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Women and heavy metal

May 17, 2024

Metal is hard, aggressive, and loud. Since its beginnings in the 1970s, the scene has been dominated by men, so goes the cliché. But women have always been there! Let's meet female talents at Germany's biggest festival.

Arts Unveiled Women and Heavy Metal
Image: DW

When heavy metal bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath emerged in the 1970s, the scene was dominated by men. It was mainly due to gender roles back then. Metal was considered hard, aggressive and loud, which did not correspond to "traditional female" attributes.

Metal queen Doro Pesch on stage
Metal queen Doro Pesch on stageImage: picture alliance/dpa

Yet from the very beginning, women were part of the scene as fans and musicians. In 1990, Ax'n' Sex, a band with a female lead singer, performed in Wacken. In the following years, the band from Kiel played there again repeatedly. The same goes for metal icon Doro Pesch, who performed at the renowned heavy metal festival Wacken for the first time in 1993.

Members of the Brazilian heavy metal band Nervosa
Members of the Brazilian heavy metal band NervosaImage: DW

Join us in Wacken, where we dive deep into the history of women in the metal scene and meet key bands and singers such as Doro Pesch, Burning Witches, Slave to Sirens or Nervosa.

These iconic metal musicians show us just how women are conquering heavy metal!


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