Queens Of The Steel Age

Three of the most admired female voices in the history of heavy music are to join forces under the name The Sirens for a European tour this autumn.

Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes/ex-Theatre Of Tragedy) and Kari Rueslatten (best known for her work with Norwegian doom pioneers The 3rd And The Mortal) have all been instrumental in kicking open doors for women in metal over the last two decades. Now they are relishing the opportunity to celebrate their lengthy careers with what promise to be some truly magical live shows. As Anneke explains, this new enterprise emerged from a couple of chance encounters.

“I ran into Liv Kristine at a metal festival and we said that we should do something together,” Anneke tells Hammer. “We took a picture and put it up on our Facebooks and the internet just exploded! Then I was working on my album Drive and I had a song that I wanted to sing with another female voice, and I thought it would be great to do it with Kari, as she’s one of the first ladies of this scene. I contacted her and she wasn’t doing anything musically because she was so busy with work and kids, but we kept in contact. Soon she told me that my message had triggered something inside her and, before you knew it, she was making her own album!”

Although there were prominent female figures in metal long before The Sirens began their individual careers, the emergence of The Gathering, The 3rd And The Mortal and Theatre Of Tragedy had a huge impact and laid groundwork for the proliferation of highly regarded female musicians. Anneke admits that was never anything calculated about her entry into heavy music. “The Gathering picked me because I had the best voice they heard, and not because I was a girl!” she recalls. “But since those days, a lot of girls have realised that they can do it too, and not just singers: there are also a lot of female lighting technicians, sound people, journalists and photographers. I’m kind of proud of that.”

The Sirens will hit the road in October, backed by Anneke’s solo band, and armed with a set list drawn from all three singers’ catalogues. And yes, metal fans of either gender are welcome to join in the fun.

“It’s great to have so many females in this male-orientated scene, but I also like the scene being masculine because it has a certain energy!” Anneke says. “I love to see girls in the audience, but I’ve always been a tomboy. Most of my friends are boys because they keep me grounded. Girls can be so yappy! Ha ha ha!”

The Sirens play at Proud in London on October 16

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.