This week the Grammys may have already been and gone, but today The Soundcheck is launching a new ongoing series set to shine a light on some of the incredible women in the heavy scene, aptly dubbed the Women In Heavy Music Series.
Today's first round features some of the women in heavy music primed to make big waves in 2024; and while many of the women featured here are already well-known for their prowess, there's never a bad time to celebrate some of the insanely talented and inspiring humans in this scene. Come get reacquainted with some of these powerhouses and stay tuned for more to come in this series throughout 2024!
Part One: Women Set To Make Waves In 2024
COURTNEY LAPLANTE (SPIRITBOX)
A few short years ago, the heavy scene's seemingly best-kept-secret exploded out onto the global stage when Canada's Spiritbox finally started getting the recognition they deserved.
Helmed by the voraciously talented Courtney LaPlante, Spiritbox are the complete package; melodic yet harsh with firm aesthetics and an ability to weld underground charm into tunes that can tickle the fancy of the mainstream; but without losing the attention of heavy fans worldwide.
In 2023, the band headed down under to grace the stages at the inaugural Knotfest Australia, with the band also recently featuring on a rock remix of Megan The Stallion's track Cobra and snagging their first-ever Grammy nomination; a feat in itself considering the relatively short amount of time that Spiritbox have been in operation.
While they may not have gone home with the Grammy this week, there's another factor that makes this nod so special; it also marks one of the very few times that the Grammy's Best Metal Performance category has featured a female-fronted act since the category first kicked off in 1990.
LaPlante herself is an insane talent, with harsh vocals that could strip lead paint off a submarine wreck. And with all the success Spiritbox have witnessed so far, it still only feels like we are scratching the surface of the band and LaPlante's power; and that's an exciting reality to live with.
LZZY HALE (HALESTORM)
Revered as one of the true rock role models of this generation, Lzzy Hale of Halestorm fame can whip up a surefire hit like nobody's business; but she is also one of the most genuine and positive forces in the music industry overall.
An all-talent, no ego powerhouse and an advocate for mental health awareness, inclusivity and gender equality, Hale's legacy is that of a true trailblazer, consistently endeavouring to inspire women in a scene long-dominated by men while also commanding a voice that would make any rock fan weak in their collective knees.
In 2024, Hale will appear with Halestorm at the second edition of Knotfest Australia, also arriving armed with the band's latest 2022 album Back from the Dead that will undoubtedly get some love at both the festival and the band's headline sideshows in Sydney and Brisbane.
As for Hale herself, she's consistently and relentlessly pursued her creative passion for many illustrious years, with her legendary live performances praised as one of the best in modern rock. And that fact comes without the caveat of "best female"; she is quite literally one of the biggest forces across the board, which holds even more weight when you dive into her backstory imitating the swaggering rock'n'roll male archetypes she grew up imitating before discovering female-fronted rock artists - and the rest was history.
With a healthy serving of punk at times boiling through their hard rock coffee, Halestorm have remained in high-profile company, from winning a Grammy Award to hanging out with Jerry Cantrell and Tobias from Ghost at Cherry Bar in Melbourne and/or touring the globe alongside Volbeat, Ghost, The Pretty Reckless and countless others.
If you're keen to catch Halestorm live down under in 2024, head to the Knotfest site here to check out tix.
MONIQUE PYM (RELIQA)
Closer to home, Sydney's Reliqa have metamorphasised from an engaging underground local act into bona fide rockstar contenders over the past few years.
An alternative metal quartet with some serious modern prog-laced chops, Reliqa are fronted by Monique Pym; a superstar-in-waiting in her own right with enough onstage charisma to light up a small city.
In 2022, Reliqa unveiled a brand new EP I Don't Know What I Am, cementing their innovative spirit and nuanced capabilities, flitting between everything from prog to djent, melodic to full-blown kick-to-the-teeth brutality. From there, the band have since supported Spiritbox for their Knotfest Australia sideshow alongside Make Them Suffer, supported BABYMETAL in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne playing to arena-sized crowds, and they closed out 2023 appearing at Froth & Fury Fest in Adelaide alongside the likes of Suicidal Tendencies, Sunk Loto, The Butterfly Effect and Ocean Grove.
And fittingly in 2024, Reliqa will support none other than Halestorm in Sydney and Brisbane for another round of Knotfest sideshows; a bucket list moment for Reliqa to perform alongside a band who the band who had a massive impact on the Reliqa members' formative years. Grab sideshow info and tix here.
While it's been a slight minute since new Reliqa tunes have unleashed into the world, the band did also close out 2023 hinting at reuniting with fans in 2024 in the strongest possible way. Regardless of what's to come, Reliqa are primed for big things, and 2024 is undoubtedly going to hold a lot of amazing moments. Watch this space, and in the meantime you can check out The Soundcheck's podcast episode featuring Pym here for some extra Reliqa fun.
FLOOR JANSEN (NIGHTWISH)
We already known that Finnish symphonic metal heroes Nightwish are set for a giant 2024, with the band confirming last year that their next phase in their journey was coming this year in the form of a new album.
For those in the know, Nightwish are one of those rare bands whose quality has never faltered; an amalgamation of glittering melodics, orchestral flourishes and emotives fused with punchy heaviness and crisp textures. While some metalheads may not always gel with the symphonic qualities that permeates the Nightwish core, there's one thing most heavy fans can ultimately agree on: the technical brilliance of Floor Jansen, aka Nightwish's lead vocalist since 2013.
Able to oscillate between operatic angel and metal hellhound without breaking a sweat, Jansen's vocal range spans over three octaves and she's previously flexed her wares on Nightwish's 2015 album Endless Forms Most Beautiful and, most recently, on 2020's Human. :||: Nature.
It's not hyperbole to declare that Jansen has one of the most versatile contemporary vocals in town; her performances have frequently astonished some of the most prolific vocal coaches worldwide, with the lady herself previously parting the curtains with The Soundcheck back in 2020 about her vocal acrobatics and beyond.
All of Nightwish fan's eyes will undoubtedly be on the brand new upcoming album this year, and it's set to be a belter with plenty of surprises according to drummer Kai Hahto.
EMMY MACK (REDHOOK)
Closing out part one of the Women In Heavy Music series today is no stranger to The Soundcheck; undeniably one of the hardest working women in Australian music and a true sonic force to be reckoned with, it's none other than RedHook's Emmy Mack.
In 2023 alone, RedHook released their debut album Postcard From A Living Hell, toured with The Smashing Pumpkins, performed overseas and snagged a #10 ARIA Album chart spot along the way. But outside of that, Mack herself was also hosting various shows on triple j, appearing at the Australian Women In Music Award's first ever Heavy Music panel; and for good measure, the lady herself also took out the crown for the Australian Women In Music Award's inaugural Heavy Music category, declaring "lift as you climb" during her speech.
While Mack is a seasoned and dynamic performer (seriously - if you know, you know), it's this same uplifting sentiment that she raised in her winning speech at the AWMAs that continuously underpins Mack's every creative move, constantly raising up others behind the scenes and making space for women in the industry time and time again.
If 2023 was the entreé for RedHook, one can only imagine what 2024 will hold, and there's zero chance of it not being another cracker year for both the band and Mack. And kicking off 2024 in phenomenal style, the band recently released a new track and video SCREAM 2, the spiritual successor to their smash single Cure 4 Psycho. Horror and heavy fans unite!
Keep an eye out for more to come from the Women In Heavy Music Series soon!
BY TIANA SPETER