Metal Chicks Rule

Celebrating METAL Chicks

Floor Jansen

From After Forever, Nightwish, and ReVamp is Dutch singer Floor Jansen

We first heard of Floor Jansen from the Dutch Symphonic Metal band After Forever. But that band broke up in 2009 and she went to ReVamp, where we sort of forgot about her. Kind of weird that several years later, she resurfaced with one of our favorite all-time bands – Nightwish after that band sacked Anette Olzon (or she quit, sources vary and who knows which one is right).

We have to admit, none of us knew about ReVamp. OK, we’re in the States. When good bands play in Europe, they’re playing huge venues. When they come here, they’re playing in places where we wonder if they even break even.

We have seen both Tarja Turunen and Anette Olzon live but none of us have seen Floor Jansen yet. We’ll definitely catch her when Nightwish comes here on their next world tour.

Floor Jansen

Floor Jansen

A little bit about Floor Jansen – she was born in the Netherlands on February 21st, 1981. She is a Dramatic Soprano and has a very powerful voice. She can sing both Metal and Opera. She’s very versatile.

She’s listed as 6’1″ but she appears taller because Tuomas is 6’3″ and they look like they’re the same height. She’s probably a little bit closer to him in height. Hopefully we’ll see her in person because one of the guy writers here is 6’1″ and we’ll see if she’s his height or taller if we see her in person.

Floor Jansen

Floor Jansen

Do we think she fits Nightwish?

We haven’t seen her live yet and she’s not on a Nightwish studio album. However, we have seen their latest DVD and she’s fantastic on the DVD. She has a strong stage presence and a pretty amazing voice. Plus, she looks like a Valkyrie. We think she fits the part perfectly and we can’t wait for Nightwish to come out with a new album with Floor singing.

Photo credits – First picture by Tuomas Vitikainen. Licensed CC 3.0.

Second picture by KaJaNareal. Licensed CC 2.5

Kelly Johnson of Girlschool

Let’s again go back to the 80s – Singer/Lead Guitarist Kelly Johnson of Girlschool

Today, we take women in Metal for granted. But in the 80s, when Metal started making a comeback with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Girlschool was a prominent force in that genre. Kelly Johnson was the lead guitarist and lead singer of Girlschool.

Girlschool never did get big. They did a lot of touring with bands like Motörhead, but never did score that high selling album. After four albums in the early 80s with Girlschool, Kelly Johnson left.

Kelly Johnson of Girlschool

Kelly Johnson of Girlschool

Their music by today’s standards sounds dated, and we’re not going to lie and say it stands the test of time. However, we will say that Girlschool deserves a lot of credit. Like we said earlier, today, we take women in Metal for granted. But it wasn’t always that way. Only Lita Ford and Warlock sold well in the 80s. The rest of the Metal bands with female members didn’t fare that well unfortunately.

Would the music sound dated if it was produced better? It’s hard to tell. Their music never did seem to have top notch production qualities.

They never did sell well in the States. They never cracked the Billboard charts. Their 1981 album Hit and Run made Gold in Canada, and it hit number five in the UK, where they’re from.

Kelly Johnson left the band in 1984, after their lighter album Play Dirty which was more hard rock than Metal. They got lighter in an attempt to sell records, but it backfired and they lost their fan base by doing that.

So, she got frustrated and left in early 1984.

She rejoined the band almost ten years later in 1993 and she remained active with them until 1999, which unfortunately, she got diagnosed with cancer.

Kelly Johnson died in 2007 of cancer. Although Girlschool never did get big, we all owe a big thanks to people like Kelly Johnson who paved the way.

Ailyn Giménez of Sirenia

Sirenia has been around since 2001, and we’ve first known of them with their previous singer. In 2008 though, Ailyn Giménez from Spain took over vocal duties and we all agree that she’s a great match for the Norwegian Gothic Metal band.

Ailyn Giménez from Sirenia

Ailyn Giménez from Sirenia

Ailyn joins Sirenia

Ailyn Giménez’s first album with the band was The 13th Floor. She’s been with them for three albums now, which hopefully means she’s there to stay. The Enigma of Life was released in 2011 and their most recent one is Perils of the Deep Blue, which was released last year.

Ailyn Giménez from Sirenia

Ailyn performing live

Perils of the Deep Blue

Their latest album, Perils of the Deep Blue has a more Symphonic Metal sound so it’s kind of a hybrid between Gothic Metal and Symphonic Metal. It may be their best effort to date because the sound is very big. Ailyn seems to push her voice more on this album. Which is a good thing.

The music is more dynamic, which pretty epic changes between heavy and beautiful. Ailyn pulls it off perfectly, and thus, deserves some serious recognition as a Metal singer.

In the credits of the CD, it appears Sirenia only has two full time members. Ailyn Giménez is just listed as Ailyn (no last name like Madonna, Prince, or McLovin). Morten Veland, who also co-founded Tristania, who as you may know had a huge development in the development of Gothic Metal, plays practically every other instrument.

The album is very good. Ailyn really pushes her voice and has an enchantingly beautiful voice that works perfectly with the heaviness of the album.

We think of all their albums, their latest was definitely their best as Veland not only appeared to have full freedom, he seemed to have a chip on his shoulder to prove that Sirenia can be as good as Tristania.

Ailyn Sirenia

Ailyn live

Photo credits: The first picture is from Ailyn’s Facebook page. The second picture is from Fevermind and is Public Domain. The third picture is from MathKnight and has a Creative Commons 2.5 license.

In defense of Anette Olzon

Metal Chicks Rule is four friends who have known each other for years, and all agree on one thing – WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN METAL!!!

We’re supposed to use the word “we” when we agree on things and we’re not supposed to use our real names.  That was the agreement when we started this blog.

