songs ive heard from Huntress. Although the singer's image is overly sexualized though..
    HitmanJenkins
    Personally I find that Huntress just sound like a second rate 3 Inches of Blood. Janus is a good vocalist, but she's so overly sexualised and the music itself is derivative, if that was a male vocalist no one would care about the band.
    aldino.frassine
    saw huntress and butcher babies on mayhem this year. huntress totally slayed. they come in more on the nwobhm side of the equation, but i think they're talented, and her skills add to what the group does. she actually sounds significantly better live than on album. Butcher Babies though are a boring side-piece that will probably not last through a second album, no worse than any trend-seeking band riding what ever nu-post-core wave is current.
    ttuskey
    Nightwish, Lacuna Coil (especially the latter), In This Moment.... I think there are good female FRONTED Metal bands, but any time I see a band where the musicians themselves are female, I do think that *for the most part*, there's something testosterone-driven that's just not there in the music. I'm sure there are exceptions, its just that TO ME that's true whenver the whole band is female. Of course, the point of the article was "there aren't as many chicks in metal", not "chicks suck at metal", as the headline mis-lead us. That's what sucked us in to read it in the first place
    santi029
    You have probably never heard of this band (so hipster haha), they are from Argentina, these girls kick serious ass
    Nero Galon
    That was..... Bloody refreshing. Going to look into these some more. Thanks for posting!
    fenristhegodsla
    There are a lot of metal bands with female singers that get recognition just because they're female. But I've noticed that especially when it comes to folk metal, Female members are just as important. Eluveitie, Ensiferum and in the past Turisas all have/had awesome female members of the band. Although there are cases of s*** bands getting popular because of attractive female singers, such as Butcher Babies
    RiesenRatte
    Actually, I think that Metal Bands with Women it are always so badm because the fact that they're women is used for commercial purposes. The most Bands really mostly reduce themselves to the fact for being female, so that good bands are very rare (I don't know a single descent one).
    Maiden95
    2013 Misleading headlining champion right here. Gotta respect what Mikael is saying here though. And a lot of female fronted music is very weak (ex. Butcher Babies) but its good to see some male support for the good stuff.
    randomhero65
    Wow UG! Way to do it again! I do agree to an extent, but I would like to share a female fronted band that has an extreme amount of talent. I've shared the stage with them, and they kick ass!A Sound of Thunder
    EyesWideOpen
    I agree. I can't think of a single good female fronted metal band.
    BjarnedeGraaf
    The Agonist, Arch Enemy, Within Temptation, the Dirty Youth, Nightwish....
    BwareDWare94
    I think Arch Enemy has been worse with Angela. Not because she's not talented, but I preferred their prior vocalist.
    Luke-LikeICare
    Hate expected here... But Halestorm.
    Bezza27
    Halestorm are pretty damn good. Wouldn't be nearly as famous if they had a guy singer, but at least they are actually good enough to support the hype. Same as Paramore really(even though they aren't metal). Back into the downvote bunker I go.
    jaybrink10101
    Halestorm, and also Tonight Alive who are pretty great - saw them live at the beginning of their first album tour in a small sh*t-hole of a venue and they just blew the roof off the place.
    slstone
    Idiotic statement, idiotic responses. Weak women fronted metal? really. I guess that means the tons of albums that Nightwish and Within Temptation, Evanescence, Epica,or even Vixen mean nothing? All I see here is the ostrich syndrome. Stick your head in the sand and they won't see what an idiot you are.And the reason for this? jealousy that female fronted bands actually sing lyrics. I understand this statement now from a band whose vocalist can't sing so he does the demonic growl voice. Geez now isn't that original?
    Gibson_SG_uzr55
    Except that's not what he meant, you have been the victim of a misleading headline. Reread the whole article.
