Every month from now on I’ll try to add a special post about an important woman in the world of Heavy Metal. Although we live in a very sexist world, I want to focus on the importance of each selected girl to heavy music, not only on their beauty. Well, most of them end up being very pretty, but let’s say that’s just a bonus to their talent, right?
The first one is in fact one of the heaviest and most eloquent of all: Angela Gossow is a beast (I would say she’s the personification of Megadeth’s She-Wolf), and at the same time a role model to many girls that are taking their chances in the world of Metal or to the ones that decided to become more engaged in social projects for human or animal rights.
Angela Nathalie Gossow was born on November 5, 1974 in Cologne, Germany, and she’s been on the road since 1991, beginning with the cool band Asmodina, then with Mistress and finally with one of my favorite bands in recent years, the Swedish Death Metal band Arch Enemy. I personally don’t think she will ever leave Arch Enemy and start a solo career, especially because she’s married to band’s guitar and founder, Michael Amott, and became some kind of leader of the group.
Her greatest strength is, of course, her unmatched guttural voice. I’ve seen Arch Enemy live once in Toronto, and it’s impressive how she can recreate on stage exactly what you listen to in their studio versions during the entire concert. Some Heavy Metal giants are among her biggest influences, as for example Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Chuck Billy (Testament) and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), and what’s really interesting here is that it’s possible to notice nuances from each of these guys in her style and technique, even from a non-guttural singer like Halford.
Another extremely relevant point that must be taken into account in her entire career is her mighty on-stage performance. She sings, screams, bangs her head non-stop and interacts with the crowd all the time, making the experience of seeing Arch Enemy live even more delightful. There are so many Metal guys that consider themselves as being “the toughest men on Earth”, but that in fact do not deliver on stage not even 10% of what Angela does, and that’s a very good reason to respect this woman even more as an artist and a performer.
On the other hand, as a lyricist she still has a long way to go. I’m not saying that I don’t like the band’s most recent albums (I love the musicality in Rise of the Tyrant and Khaos Legions), but the problem here is that since she started having more decision-making power in the band, despite the important messages she’s been trying to send to everybody about animal rights, religion or anarchism, all lyrics became too repetitive. She can keep on talking about those topics in her songs, but she needs to try doing that in a more creative way. If she refines her writing style, Arch Enemy will grow even more.
Regarding being a role model to many Metal or non-Metal girls, the fact that she’s an anarchist, an atheist, a vegan and a Death Metal singer, all at the same time, makes her unique and helps her influence a lot any woman that is pursuing a career in different areas ruled by men in our society, including heavy music. Angela and the rest of the band are huge supporters of non-profit organizations like Amnesty International and peta2 (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), sometimes even mixing their music with those institutions either by participating in some of their events or by allowing them to sell merchandise with the band’s name on it.
And lastly, let’s reflect about an insightful thought from Angela about religion and atheism. What do you think about it? Do you agree with her?
“To me, human rights go hand in hand with atheism. Atheists cannot hold some insane religious tradition responsible for their horrible deeds against mankind. We are fully responsible for everything we do. Until this does not apply to all religions on a world-wide basis I feel that religion is indeed the root of all evil.” – Angela Gossow