The role of female heavy metal singers has been discussed a lot over the years. Many talented women musicians pushed the part too far better and a lot of traditional conventions about what these ladies could do in this heavy metal music genre. Vocalists are famous figures because they watch to get most of the spotlight. In this article, we listed the best female heavy metal singers of all time.
Best Female Heavy Metal Singers
And when you asked: Who are the best female heavy metal singers of all time? What have they achieved? How good is their signing? Here are the 22 best female heavy metal singers of all time.
1. Tarja Turunen
Let’s start with famous musicians. Tarja is one of the most popular Metal singers in the world, let alone when it comes to female Metal singers. Her work with Nightwish is the stuff of legends at this point of the game and her operatic vocals and her fantastic range have made her an icon in the genre.
After being let go by Nightwish in 2005 due to conflicts with the rest of the band, Tarja has become a solo artist with a lengthy catalog and touring worldwide while collaborating with various artists. Even as of this writing, in 2023, the Finnish singer still sounds fantastic, with a voice that could dazzle even those not interested in Metal.
Of course, it has to be said that her albums with Nightwish are her most important legacy in the genre, and songs such as Dark Chest of Wonders, Deep Silent Complete, Stargazers, and Phantom of the Opera show Tarja at her absolute best—no better way to start the list than with a talent of such proportions.
2. Gabriela Gunčíková
If Tarja is one of the most iconic female metal singers of all time, Gabriela represents the new guard in the genre. Most commonly known as Gabriela Gun, she is from the Czech Republic and started to make a name for herself because she collaborated with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. However, she constantly performs and collaborates with people, mainly on YouTube.
While it is true that Gabriela may not have the hits and worldwide recognition of other singers on this list, she has a fantastic range and tone as a vocalist. While singers such as Tarja have a much more operatic approach to singing, Gabriela’s is straight-up Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, falling more in line with the Bruce Dickinson and David Coverdale of the world.
3. Lita Ford
Lita Ford might not have the vocal range of some of the singers on this list and her career might have had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but there is no denying that, in terms of influence, she deserves a place on this list. Metal might have been very different for women without her contributions.
She started very young with the all-female rock group The Runaways back in the 70s, and while that project had a significant impact on the music industry, it didn’t last very long. Lita reinvented herself as a more commercial Metal solo artist in the eighties and built a solid career.
Even to this very day, Lita is singing and playing guitar for audiences all over the world, showing that her passion for the genre hasn’t changed one bit. She is among the first women to make it in the Metal genre, so she deserves recognition.
4. Cristina Scabbia
Lacuna Coil could very well be the most critical and commercially successful Italian Metal band of all time. Cristina Scabbia has been their vocalist since their debut album, In a Reverie, back in 1999. Considering that Italy is not a country where many heavy metal bands have managed to build successful careers, the achievements of Lacuna Coil and Scabbia cannot be understated.
The Italian singer is also exceptionally talented and charismatic, with a voice that can be very sweet, tender, and quite imposing when the song requires it. And considering the wide of emotions that the Lacuna Coil catalog requires, with an exciting combination of Alternative Metal with Gothic elements, Cristina’s voice becomes all the more impressive.
5. Anneke van Giersbergen
The Netherlands band has a fascinating story regarding the metal genre: while they haven’t produced a lot of big bands, they have had a significant contribution regarding female Metal singers. They have their fair share of great female Metal singers (some of them on this list). But Anneke van Giersbergen could be the most underrated.
Anneke is mainly known for her work in the 90s with the Gothic Metal known as The Gathering. Some of the albums she did with them, such as Nighttime Birds or How to Measure a Planet? Deserve a lot more attention. Her voice has an extreme range, and she can convey many different emotions, becoming a formidable singer in her own right.
She has a very noticeable solo career and has worked with many great artists, such as Moonspell, Ayreon, Devin Townsend, and many more. A phenomenal singer that deserves a lot more recognition in the industry.
6. Amanda Somerville
American singer Amanda Somerville is a unique case on this list. While the vast majority of female Metal singers made their name either as solo artists or with a band in particular, Miss Somerville is often known for her collaborations with several high-profile groups as a guest, thus giving her a unique status in the genre.
She started to become a lot more prominent in Metal because of her guest performances with Avantasia, the Power Metal super group created by Edguy singer Tobias Sammet, and she has gone on to do guest vocals for the likes of Kamelot, Ayreon, Epica, Shaman, Luca Turilli, and many, many more. Her wide range, tender capacity to convey emotions, and personality have made her endearing to various heavy metal fans.
7. Lzzy Hale
Lzzy Hale is a bit of a divisive figure among heavy metal fans because of the perception her band, Halestorm, has in the market but there is no denying that their singer has become very well-known in the genre. Miss Lzzy Hale has made a name for herself in the genre and is widely regarded as one of the most popular female heavy metal singers.
In that regard, it is also worth pointing out that Lzzy Hale might not have the range of some singers on this list. But she has a commanding voice and a lot of personality, which is very important for many singers. Therefore, her place here is duly deserved.
