Saturday, 8 March 2014

Top 10 Feminist Rock & Metal Bands

Seeing as it's International Women's Day, I thought I'd lend you my thoughts on feminism in Rock and Metal music. Both genres have been classically viewed as misogynistic and still remain male dominated, especially the metal world. But, since the Punk explosion in 1976, feminism has been pushing itself through the ranks and scenes of the international rock world. Neither is it less relevant today, in fact, I think the world is in need of another Riot Grrrl explosion, as mentioned in my last post. So here's to my top 10 favourite and most influential Feminist Rock and Metal bands.

I've included the most famous of all these bands at the very end of this list because Joan Jett was never a self proclaimed feminist. But, she has certainly been regarded as a fantastic icon for women in the music business. Just listen to the lyrics of her song 'Bad Reputation' and you'll see how this angry young women and her entourage wanted to bring equality and freedom to girls all over the world. Without Joan Jett, there wouldn't be Riot Grrrl.

Not much is known about this all female five-piece, except they are one of the most successful Thrash Metal bands from Singapore. Asian Metal has certainly taken to the airwaves in all its glory in the last few years, especially with band like Chthonic playing sell out shows. But leading the way for women's rights through metal we have one of the angriest female groups I've ever had the pleasure of hearing.

The first in my 'Big Four' of Riot Grrrl pioneers. Babes in Toyland began in the late 80s and were usually sidelined into the Grunge scene along with apolitical acts like L7, but they had a very angry feminist agenda. These women took the anger of 80s Hardcore Punk and gave it the gender equality twist it so desperately needed. Babes in Toyland brought Third Wave Feminism onto our radios, where it certainly needs to return.

The second of the 'Big Four' of Riot Grrl. These girls were the most experimental of the premier Riot Grrrl scene, making very angry and snarled songs in their early years before moving into the Post-Punk scene and giving us quirky yet political numbers. Experimentation always takes a band far and these girls certainly knew that.

The most famous Riot Grrrl band of all time. Although they supported Joan Jett and Nirvana in their heyday, Bikini Kill never signed to a major record label and kept the DIY punk ethic alive throughout their seven year existence. They were definitely the most influential of the 'big four' and pretty much started the movement by themselves with their angry feminist anthems. I recently found out that a documentary is being made about the band's vocalist, Kathleen Hanna, who is still keeping the Riot Grrrl scene alive and well today.


And now for, unfortunately, the only all male band on this list. Steampunk music has been rising in popularity since the early 00s, but only one band seems to be putting the 'punk' into that scene. Here we have the most political and funniest Steampunk band on the planet. How are they feminist? Because their founder, stand up comedian Andrew O'Neill penned this very catchy feminist anthem which is one excellent homage to the female engineers of the 19th century; who feature a lot in Steampunk literature. Politics is now part of the Steampunk scene thanks to these guys who've shown how you can change the world through anachrony.

Also check out his stand up show in its entirety. I met this guy last year at Bloodstock, and he is one very funny dude.

 My favourite of all the big Riot Grrrl bands. I've already covered them and mentioned how woefully underrated they are, so I'll just leave you to enjoy their anthems.

A beautifully angry fusion of classic Hardcore Punk and traditional Riot Grrrl agenda. Retching Red were the premier Riot Grrrl band from the 00s, and in their two year existence they gave us some of the loudest and most offensive anthems the whole scene has churned out.

This band, in my opinion were the first proper Riot Grrrl group. Although, they also helped form the classic Anarcho-Punk scene which makes them even more influential to Punk Rock in general. Poison Girls was formed by Vi Subversa, a 41-year-old mother of two, in 1976. When the Women's Rights Movement was beginning to take over the world, what a better time for such a band to emerge. Thank you Poison girls, you paved the way for many angry young men and women who want gender equality.


And the Number 1 Feminist Rock/Metal band is...

Easily the angriest band with a feminist agenda. Cloud Rat are, as far as I'm aware, the only Grindcore band with a feminist agenda. Not only do they scream and growl about the need for women's rights, but they also cover topics of Veganism and environmentalism. They are heavily influenced by the Anarcho-Punk scene which gave birth to Napalm Death and Carcass. I am pretty irritated that it's taken this long for a feminist Grindcore band to come about, but if anyone here knows of any more of these, please let me know. Cloud Rat have so far released only 2 albums, but both of them are excellent pieces of feminist anger put to the most extreme of all metal sub-genres.

To celebrate here is their 2013 album: Moshka

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