The Ten Best Female Metal Musicians in Denver — 2016 Edition

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While metal has often been a male-dominated world and, at its worst, infected with misogyny, things have been changing for some time now. The average music lover won't stand for that shit anymore, and it's no secret that women rock hard. The Joan Jetts of this world are no longer anomalies, and we have proof right here: ten local bands with killer metal musicians in their ranks. And don't you dare call them 'babe.'
The following list of bands is in alphabetical order. This isn't a chart countdown to number one.

10. Hyatt Llorona (vocals) of Dead Lotus Society
Not for the faint of heart, the Dead Lotus Society plays brutally harsh, unrelenting metal, and the band cites One Eyed Doll, Dir En Grey and We Are Erased as influences. It’s not easy listening, by any means, and the presence of singer Llorona is key. Her voice goes from a sultry purr to an inhuman wail in a blink, and it’s that sort of schizophrenic quality that makes the band so compelling.

9. Nadia Kontogiannis (vocals) of Dead Temple
Only a year ago, Dead Temple had three female singers, including Jade Morgan and Olivia Stone, and were slaying on stages all over the region, opening for national bands like Doro. All three were great singers who worked well together, but they’ve whittled down the vocal lineup to Kontogiannis, and the dynamic will be entirely different, and probably more conventional. Yet we doubt the change will make the heavy and psychedelic sludge rock any less intense.

8. Aeyon Cruz (bass) and Michelle Huerd (vocals) of Glass Delirium
Blessed with bags of youthful energy, the members of Glass Delirium are keen to point to their classical and jazz leanings as well as their heavier side. Progressive and experimental, the Denver band looks to expand its soundscape at every opportunity, soaking up movie scores and even pop. With those ambitions in mind, Cruz had better be a solid bass player. (She is.) Meanwhile, the singer's voice needs to be Huerd (sorry, couldn’t resist).

7. LaRissa Vienna & the Strange
LaRissa Vienna is a unique and unusual artist who should be getting a hell of a lot of attention. Blurring the lines that separate metal, punk, goth and glam, she writes lyrics that are positively poetic and beautifully thoughtful. Despite the overtly dark side to the music, there’s an underlying positivity that holds the listener’s attention.

6. Lola Black
Like Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper, Lola Black is both the name of the band and the singer. And while all of the band's members have done stints in other notable local bands, they told A.H. Goldstein in 2009 that they don’t consider themselves a supergroup.

“The band's eponymous diva cuts an imposing figure,” Goldstein wrote. “With her black hair stacked high upon her head, her collection of chain bracelets and her colorful array of tattoos, Lola has no hesitation in seeking the spotlight. Her standard piece of jewelry — a set of brass knuckles on a chain around her neck — is the group's logo, and also hints at an attitude that quickly comes out in conversation.”

Read on for more of the ten best female metal musicians in Denver. 

5. Shanda Kolberg (guitar) and Shannon Fahnestock (bass) of Luna Sol
Luna Sol’s high-mountain stoner rock wouldn’t sound nearly as intense and dreamy if not for the presence of guitarist Kolberg and bassist Fahnestock. The soundscapes are psychedelic and other-worldly, and it’s the collection of talent in the band that makes it all work as a whole. 

4. Sami (bass) of Quantum Force
Classic rockers Quantum Force recently added new bass player Sami (she goes by just one name), and the band hasn’t missed a beat since. The likes of the Stones, Clapton and the Grateful Dead are a big influence on a hard-rock outfit that embraces its blues forefathers as much as the proto-metal of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

3. Roxy Roller (synth) and OllieShox (guitar) of The Roxy Suicide
It sucks that David Bowie is no longer with us, not to mention long-departed souls like Marc Bolan and Johnny Thunders. Thankfully, their glammy, sleazy spirit lives on in local band the Roxy Suicide. Massive hooks are the order of the day, though OllieShox is a gifted guitarist, and her fretwork drives the song forward. Roxy Roller, meanwhile, adds as much color as the clothing.

2. Marie Elam (vocals) of Sabbatar
With influences ranging from the classic (Led Zeppelin, Queen) to the contemporary (Shinedown, Evanescence), Sabbatar has been developing its hard, power-metal sound since 2013, and singer Marie Elam is a big part of what makes the band tick. Epic tunes and driving riffs are all present and correct, but one suspects that the captivating presence of Elam is crucial to the band's power

1. Juliet March (vocals, bass) of Steel March
Steel March is based just over the state line, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but the band plays in and around Denver so often that it's become a local fixture. With a classic metal sound that borrows from the Californian thrash of Metallica and Megadeth as well as the crunchy aggression of Slipknot and the sleazy glamour of Motley Crüe, vocalist March is a killer bass player as well as a kick-ass singer. You’ll often see Steel March on the bill when national metal bands come to town, because it's a guaranteed good warm-up.

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