Metal Chick of the Month – Dr. Mikannibal

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I Live You Die… Your Life Is Mine.

If you have never, ever in your entire life heard or seen anything about the jaw-dropping, unusual and skillful Japanese goddess Dr. Mikannibal, the saxophonist and also one of the lead singers of Japanese Black/Avant-garde Metal band Sigh, you have no idea of what you’re missing. Furthermore, nothing that you will read here is fake or made-up: Dr. Mikannibal is indeed a unique performer, and I dare you to find another woman so off-the-wall in music, even in the weird realms of Industrial, Gothic and especially Black Metal. For instance, she loves to record topless, has the odd habit of eating bugs and also enjoys drinking blood. Do I need to say more?

Our electrifying Asian bombshell, whose real name is Mika, was born on January 23 in the city of Sendai-shi (also known as “The City of Trees”) in Miyagi, Japan, located around 350km from the capital Tokyo. Dr. Mikannibal is in a long-term relationship with Sigh’s multi-instrumentalist Mirai Kawashima, and although she suffered a miscarriage three months into pregnancy in 2013, in April 2014 she took the stage of Inferno Metal Festival in Oslo, Norway with “Baby’s In Here” written on her belly. I wasn’t able to find anything online about her pregnancy after that, so let’s hope that Mika and Mirai had a beautiful and healthy baby together (which is probably what happened) and are now enjoying their parenthood to the sound of heavy music.

Named one of the “Sexiest Women in Metal” by Revolver Magazine, the title of Doctor added to her stage moniker is far from being jest, as she actually has a Ph.D. in Physics and still finds time to work as a scientist at her home in Florida, where she has been living for the past few years. Moreover, as expected from any person that’s at the same time a scientist and a black metaller, Dr. Mikannibal is an atheist (as well as Mirai) and whenever the band sings about hell she said in one of her interviews there’s no religious meaning behind it. It’s simply a representation of human beings going through hell, describing those scenes through their music.

In regards to her music career, Dr. Mikannibal has been playing saxophone since she was 12, being able to play the alto, tenor and baritone sax. She mentioned all are basically the same and she does that to add more power to her music, although it’s more difficult than playing just the alto sax, of course. However, it wasn’t until she joined Sigh that she took her saxophone skills to the studio and on stage at a professional level. Before joining Sigh she only did vocals for different metal bands, starting with indie Japanese Melodic Death Metal band 29Jaguar, with whom she recorded the demo 29Anger in 2005, and Japanese Melodic Thrash/Death Metal band Providence.

Dr. Mikannibal joined Sigh back in 2007, having already recorded with the band the following albums: A Tribute to Venom EP (2008), Scenes from Hell (2010), The Curse of Izanagi EP (2010), the split album Swine of Hades (2011), and more recently In Somniphobia (2012) and Graveward (2015). From all those releases, the only one where our metal goddess did not play her wicked saxophone was A Tribute to Venom EP, but anyway you can enjoy her devilish vocals in their cover versions for the Black Metal classics Countess Bathory, Black Metal and Witching Hour. If you want to take a listen at her skills as both the vocalist and saxophonist of Sigh, a few suggested songs are The Transfiguration Fear and Far Beneath The In-Between and Kaedit Nos Pestis. Lastly, after joining Sigh, she recorded sax and vocals in the 2012 album Worms in the Keys by international Avant-garde Rock/Metal project Self Spiller, and was also a guest saxophonist on track Boiled In Hell Broth & Grave Dust (Intro), from the 2010 album The Murder of Jesus the Jew by British Experimental Black Metal band The Meads of Asphodel, and on A Hollow Bridge, from the album Mapping the Moment with the Logic of Dreams by Romanian Progressive Black Metal band Bloodway. Apart from her career as a musician, Dr. Mikannibal has also ventured in the world of journalism, as for example her interview with At The Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg in Tokyo, Japan on August 5, 2013 for the Metal Moment podcast.

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Nonetheless, it’s on stage that our sexy doctor really stands out with her lunatic vocals and ferocious saxophone playing, her skimpy lingerie, skirts and dresses, and of course her infamous hot wax bath. Yes, that’s exactly what you have in your mind right now: a provocative Asian girl dripping hot wax from candles all over her attractive body. Check these two videos on YouTube where you’ll be able to see how wild she’s when performing live, the first playing the song The Soul Grave at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands in 2013, and the second showing you her hot wax bath in Taipei, Taiwan in 2012. Isn’t she adorable?

