The Norwegian band The 3rd and the Mortal are widely regarded as the first band who played metal (doom metal, in their case) with clear female vocals, inspiring many similar bands such as The Gathering and Theatre of Tragedy. Other female-fronted metal bands, such as Warlock, existed much earlier, but to my knowledge they all played heavy metal with shouted vocals.

Is it true that there was no other band, of any metal subgenre, who used clear vocals before 1994?

By clean vocals, I mean a singing style close to classical singing without any edge.


3 Answers 3


I don't understand your distinction between what you call "clear" and "shouted" One singer can and will use different vocal techniques in different songs and recordings, and so will a band.

It also depends on how you define "metal" (and there is endless argument on this matter).

I would say the first metal band with a female singer was Coven circa 1969.

I don't think you can discount some of the hardest-rocking material recorded in the 1980s by Tina Turner and Nona Hendryx, and those artists got their start in the 1960s.

Mother's Finest has been active since 1972, and some of their output in the 1980s is regarded as "metal".

Suzi Quatro's debut solo album was in 1973.

The Runaways released their first album in 1976, and this led to the solo career of Lita Ford.

The Plasmatics formed in 1977.

Girlschool was founded in 1978.

The Great Kat's recording career began in 1986.

  • +1 for the list. I only know Coven and The Plasmatics; Coven's metal status is disputable but their singing certainly fits, The Plasmatics' can arguably count as metal, but Wendy's singing certainly has a lot of edge. I will listen to all the others. Dec 4, 2015 at 16:33
  • The Runaways also led to the solo career of Joan Jett, arguably a Metal vocalist (or at least Hard Rock/Punk). And I totally agree with Coven; arguably the first Metal band ever and with a female vocalist to boot. Coven, BTW, was also the first band to use the Dio "horns" (on the cover of "Witchcraft"), long before Dio used the Dio "horns". Mar 14, 2017 at 17:55

Mourn started in 1991: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Mourn/7090

I don't know exactly when Caroline Wilson joined the band, but she is credited in the 1993's demo: http://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Caroline_Wilson/122751


I'm a little confused, as you first say 3rd And The Mortal were active from 1997, but then ask for similar bands active before 1994.

Nightwish formed in 1996, and has always been considered Power, Prog or Symphonic Metal. Their lead vocalist has changed, but has always been a woman with an Operatic background. As a result, the vocals are clear, though sometimes with a Finnish accent as the band was formed in Finland.

  • Look at who edited my question. They started in 1993. The Gathering employed Anneke in 1994 AFAIK, hence my question, "Was there no other band before 1994 apart from 3ATM"? Dec 4, 2015 at 14:29

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