We also are supposed to give props whenever possible and stay away from criticizing females in Metal.  Of the four of us, I didn’t like the Tarja vs Anette article at all, but said “just go ahead.”

I happen to like Anette Olzon

I happen to be a Facebook fan of Anette Olzon.  The four of us saw Nightwish on Tarja’s last tour and also saw them on Anette’s first tour.  We liked both shows a lot and Nightwish happens to be my favorite band.  I love Tarja.  I love Anette.  And I now love Floor.  I think of all the women they could have found to replace Anette, they did a great job finding Floor.

Anette Olzon

Anette Olzon with Nightwish

I think Anette gets slammed too much by people and doesn’t get the credit she deserves.  First and foremost, Anette Olzon is the nicest person in the world. So if the criticism against her is mean spirited, I get really angry. I understand some people think she was a bad fit in Nightwish. If you really think that, then the fault is Nightwish. They’re the ones who picked her. They could have said “no” and got another singer.

Live, Anette Olzon is amazing!

I thought that live, she was amazing. She had a lot of charisma on stage and showed on stage how likeable she is. She’s like the same person on stage as she is in person. She’s very down to earth. She’s very likeable, and is really a nice, caring, sweet woman.

She does have a strong voice too. So she has a pop background. Once again, if Nightwish had a problem with that, then why did they pick her? That to me makes no sense.

It’s on YouTube where I hear the worst comments. But I didn’t like the article we posted here either. We said it was a mismatch from the beginning. I didn’t think that. We also said that Imaginaerum was forgettable and they didn’t even say the name of the album. I thought it was pretty good and really showcased what Anette could do.

But whatever. The good thing is the rest of them agreed to let me write this up without any input from them. So this is all me.

I happen to love Anette Olzon and hope when she comes here that she sings a lot from Dark Passion Play and Imaginaerum because she was excellent in both albums.

Photo credit: Carly. License – Creative Commons 2.0

Symphonies of the Night Review

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night Review

Leaves' Eyes - Symphonies of the Night review

Symphonies of the Night

Released in 2013, Leaves’ Eyes latest album Symphonies of the Night is exactly what you’d expect from the band. Produced by Alexander Krull, the music revolves around Liv Kristine’s soprano voice. And what a voice she has.

Musically, the band is tight and does what they’re supposed to do. Lacking guitar solos on most songs, the music focuses more on Liv Kristine. Alexander Krull provides backing growling, so you get the beauty and the beast routine. With Leaves’ Eyes, you cannot call it cliche as they’ve been doing it for more than a decade.

Hell to the Heavens, which is the opening track, is also their single. The album didn’t chart in the States, and they’re not as big as Nightwish, Epica, or Within Temptation. The band is good, don’t get us wrong. They just seem to fall short of the bigger, more mainstream Symphonic Metal bands when it comes to album sales.

We all prefer the album Njord to this one. It’s not a bad album. You could tell though that they went into a more pop direction with less of the Viking related themes and more groove than before. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the direction they went. But musically, Njord is a better album.

But if you’re already a fan of the band, you should pick it up. If you go in knowing it’s not as good as Njord but it’s still a good album, you won’t be disappointed.

The highlights of the album are Liv Kristine’s voice. She’s always had an amazing voice and the band knows it, so they utilize it every chance they get. What does that mean? Exactly what it means. The band relies on Liv Kristine’s voice to sell records.

We’re hoping this one helps Leaves’ Eyes get a bigger audience. She really punches through the music with this one and stands out. There is no sign of meekness in Liv Kristine’s voice on this album. It is strong and powerful and is the highlight on this album.

We love Tarja Turunen

Of course loves Symphonic Metal singer Tarja Turunen

Tarja Turunen

Tarja Turunen

Is this even a question that we at Metal Chicks Rule love Tarja Turunen? She’s the one who started it all for Female Singers in the whole Symphonic Metal genre. There may have been female singers in Symphonic Metal before Tarja, but even if there were, everyone in the Symphonic Metal genre was at least somewhat influenced by her.

Born in August 17, 1977 in Finland, Tarja Turunen came to prominence in the band that is arguably best of genre – Nightwish. She was one of the co-founders of the band, along with keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen back in 1996.

Their first album wasn’t exactly Metal and didn’t properly use Tarja’s voice. But their second album, 1998’s Oceanborn, wow!!! Tarja’s talent was unleashed on the world and became undeniable. She can sing.

With both a Mezzo-Soprano and Soprano range, Tarja is the real deal. She’s an Opera singer who sings Metal. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone with a working brain cell who thinks she doesn’t have a good voice.

Nightwish rose in Europe pretty fast, but in the States, not as fast. We didn’t know about Nightwish until their infamous album Once. We have one member of Metal Chicks Rule who says that Once is hands down the best album of the 2000s. We all love this album.

On this album, she sings both Metal and Opera and pulls them both off perfectly. She even has some experimental techniques on the song “The Siren.” You really need to hear this album if you haven’t already.

Unfortunately for us, after the tour, Nightwish dismissed Tarja. Long story.

We did get to catch her on that tour and she was amazing. She doesn’t move around much, but she doesn’t have to. She makes a lot of operatic movements with her arms and really draws a lot of attention that way. We mean, in a real good way. She has a commanding presence and definitely does not lack charisma. If you get a chance to see her perform live, take it.

So after Nightwish, she went solo. She lives in Argentina now with her husband and daughter.

Tarja Turunen guests vocals on a lot of songs. She did a duet with Sharon den Adel on the song “Paradise (What About Us?)” in which they sound fabulous together.

She was also the reason Simone Simons started singing.

Photo credit – Rey Brujo under the CC 3.0 license