But wait, there’s still a lot more to talk about our fearless diva: because she loves her pet lizards (or geckos) and was really curious as to what they eat, she started to gather more details on bug eating, attended a “bug eating party”, learned how to cook roaches and other bugs properly and voilà! There you have a sexy bug-eater woman! Oddly enough, Dr. Mikannibal explained everything she does is not meant to attract the attention of anyone. “Some people in Japan traditionally eat grasshoppers. In the north part of Japan, they eat bugs. Eating roaches is not common in Japan, but it’s not a made-up story to get attention. It’s just something I do.”, she said in one of her interviews.

Obviously, a woman like that who wears such revealing see-through outfits in front of thousands of people has to be very comfortable with her body and appearance. She accepts and embraces the idea of being a sex symbol, although such distinction is not one of her main goals in her career. Not only that, when our gorgeous Nipponese lady is about to record anything new at home or in the studio, she does that topless (yes, topless!), simply due to the fact that she feels a lot more comfortable that way as she hates sweating a lot. She mentioned once the first thing she does when she arrives home is taking off her clothes, saying that’s something very natural and pleasant for her. Well, I guess there are lots of people who would love to attend the recording sessions by Sigh and be face-to-face in the studio with Dr. Mikannibal, one of the most remarkable women in contemporary Extreme Metal.

Dr. Mikannibal’s Official Facebook page
Dr. Mikannibal’s Official Twitter
Sigh’s Official Facebook page
Sigh’s Official Twitter 

“I do wear sexy costumes, and I wear less clothes than other metal chicks do in other bands. It’s not intentional. I don’t do it to try and get attention from men. I just wear what I wear because I like it. I love myself, my looks and my body, and I like to show it off on stage. That’s the whole idea.”  – Dr. Mikannibal

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Metal Chick of the Month – Alissa White-Gluz

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This is War Eternal, Alissa!

In order to properly celebrate the first awesome year of The Headbanging Moose, no one would have been a better choice for our Metal Chick of the Month than this Canadian girl. She’s at the same time the Beauty AND the Beast, an inspiration to many women all around the world, and her convictions and talent are truly taking her to stardom. From the beautiful city of Montreal, Quebec, here comes Alissa White-Gluz, founder and former lead singer of Canadian Metalcore band The Agonist, and currently the frontwoman of Swedish Melodic Death Metal icons Arch Enemy.

This vegan straight-edge kick-ass Québécois was born on July 31, 1985, and although she claims she has never taken any singing lessons her voice has become really powerful and versatile throughout the years, elevating her status as one of the most influential Heavy Metal female singers of the past decade, even leading to some comparisons with the one and only Angela Gossow. Well, those comparisons don’t seem to have been in vain, because on March 17, 2014, she was chosen to be the replacement for Angela herself and became the voice of Arch Enemy. In Alissa’s own words, “I am very honored and happy to announce a new chapter in my life and musical career beginning now; I have joined forces with one of my all-time favorite and globally respected bands, ARCH ENEMY. ‘Wages of Sin’ was the first metal album I ever bought, and it was love at first listen. It is not often that you get a phone call from your favorite band asking you to join! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such amazingly talented musicians whom I also consider great friends. I look forward to being able to write and perform at a whole new level now with ARCH ENEMY! Music is forever, metal is limitless and this is only the beginning!”

Arch Enemy have recently released their first album with Alissa on vocals, entitled War Eternal, but there was a lot more of our Heavy Metal diva prior to that. She founded The Agonist back in 2004 with guitarist Danny Marino and bassist Chris Kells (when the band was still known as The Tempest), and recorded three excellent full-length albums and one EP with them: Once Only Imagined (2007), Lullabies for the Dormant Mind (2009), The Escape EP (2011), and Prisoners (2012), with Lullabies for the Dormant Mind being in my opinion their best album in terms of musicality, lyrics and creativity. In regards to Alissa’s performance in all The Agonist albums, she was always so electrifying and full of energy that it’s impossible to not get completely mesmerized by her voice and moves, as you can easily see in their official videos for Thank You, Pain, …And Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep, and Panophobia. By the way, I consider the video for Thank You, Pain, with its outstanding production, good storyline and, of course, Alissa kickin’ ass, one of the most professional and beautiful videos I’ve seen in a long time.

