The Greatest Female Rock and Metal Bands


Metal band Kittie. Here are some of the greatest female rock and metal bands of all time.

Here are some of the greatest all-female rock and metal bands of all timeĀ – Author Anne Erickson, Photo via Dante Dellamore

There was a time when female rock and metal bands were few and far between. Thankfully, that’s changed. Today, there are a slew of fantastic female rock and metal bands putting out great music and playing sold-out shows. Here are some of the greatest all-female rock and metal bands of all time.

Actually, let’s get the whole “female-fronted” moniker out of the way early, before we get into the best female rock and metal bands. There’s been a debate for years now about whether bands with a female lead vocalist should be called female-fronted or not. The idea is that these bands should be treated just like their male counterparts and not have their gender be part of their genre’s title. Honestly, I’m a women, and I’m also a woman who fronts a metal band, Upon Wings. I don’t see anything wrong with being called a female-fronted band, because it’s a descriptor. Also, honestly, women are still in the minority when it comes to making music in the hard rock and metal world, so it does help describe that the band. It says, “Unlike most in that genre, has a female vocalist.” So, I’m all for keeping the female-fronted moniker. That’s just my opinion.

Now, onto some of the greatest female rock and metal bands of all time, as picked by the experts at Audio Ink Radio.

The Greatest Female Rock and Metal Bands

Now, remember that this list just includes all-female bands. There are plenty of female-led bands that are deserving of some love, too, such as Evanescence, The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm, Jinjer, Paramore, The Cranberries, No Doubt, Within Temptation, Nightwish, Flyleaf, my own band Upon Wings and many more. If you want to listen to some of their music, follow my Spotify playlist featuring female-led rock and metal bands (or save it via the player below), and follow my Spotify playlist with female pop and hip-hop acts. Finally, also follow my indie Spotify playlist, featuring a range of music.

6. Kittie

I was going to just do five of the best all-female bands but had to make the list six to include the legendary Morgan Lander and Kittie. The group was one of the only all-female bands in the late-1990s and early-2000s in the nu-metal world. They took that world by storm and played massive festival such as Ozzfest, proving the ladies can rock just as hard as the guys. They’re really expert players.

5. Bikini Kill

The 1990s Riot Grrrl movement was legendary, and so was Bikini Kill. They were really the forerunners of this movement, spearheaded by frontwoman Kathleen Hanna. They offered a strong feminist message, coupled with high-octane punk music.

4. Sleater-Kinney

Sleater-Kinney got together in 1994 and brought together Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and, down the road, Janet Weiss. All three of those ladies were part of the Riot Grrrl movement, and their punk music reflected that. They eventually evolved to a more classic rock sound but have always rocked.

3. L7

In the midst of the hair metal heyday of the 1980s, L7 formed out of Los Angeles with their own underground punk and, eventually, grunge sound. The band brought together Donita Sparks, guitarist Suzi Gardner, bass player Jennifer Finch and drummer Demetra Plakas. These ladies had some legendary Lollapalooza performances, too.

2. The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s had a massive impact on music, not just females in the genre. The band, which got together in 1978, became one of the biggest bands of the 1980s with chart-toppers such as “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat.” They certainly helped pave the way for women in rock and punk.

1. The Runaways

The Runaways are one of those bands that helped pave the way for every other female-fronted or all-female band to follow. The band brought together powerhouse musicians in Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Lita Ford, Sandy West and Jackie Fox. They stood against the norm, with loud, rebellious music that played like a “screw you” to anyone who thought ladies couldn’t rock super hard.

Anne Erickson
Posted by Anne Erickson | Features, Metal, Music, Rock