Band Gimmicks- Part Three: Slutty Frontwomen

For the last two articles, Mike has gone off on tangents about so-called “faceless bands” and excessive stage antics. Well, now it’s my turn. What grinds my gears more than anything is women in scantily-clad outfits strutting around on stage, trying to push something resembling gutturals out of their mouths.  And that being the reason the band as a whole gets notoriety and shows and record labels; not talent, but titties.

But, to be fair, slutty women in general are the bane of my existence.

But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti- metal front women, as you’ll see. I’m just anti- slutty ones.

I got wind of this first band a few years ago, courtesy of Rockstar’s Mayhem Fest.  I had never heard of Butcher Babies before, so I figured I should look them up, especially since I was going to be at the Darien Center date of Mayhem Fest.  And surely, the first handful of images that Google provided me with were essentially nothing but fake breasts, leather bikini bottoms and fishnets (I do want to note that if you choose to google “Butcher Babies”, which I’m sure you will, you’re not going to find a lot of photos of the whole band, because, yanno, there are five of them.  The three guys are kind of like all of those books you “had” to read in high school literature classes-they don’t really matter.)  But really, if I wanna see a pair of breasts, I’ll just look in the mirror.  So, instead of automatically being biased against them, I told myself, “Check them out anyway, they might not even be that bad”.  Clearly, my attempt at a good conscience led me astray.

The first song I listened to was “I Smell a Massacre”, and I wasn’t sure if I was listening to actual instruments being played, or sounds being generated from a computer.  As a non-music expert, all I heard was overly produced/autotuned screams and cleans and heavily distorted guitars.  Admittedly, I skipped around a bit on their album Goliath, but I don’t think I heard even just one guitar solo. But there were sure as hell plenty of breakdowns and simple riffs.  Personally, it all sounds like they’re trying too hard to be “brutal” and their overcompensation is making them sound childish.  Their lyrics tell the same exact story.  There’s nothing special about them; their lyrics about massacres and burning things and backstabbing are simple and repetitive.  Really, their music is pretty generic. So, why are they landing spots on tours with huge bands like GWAR?

I cannot find any other explanation other than their excessively skimpy ensembles.  How else could two talent-less women with three okay musicians that no one’s heard of get that big? The only real conclusion I can come up with is simple, and quite literally everywhere one could look in society: sex sells. And these bitches certainly need to flaunt what they’ve got.

Butcher Babies just happen to be touring with they who I am taking jabs at next- In This Moment. Fortunately for the Buffalo crowd, Swedish metallers In Flames were in town the same night as they were, so we all had a legitimate excuse to not trek over to Niagara Falls for that show.  This is another one of my “don’t get me wrong” statements.  I openly admit that ITM’s singer, Maria Brink, is pretty smoking for being 37.  But they’re another band where all of the media revolves around one person because she’s a woman.  And she’s usually wearing a tiny dress, but if you’re lucky, she’ll be wearing a cute little nurse’s outfit, or a skimpy military general uniform.  The army helmet with the bunny ears is my favourite.*  Now, certainly, she’s not as trashy as the Babies, but she’s got a Mary Poppins bag of her own gimmicks.

The band just released a video for a song called “Sex Metal Barbie”.  In the intro, I was immediately drawn to what sounded to me like a complete rip off of Fleshwrought’s “Weeping Hallucinations”**.  As soon as that was over, the dance routine began.  And then the autotuned vocals came in, but by this point I wasn’t the least surprised.   I wasn’t surprised that the guys in the band here are also pretty nonexistent.  The whole video revolves around this one woman because Maria Brink is In This Moment.  And it’s not just this one video.  Pretty much all of their videos follow this same format: excessive costumes, props and dance routines, all Maria and no rest of the band.

Now, if someone could adequately explain to me how dance routines and Barbie’s are metal, I will happily scrap this entire section of this article.

Just like the Babies, the lyrics are simple and repetitive, there are no guitar solos, but there’s autotune! Lots of autotune! And don’t forget the breakdowns! BUT WAIT! THAT’S NOT ALL! If you like what you see in these videos, THEY DO ALL OF THOSE DANCE ROUTINES WITH ALL OF THOSE PROPS AND COSTUMES LIVE!

Now, I really want to support women in metal.  But stuff like this is why I can’t.  It’s too much about outwardly appearance and hitting the airwaves and not enough about talent and substance.  But fortunately, there’s hope.

I was going to take several stabs at The Pretty Reckless, but they’re not metal, and that’d just be a waste of everyone’s time.  Either way, their singer could use some real clothes.

Now, I’d like to say that though a lack of clothes doesn’t make up for talent, not flaunting oneself doesn’t instantly translate into decent musicianship.  However, I do want to point out a handful of women who don’t need to flaunt themselves because they have things like talent and skill going for them.

For those of you that weren’t there, Veil of Maya brought with them a handful of metal acts to Rochester yesterday (5/22/2015).  Their opening act, Entheos, containing the likes of Evan Brewer (The Faceless) and Navene Koperweis (Animals as Leaders) stole the show.  But those two boys were not necessarily the reason why they stood out.  Chaney Crabb, their vocalist, out-grunted every guy on that bill, hands down.  And she did it without sporting some skimpy latex outfit. She even once auditioned to be VOM’s new vocalist after Brandon Butler called it quits.  You can see her audition here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksxUeX-OhRs

Som Pluijmers is probably one of my favourite female vocalists, even though her career was rather short lived.  If you’re interested in checking out any of Cerebral Bore’s videos, you may notice that Som is kind of wearing men’s shorts in “The Bald Cadaver”.  You may also notice those gutturals and pig squeals.  Oh, those pig squeals.  Som left Cerebral Bore in 2012.

So far, the above two ladies only did screams and gutturals, but IWRESTLEDABEARONCE’s Krysta Cameron actually sang pretty damn well, in addition to all of those heavier vocals.  Unfortunately, she quit the band in 2012 when she became pregnant with her son.  Though that was a huge blow for the band, close friend Courtney LaPlante stepped up to the plate, and quite frankly, she was more than adequate to fill Krysta’s shoes.  If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was all being done by one woman, since their vocals, both clean and grimy, sound extremely similar.  Oh, right, and they do it all, again, without flaunting themselves.

I guess to close this tangent off, soft core nudity and dance routines don’t necessarily equal quality.  There are plenty of talented women in this genre that have made names for themselves without the removal of clothes.

Thanks for taking a gander at my first article! All comments and feedback are more than appreciated!  Our next article may or may not have something to do with multiple vocalists, but I’ll never tell! You’ll just have to stay tuned! Thanks again!

>Vick Sacha

* sarcasm.
** If you’re going to tell me it’s the other way around, Dementia/Dyslexia has been out since 2010; see for yourself:
“Sex Metal Barbie” 0:00-0:06: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leypqKyC4M0
“Weeping Hallucinations” 3:31-4:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDbe57OgBbQ

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