    Hong Siah
    sistone. UG purposely phrased the title in a way to draw attention and readership by inciting anger. Judging by your response, seems like you bit the bait like the sheep you are. Now if you stop being such a retard and actually read the rest of the article, you will find that you are a fool. Idiotic response. Geez now isn't that original?
    slstone
    Retard? You win debates by calling people names? You should try using intelligent statements to make your point. As soon as you start calling people names, you lose the debate. And before you say something stupid like, "well, you called other people idiots", no I didn't. I stated that what they said was idiotic, not that they were idiots. You are halfway to proving my point.
    Hong Siah
    Except you already lost at "Stick your head in the sand and they won't see what an idiot you are." which was addressed at Akerfeldt. Nice going looking like a fool and now, a hypocrite. I like how your last comment attacked the very approach you used in your original post, yet did not address anything else. You are quite the mentally challenged, aren't you?
    dj_sinhart
    I'm french, the title state clearly what this article is all about, there is a difference between a female fronted metal band and a female metal band. Female fronted bands like the ones that are being named on here can be pretty impressive on the other hand what Akerfeldt is saying about a female metal band is, for most of it, true. Go back to school and learn your language, this is a serious shame.
    Mr Winters
    "I understand this statement now from a band whose vocalist can't sing so he does the demonic growl voice" Bro you went full retard. Have you even listened to Opeth? Mikael Akerfeldt is a damn good singer.
    travislausch
    Also I think all of those bands you mentioned are quite weak, myself. Check out Destiny Potato, Aghora, and Gonin-Ish for some slightly more interesting female fronted metal.
    Redfinton22
    First off, that's not what he said at all. You didn't even have to watch the video, you could have just read the article and realized how misleading the headline was. All I see here is someone who read a headline and dove straight down to the comments to bitch and moan. Regardless, the fact that you think Opeth's vocalist only does "the demonic growl voice" just shows how absolutely little you know about them. If you're going to be that ******* who bashes a band at least do your homework first for ****'s sake. Idiot
    TheExterminator
    If you're trying to refute the "weak" claim (even taken out of context), listing off some crappy Symphonic Metal/Rock bands like Nightwish and Evanescence isn't going to help you at all. There are a number of female friendly bands who never had to play soft to make Metal. We've got Gallhammer, and Sentinal Beast. There's Chauchemar, with Annick Giroux, the woman behind "Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook", and Blood Ceremony. And we can't forget Girlschool. There's legends like Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics, or Dawn Crosby, the vocalist for Detente, RIP to the both of them. There's Acid, who were a Speed Metalband from Belgium, too. There are a number of great female-front Metal bands, a lot of which are still active. There's no reason to scrape the bottom of the barrel, as you did, to find some.
    travislausch
    He means the state of female fronted metal is weak. Not the metal itself. Mind you, there just aren't that many great female fronted metal bands. Good ones, but not great ones. That number goes down dramatically as soon as you get out of operatic symphonic metal bands that sound like Nightwish.
    Wishort
    Except that there are more than just those 5 bands that are fronted by females.. such as Butcher Babies, straight line stitch, iwrestledabearonce, flyleaf, etc.. he wasnt saying it out of jealousy, he was saying it because he wants more really talented females to step up... like Amy Lee. We don't have 'ostrich syndrome'... you, sir, have head-in-ass syndrome
    Silord1
    Halestorm get good reviews because their live shows are off the scale good and her voice is ridiculously incredible and she plays an explorer. She is a striking figure to watch on stage and that is what grabs peoples attentions. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on you view, because they're aren't many woman in rock/metal the fact she's a woman makes her band media bait which is not really her fault but at least it helps get women more involved with music. Women fronted bands are kinda damned if the promote themselves, damned if they don't really
    Eclectic Lizard
    This is taken way out of context. I saw the original interview. He says that women's presence is weak in metal. As in there isn't a lot of bands out there (compared to men)
    Hong Siah
    sistone. UG purposely phrased the title in a way to draw attention and readership by inciting anger. Judging by your response, seems like you bit the bait like the sheep you are. Now if you stop being such a retard and actually read the rest of the article, you will find that you are a fool. Idiotic response. Geez now isn't that original?