Besides her work with The Agonist, Alissa has also been featured as a guest musician in the following albums: Canadian Folk/Melodic Death Metal band Blackguard’s Profugus Mortis,  Canadian Melodic Black/Death Metal band Erimha’s Irkalla, Canadian Industrial Death Metal band Synastry’s Blind Eyes Bleed, American Melodic Power Metal band Kamelot’s Silverthorn and also in the single Sacrimony (which the amazing official video can be seen here), and more recently in Dutch Symphonic Metal band Delain’s The Human Contradiction. She was also a live guest singer during Kamelot’s recent 2011/2012 tours, as well as, along with Swedish singer Elize Ryd (Amaranth), replaced Anette Olzon while she was sick for a one-time Nightwish concert in Denver on September 28, 2012. An interview with both artists talking about that experience can be seen here and on Nightwish’s Showtime, Storytime (DVD), on the documentary footage section.

Also, in 2006 Alissa appeared on Canadian Idol singing a cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and in January 2012 she was featured as a coach on an episode of MTV’s Made. I don’t know if these can be considered part of her music career, as those TV shows are useless and do not bring any real benefits to real musicians, but anyway she was there and it was an alternative way for her to be exposed to different audiences that are not really into Heavy Metal.

While Alissa was with The Agonist, she toured the world with many different famous bands such as Epica, Kamelot, Sonata Arctica and Danzig, which is very demanding and time consuming, and now with Arch Enemy the frequency and intensity of world tours have just increased, making her eating habits and exercising more than essential for a professional and powerful onstage performance. That’s one of the reasons why she maintains a strong exercise routine, working out between 5 and 6 times a week, especially to strengthen her muscles. Alissa mentioned she loves working out, which is in her opinion the best remedy for anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues etc., and it’s one of the things that make her feel a happier and healthier person. I agree with her 100%, as I also love working out and feel the same results as she does, and also because The Agonist and Arch Enemy are always in my workout playlist.

Another important part of her life is her veganism, which according to Alissa herself is her most powerful source of energy and health. Although she was a vegetarian all her life, she decided to become a vegan when she was a teenager and carry that flag forever more, always mentioning that her family has been a huge inspiration for her. “My parents, along with my brother and sister, are vegetarians. I wasn’t raised in any way where I was forced to be a vegetarian too. I always had the choice. My mom would say, ‘I don’t eat the stuff, so I won’t cook it, but if you want to eat it, you can. Let me tell you why I don’t eat it.’ So she was open about it.”, she said. “From a young age, I learned what a non-vegetarian diet entails. I made the decision early on that I was going to stick to the lifestyle. It’s easier to stick with something like that than change it, if you’ve always done it. I’m grateful that my parents were open-minded with me.”

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In regards to her personal life, Alissa has mentioned during some interviews that among her favorite bands and musicians are Devin Townsend, Gwen Stefani, Muse, and, of course, Arch Enemy. Hence, it’s always interesting to see non-Metal bands or artists among the playlists of Heavy Metal icons (see other examples here and here), which makes us feel less “guilty” when singing any songs that are currently part of the top 40 list. Among her favorite places she has already traveled to, we have Japan, Peru and Austria, and in terms of movies she said her favorite one is still The Little Mermaid, which is by the way the reason why she started singing. I just don’t remember Ariel or Sebastian doing any guttural during the movie, but that’s just a minor detail, right? Moreover, our Heavy Metal goddess has been selected multiple times as one of “the hottest chicks in metal” by Revolver Magazine. Why am I not surprised at all with that?

Last but not least, Alissa is not only an animal lover (I believe she has two rescued kitties at home), but beyond that she’s an important animal rights activist just as her idol Angela Gossow, having already received an award from peta2 for her work in an international campaign advocating against the hunting of Canadian seals. Honestly, that’s for me her biggest achievement in life, even more important than her contribution to heavy music, and something she’s probably very proud of.

She mentioned in some interviews that she’s been active with a lot of different organizations helping kids, third world countries and animals, but that her true passion is in animal rights. She also said she started doing fundraising for peta2 and WWF when she was still in high school, and that the partnership between peta2 and her started when they used some stock footage in The Agonist’s first music video, Business Suits and Combat Boots. Since then the organization and Alissa have been working together to promote veganism and fight against animal cruelty as much as possible through different campaigns, protests, lectures, and many other activities. So don’t waste your time, go support peta2, get involved, do something good for this fuckin’ world, and you might end up meeting Alissa somewhere, an amazing person and one of the best frontwoman of the recent history of Heavy Metal. How about that?

Alissa White-Gluz’s Official Facebook page
Alissa White-Gluz’s Official Twitter

““The biggest thing for me is animal rights. That’s the number one factor that sort of means everything in my life, more than music or anything else. I think it’s a huge problem, and I think it’s refreshing to meet people, now and then, that actually do care about their impact on the planet, and not just care about themselves.” – Alissa White-Gluz