Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bassist of the Month: Jo Bench

Jo Bench is one of the few and the proud, a woman who has been playing death metal since the genre’s inception. A member of classic band Bolt Thrower since 1987, Bench provides a good portion of the dark, heavy tones that lend the band its brutality.

Says Jo Bench about her work in Bolt Thrower, “My main purpose since day one was not to draw attention to the fact I’m a woman, and that has helped me massively. I feel like just another musician in the band, and have been treated as such, and I think that has gained me more respect in the long run. I’m very grateful for that.” This approach certainly worked. I’ve seen Bolt Thrower fans on metal forums who had no idea that the band’s bassist was a woman. Her determination to avoid attention based on gender has led fans to focus on something more important: her music. And what awesome music it is, too.

Here are some great Bolt Thrower songs:

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Underrated Band of the Month: Phantom Blue

(Everybody, thanks for bearing with me while I took last month off. Here’s a little something to tide you over.)

I’m not gonna lie; Phantom Blue is one of the reasons why I did my grad project on women in the music industry. I discovered them and thought, “Dude, this band is really awesome. Why haven’t I heard of them before?” Their music sounded so great that the only reason I could see why they weren’t more popular was because they were all-female. That thought made me want to research sexism in the music industry.

Phantom Blue has a great classic metal sound, drawing more on thrash and grunge influences in their later work. Unfortunately, their original guitarist, Michelle Meldrum, died of  “a cystic growth on her brain that had restricted oxygen and blood flow to her brain, rendering her braindead” in 2008. Their most recent lineup is radically different from the original one, and their website appears defunct. I was unable to contact them and ask whether or not they’re still active. While we wait for more news, please check out some of their awesome music.