Metal Chick of the Month – Alissa White-Gluz


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

Restaurant Review – WVRST (Toronto, Canada)

Premium sausages and good quality beer for a reasonable price in the heart of Toronto.


IMG_0240Everybody knows North America is famous for its hot dogs. Some even say the sausages are better here in Canada and in the US than in more traditional countries such as Germany, Poland and Hungary, and if you visit a place like WVRST you’ll agree with that for sure. I’ve recently been to Germany and Poland, and although the sausages I had there were really good, I couldn’t find a single one better than any of the options available at this “sausage hall” located at King Street West, which became part of my “weekend menu” at least once every two months.

But what does this have to do with Heavy Metal?, you can ask. In theory, absolutely nothing: WVRST is not a Heavy Metal pub at all. The music there is more indie/alternative, mixed with some classic and modern Rock, and they even have some DJ’s playing there once a week. However, we headbangers have to eat, and if you ask us about our favorite types of foods and drinks, I can guarantee hot dogs and beer will be on top of the list. They’re on top of mine at least, especially beer, the “official beverage” of every person that truly loves listening to heavy riffs, crazy solos and pounding drums at the speed of light!

IMG_0245Now let’s focus on what really matters at WVRST, in other words, the sausages and the beer. Take a look at the FOOD MENU and you’ll be able to check all their sausage types, divided in four main groups: Traditional, Vegetarian, Poultry and Game. As you can see there are options for any person, even for those who do not eat meat. I would recommend any sausage from the Game group, especially pheasant, venison, elk and kangaroo (and before you ask, yes, I’ve already had all of those). If you don’t want to be so radical, you can try something more common like the chorizo or the bratwvrst, and I believe until the end of October this last one is called Oktoberfest and has beer as an ingredient instead of wine. You also choose if you want to have your sausage on a bun with some toppings (I personally don’t add any of the toppings available, as I enjoy tasting the sausage itself), or a currywvrst, which is sliced with some curry sauce. And don’t forget to order some fries with a dipping sauce as a side dish, they go really well with any sausage! Regarding the beer, they have a surprisingly good BEER LIST for such a small restaurant. I prefer draft beer, so my suggestions would be either a good Paulaner or a Weihenstephaner, but you can have whichever one you feel more comfortable drinking with food. As long as you have a beer, nothing can go wrong.

IMG_0244Not only the food and beer are delicious, but also the ambiance is very pleasant. I would say it’s a mix of a traditional German beer garden, with those huge benches for everybody, with the cleanliness and colors of a fast food chain such as McDonald’s. Because of that friendly and casual atmosphere, you can basically wear anything you want there: from a suit and a tie, to a pair of old jeans and that dirty Megadeth T-shirt you’ve had for over 20 years.

The price is OK in my opinion, but if you think that spending around $20 for a sausage, a beer and some fries is too much, you can always go to some food truck and have a regular hot dog for a cheaper price. Just remember that although the price varies between $6 and $9 at WVRST, their sausages are premium, while at the same time a regular hot dog isn’t much cheaper than that, costing around $4 or $5, and doesn’t have anything unique or special in it. Anyway, it’s up to you and your pocket.

To sum up, I consider WVRST a nice option for all Torontonians, tourists, families, couples and friends. It’s a place to eat, drink and chat during a happy hour or on a Saturday afternoon, and you can even organize an event there. The only thing missing in their menu for me is something more Canadian, even though they have venison and elk: why the hell don’t they have a “moose sausage” in their menu?

Opening hours
Monday 11:30am – 11pm
Tuesday 11:30am – 11pm
Wednesday 11:30am – 11pm
Thursday 11:30am – midnight (with resident DJ’s starting at 8pm)
Friday 11:30am – 1am
Saturday 11:30am – 1am
Sunday 11:30am – 11pm

Contact info & location
609 King St W
Toronto, ON M5V 1M5 ‎
(416) 703-7775