Let's be honest once again. It's kind of difficult to think about who the "female Halford/Tate/Garm/Dickinson" would be. Some fans might think of Cristina from Lacuna Coil, perhaps even the ladies from Arch Enemy, but we're patricians here. If we look at all the great music that slips past Loudwire and Revolver's notice, into the great, mysterious world of the metal/alt-rock underground, in my eyes, there is one woman, one female singer who stands out, who is an easy pick for the "female Halford" of Metal. One artist who has collaborated with other notable upper-underground artists, one recognized enough to have the liberty to leave her established band to start and maintain her own new project, one with such a bold, passionate and outstanding voice. I am talking about Anneke van Giersbergen.
And now that we are being honest, I will be honest: I prefer the style of her replacement in The Gathering, Silje Wergeland. I just love an ethereal voice like Wergeland's, I love how it fits into The Gathering's atmospheric and dreamy music. It's fantastic stoner and driving music, just great for kinda zoning out and taking in the feelings or scenery. But I would not argue at all that Wergeland is a more outstanding singer than Anneke. No, I don't think any woman in rock music has that honor.
Listen to The May Song.
Listen to her passion, how her vibrato flows, how it bursts meaning and feeling into her words.
Listen to Shrink.
Listen to how Anneke joins herself in her harmonies, how those harmonies round out this crushing image of fragile desperation and heartbreak. The little changes and shifts in her singing voice, how she can bring the feelings in, then just let them out. Like crescendocore metal, boxed up in this woman's voice. Like you turn on the fuckin' shower, and Anneke's voice is the water, going from cold to warm, bathing you in its familiar comfort and washing away the shivers.
Listen to Devin Townsend project performing "Life" on the By A Thread DVD, when Devy had Anneke singing with him as she has on his albums. Listen to "Kingdom" too, from the same DVD, while you're at it.
Listen to how much she adds. Listen to how "Kingdom" fucking soars when she joins Devy on the high "I'm Fiiiine!" That's exactly what I mean, guys. Anneke is a powerful fucking singer. Giersbergen's voice has that same emotional power as Geoff Tate's on Mindcrime, the same "awe" factor as Halford's in his prime, the same passion as Bruce Dickinson.
I feel kind of shitty distinguishing Anneke as a "great female singer," I feel like she has every right to just be recognized as a "great singer." But as I said, we're being honest here. Honest that a female singer in a male-dominated industry does stand out to an extent. And honest that, while there are certainly a number of talented women singing in metal and alternative rock, the first that comes to my mind when we're thinking about legends is Anneke van Giersbergen.