8. Angela Gossow
If attitude is the game’s name, then Angela Gossow has that and more. She is mainly known as one of the key figures in Arch Enemy’s rise during the 2000s, serving as the vocalist and doing both clean and harsh vocals, thus becoming a very prominent figure in the Metal scene.
While is true that Gossow is no longer very active in the Metal genre (or music in general), there is no denying that her input with Arch Enemy, helping to create albums such as 2001’s Wages of Sin, has given a very well-deserved place on this list.
She is also an outstanding representative of female heavy metal singers with harsh and screaming vocals, which is not often seen in the genre.
9. Doro Pesch
There is a solid argument to be made that Doro Pesch is the most essential female Metal singer of all time. While the German singer might never have the worldwide commercial success of Tarja Turunen with Nightwish, it’s also worth pointing out how Doro was rocking with her band Warlock in the 80s, inspiring a whole generation of women.
Doro’s distinct vocal tone, a combination of a certain raspiness and her German accent, has a unique identity combined with a classic 80s Heavy Metal sound in her music, whether with Warlock or as a solo artist. And the fact she is still rocking even today is a testament to her commitment to the genre.
10. Sabina Classen
The 80s were not the most prolific times for female Metal singers but there were some vocalists, such as Doro and Lita Ford, that proved to be influential a few years down the line to change things. In that regard, the name Sabina Classen might not be familiar to many people but definitely deserves a lot more recognition.
Sabina was the German singer of the 80s cult Thrash Metal band Holy Moses. She is arguably the first female vocalist in Thrash, and Holy Moses have been one of the most consistent acts in the genre. Her vocals have a degree of intensity and aggression that wasn’t uncommon for female singers in the 80s, which should be highlighted.
Their second album, 1987’s Finished with the Dogs, could be Sabina’s best performance with Holy Moses and the band’s best album.
11. Laura Guldemond
Burning Witches is an all-female Swiss Heavy Metal band that have built quite a strong following in the last decade or so, with their albums having that great combination of Judas Priest, Savatage, Iron Maiden, and Dio with some Thrash influences thrown for good measure. And while they changed vocalists, Dutch singer Laura Guldemond has done great in recent albums.
Part of Guldemond’s appeal as a singer is that she is very aggressive and reaches high notes while also having melodic notes, thus becoming a balanced singer. Her stage presence, charisma, and attitude make her stand out from the rest of her peers in the role, and her work with Burning Witches has given her the attention she deserves.
12. Yamashita Saki
This is one of the most unknown singers on this list but one of the most talented by far. Despite being so consistently good, Japanese Metal doesn’t often get the credit they deserve, so it is always interesting to talk about many of the great bands they have, including Cyntia and their former singer, Yamashita Saki.
Cyntia is a Heavy/Power Metal act that built a strong following in the last decade, with the all-female group combining the intensity of Metal with some Pop undertones. Within that combination, Saki stands out with her melodic and charismatic voice, shown in songs such as GeAr.
An underrated singer and deserves all the attention she can, especially since she is a solo artist nowadays.
13. Liv Kristine
Norwegian Metal band Theatre of Tragedy never got the credit they deserved for being one of the pioneer groups to help develop Symphonic Metal and for that combination of male and female vocals. On that front, vocalist Liv Kristine could be one of the most underrated female heavy metal singers ever.
The Norwegian vocalist has been constantly churning out albums since the 90s, showing her commitment to the medium as a songwriter. However, there is no denying that she is mainly known for her work in the late 90s with Theatre of Tragedy, with albums such as 1996’s Velvet Darkness They Fear and 1998’s Aegis being some of the cornerstones of Gothic Symphonic Metal for years to come.
14. Sharon den Adel
Netherlands have had some of the best female metal vocalists of all time, and Sharon den Adel should be in that discussion. Her band Within Temptation, of which she has been a founding member, vocalist, and songwriter since their debut back in the 90s, have been one of the defining groups when it comes to making Symphonic Metal famous for the masses and her vocals are a reason for this.
Sharon’s vocals can be charming and melodic while holding much power when needed. Temptation is often regarded as an entry point for many people in Metal, which shows how this band and this vocalist can appeal to various audiences. It has become fashionable to criticize the band and Sharon’s vocals, but both have much to offer.
15. Wendy O. Williams
Vocalist Wendy O. Williams was critical in breaking down a lot of conventional perspectives regarding women and Metal music, with her work with the short-lived Plasmatics being a prime example of that. Her aggressive vocals, even more, aggressive lifestyle, stage presence, demeanor, and charm made her one of the more endearing vocalists of the genre in the 80s.
While the music made by Plasmatics was very hit-and-miss, there is no denying that the attitude and the spirit were there, primarily due to Wendy’s personality and influence. Opinions vary about which album of theirs was the best. But 1982’s Coup d’Etat was the heaviest in their discography and had a fantastic production made by the legend Dieter Dierks (known mainly for his work with the classic Scorpions albums).
Sadly, Wendy O. Williams never fully got the recognition she deserved and her career never fully took out, but her impact and attitude will never be forgotten. She doesn’t have the success of Lita Ford or Tarja or the range of many of the vocalists on this list. But she has a ton of personality and attitude, which is very important in Metal.
