We wouldn't be here without our foremothers who paved the way for us, so I figured it was time to break into the vault and give some of them light. Of course I could have put thousands of artist on here, but this is a good start. Hopefully you will find some lost gems you may not be familiar with. Spread the love.
War Machine - Unknown Soldier -1986
In the vein of traditional heavy metal/NWOBHM, War Machine was led by the powerful Bernadette Mooney. Her vocals are in the vein of Znöwhite and Détente. Hailing from Newcastle, England, The band released a demo in 1983, a full-length in 1986, and another demo in 1988 before disbanding. Since then the band has appeared on numerous heavy metal compilations. Unfortunately for us, Bernadette didn't go on to form other projects. Guitarist Steve White went on to play with Venom in the early 90s and 2000s. Gone but not forgotten!
Black Ghost - (only released demos) 1984 -1987
Black Ghost hailed from Italy and featured vocalist Lisa Bellanova. Although she went on to do vocals for one year at Crying Steel, we haven't heard much from her since. Black Ghost demos are some of the finest speed metal Italy has produced and it is a shame they never got to record a proper album. I can't help but think of Deb from Lady Beast when I hear Lisa belt out these metal anthems. This is definitely a must-listen for speed metal junkies. The opening track is so good and raw, its listenable as a demo without the polish. None of the other band members went onto anything notable that we know of. Their music lives on in the land of YouTube!
The Datura - 1983 -1986
Japan has always embraced females in rock and metal, and among the legends like Eliza or Show-Ya, we have forgotten so many greats. One of those is The Datura, whose demo I actually prefer over their official 1985 release, One Night Dream. The demo, Woman in the Madness, was released a year before their debut album but has a pureness of metal and punk (with some sick guitar riffs and solos) that comes across as much more authentic. Fans of both punk and metal will enjoy the speed metal aspect and the fast and sometimes melodic vocals of Kyoka Ueda whom we don't know much more about. She did not go onto other bands that we know of which is a shame because her vocal style was perfect for the genre.
Orphan Allies, Running from the Law -1986
The one and only recording we have from Orphan Allies is their 1986 full-length titled Running from the Law. We don't know exactly when the Chicago band split, but it was most likely around 1988. Vocalist "Little Orphan E.V." aka Evelyn Rose Camp, passed away in 2013. The band was heavy metal with glam elements. E.V.'s voice was the classic style you would expect for the time. As you can see below, their videos are classic. Evie apparently went on to record a couple singles that were house music based (on Chicago's famous Trax records) but no one seemed to know anything about her past that. There is a fan page dedicated to her here. https://eviecamptribute.jimdofree.com/
Detroit's Anghell (later changing name and a few members to turn into Bitchcraft) were a thrash band who have become somewhat legends. Thanks to the re-release of their material on Sangreal Records, a new generation of fans have emerged. Coming around at the height of thrash and grunge, the always all-female lineup were musicians first and foremost. Their timing on the scene fell short of the initial thrash hype but they would have been much bigger had they emerged just a few years earlier. Regardless, the bands are sick and well worth knowing about.
S.G.R. should be a lot more known than they really are. The name stands for Sadistic Gang Rape which they ended up changing in 1994 to Society Gang Rape. The band was from Sweden and the initial lineup consisted of three women whose heavy riffs and political lyrical themes paired well with the other death metal bands of the time. The band had several lineup changes and took a more crust-punk like sound later in their years. Either way they were awesome and should be a must-listen for fans of these genres.
Wench, 1991, “A Tidy Sized Chunk” (LP)
New York's Wench might look like another L7, but these women were full on thrash metal. Forming from a previous punk band, P.M.S., vocalist Yana Chupenko formed Wench around 1987. The band went through line-up changes but always remained all-female. Wench toured with bands like Candlemass and Suicidal Tendencies and had a faithful fanbase in their hometown. The recorded 2 demos which were the songs that ended up on 1991's A Tiny Sized Chunk. After that they recorded one more demo before calling it quits.
The Orchids - Self Titled album, 1980
More rock than metal, The Orchids were another creation of manager Kim Fowley post success with The Runaways. Recruiting their bassist Laurie McAllister, Fowley was hoping to have the same success as his previous all-female rock band. He found vocalist/guitarist Sandy Fury at the tender age of 13 (gross) and lead vocalist Jan King at 16. The band released their self-titled LP in 1980 and things fizzled after that. Late-night host Jimmy Fallon featured their song "If Boys Got Pregnant" in 2016 which sparked some small interest in the current YouTube generation who have since flooded the comments section. Regardless, it's a good rock n roll album.
Rockbitch - 1984-2002
When it comes to English metal band RockBitch, there is a lot to unpack. Pagan rituals on stage? Check. Live sex acts on stage? Check. A condom toss in the audience whose winner gets to have sex with the band backstage? Check. Oh and the music was actually awesome. The band lived in a polyamorous commune together in France and led their voices to feminist causes and activism. Several lineup changes came about through the years, including stage performers who did the live sex acts. They toured on and off from 1998-2004 and had several issues with authorities in regards to their outlandish stage antics (as you can imagine). They had complications putting out albums but managed to release 2 full-lengths. They have a number of documentaries and home videos that discuss their history. They disbanded around 2004 and most went on to other projects which were a lot less....interesting.
Runestaff, Self-Titled 1985
Runestaff were wrongly labeled a "NWOBHM" band. Yes, they did come from Iswitch but they were more AOR than heavy metal. Vocalist Joanna Symes sounds more like Pat Benatar than the typical metal vocalist at the time. They released a full-length in 1985 but due to health issues, the band broke up around 1986. Fans of AOR or just good 80s rock-n-roll will enjoy this album.
Taist Of Iron, Resurrection - 1984
Sometimes a band only needs one album to make you a fan, and so is the case with Taist Of Iron. Vocalist Lorraine Gill is a powerhouse whose vocalist are strong enough to match any speed-metal dude at the time. The Washington band played from 84-88 but unfortunately only released this one album. Speed metal/Thrash fans will love this album and Lorraine presents herself as someone you just wouldn't want to fuck with. In 2017 the band reformed and released a second self-titled album but nothing compares to the rawness of the 80s metal diamond that is Resurrection.
Rough (Germany), First Cut - 1988
Several bands with the same name but we are talking about the German heavy metal band from Frankfurt. Formed in the early 1980's, vocalist Anny Wichardt could have easily been mistaken for Doro. They had some demos released but nothing as polished and heavy as their official release, First Cut. Definitely a must-have for any metal fans looking to expand their collection.