16. Alissa White-Gluz
Arch Enemy is one of the few bands to feature here twice, showing they know how to choose the correct female singers. And there is no denying that Alissa White-Gluz has carved her path as one of the most popular Metal singers in the last decade.
Alissa had a very tough challenge in replacing Angela Gossow when the latter left the band in 2014. But she managed to overcome that. Her singing style might not be as aggressive as Gossow’s but her style has a fair deal of intensity and a lot more variety, thus becoming a complete singer in her own right. Her work with bands such as Kamelot and Nightwish, more in the Symphonic and Power Metal subgenres, shows that.
Alissa White-Gluz is one of the most prominent female Metal singers in the last decade, and her place here is more than earned.
Re:NO (real name being Nikaidou Rino) was the vocalist of the Japanese Metal band Aldious from 2012 to 2018, arguably the group’s most successful period. This band focuses a lot of heavy riffs and Re:NO’s charismatic and darksome vocals, offering a very atmospheric experience to the listener.
However, the band is also known for racking up the pace, and Re:NO has proven capable of keeping up with a more classic Metal approach. This band is an outstanding representation of the many faces of Japanese Metal and Miss Re:NO is one of the best singers they have to offer.
18. Janet Gardner
Vixen was one of the first-ever all-female Hard Rock and Metal bands in the industry, so the place vocalist Janet Gardner has here is more than earned. And she is also a pretty damn good singer; it has to be said!
There is no denying that Vixen has a more commercial approach than several bands here, but they have it all going on in terms of musicianship, production quality, and themes. Janet’s vocals were a central selling point as she showed a lot of personality and charisma with her vocal deliveries.
This band and the singer deserve much more credit for what they did. The late 80s and early 90s were perhaps unprepared for what they were all about. But no one can deny that they broke some barriers, including Janet.
19. Clementine Delauney
After short but productive stints with Exit Eden and Serenity, French singer Clementine Delauney started to make a name for herself with the Symphonic Metal band Visions of Atlantis. Since her arrival, the band has grown from strength to strength, becoming a famous music band in their subgenre.
Delauney has a commanding presence on stage; her voice is highly melodic and catchy, and she can sing traditional Metal while doing a lot more with her soprano-style vocals. She has many possibilities as a singer and has shown much of that with Visions of Atlantis.
20. Simone Simons
Epica’s Simone Simons is one of the most popular Metal singers. Even those not knowledgeable of the genre have heard at least one Epica song and have grown familiar with the Dutch’s unique vocals.
Simone’s biggest virtue as a singer is her ability to convey many emotions with her vocal performances. The lyrics in the Epica songs often deal with powerful and complicated aspects of human emotions, and she knows how to interpret that with her singing. She can also perform with heavier songs, such as The Last Crusade.
There is no doubt that Simone is one of the finest vocalists in all of Metal and her position in the industry is well-earned.
21. Floor Jansen
If Metal is the genre, there is an argument to be made that Dutch singer Floor Jansen could sing every style and subgenre with ease. She is that good. After significant stints with After Forever and ReVamp, Floor became Nightwish’s vocalist in 2012, when her popularity rose to the stratosphere. However, it has to be said that it was a massive reward after years of proving her worth.
There isn’t just one aspect or element that makes Floor one of the best female Metal singers ever. She has range, power, presence onstage, charisma, and the skills to adapt to many songs. She can growl like the best Death Metal singers and sing some of the sweetest lines in the genre. Her versatility is one of the best in the industry.
Floor Jansen is one of the most popular female Metal singers, and she deserves every single bit of that recognition.
22. Leather Leone
Leather Leone will always be classic 80s Heavy Metal’s best-kept secret. She is the singer of Chastain, the brainchild of David T. Chastain, a classic 80s Metal band with a strong focus on riffs and overall guitar histrionics. However, Leather’s vocals gave the albums a very unique feeling.
Part of Chastain’s appeal is the fact that they were cumbersome, with strong melodic hooks, and Leather’s vocals were clear and aggressive, often sounding like a female combination of Metallica’s James Hetfield in his prime and Ronnie James Dio. Of course, Leather has often mentioned Ronnie as her inspiration and his presence is always present in her singing.
Chastain has a lot of great albums, but the finest is 1986’s Ruler of the Wasteland, a strong contender for the best Metal record with a female vocalist. The album is powerful and straightforward, and Leather is the show’s star, along with David T. Chastain’s guitar genius. Give it a listen: the album is that good.
Who is the best female heavy metal singer ever?
- Tarja Turunen
- Gabriela Gunčíková
- Lita Ford
- Cristina Scabbia
- Anneke van Giersbergen
- Amanda Somerville
- Lzzy Hale
- Angela Gossow
- Doro Pesch
- Sabina Classen
- Laura Guldemond
- Yamashita Saki
- Liv Kristine
- Sharon den Adel
- Wendy O. Williams
- Alissa White-Gluz
- Janet Gardner
- Clementine Delauney
- Simone Simons
- Floor Jansen
- Leather Leone
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