The community of artists and fans of the metal genre has long been composed of individuals of varying races and ethnicities, including blacks who embrace the liberating sounds of the powerful riffs and gripping vocals. Yet, unsurprisingly, black musicians hardly receive the same amount of recognition in American mainstream media as their white counterparts. To shine a light on black headbangers rocking the metal stage, here are examples of talented vocalists and instrumentalists who are thrashing down barriers of race, gender and age, one heavy note at a time.


Don’t let their baby faces fool you. The youngster trio Unlocking the Truth are a shining example of the musical talent of today’s black youth. Consisting of guitarist and vocalist Malcolm Brickhouse, bassist and vocalist Alec Atkins, and drummer and vocalist Jarad Dawkins, the Brooklyn-based metal band first came onto the scene with their impromptu jaw-dropping Times Square performance back in June of 2013. Though they’ve yet to drop an album, they have released Breaking a Monster, a documentary chronicling their nightmarish journey of dealing with the record industry. Whether we’ll see a debut album any time soon is still up in the air, but what is undeniable is the bright future of these young rockstars.


Twitter: @UTTband

Songs to check out: “Free As You Wanna Be,” “Star-Spangled Banner (cover)”




Alexis Brown is one of most prominent black women vocalists shredding up the metal stage. As frontwoman of Tennessee-based Straight Line Stitch since 2003, she’s been wowing audiences with her ability to switch between spoken whispers and impressive growls. With her sometimes sweet, sometimes guttural, always mind-blowing voice, Brown is not at all “painfully shy” when rocking the stage.


Twitter: @lexsls

Songs to check out: “Remission,” “One Reason”




Not only the most familiar of the list, Howard Jones is one of the most recognizable vocalists in the metal industry. Jones is best known for his distinctive high baritone vocal range and his former position as lead singer of Killswitch Engage. Today he is mesmerizing listeners as the front vocalist of metal supergroup, Devil You Know.  Fun Fact: I’ve seen Jones perform live, and darling, I was not only headbanging, I was swooning.


Twitter: @DevilYouKnow

Songs to check out: “The End of Heartache (with Killswitch Engage),” “It’s Over (with Devil You Know)”




Solo artist, Judas Priestess frontwoman, Swear On Your Life lead songwriter and vocalist, and AFROPUNK Rock Goddess are just a few of the countless outfits worn by Militia Vox. A former VJ and TV style expert with past appearances on FUSE, VH1 and MTV2, Vox is a one-woman powerhouse who has seduced audiences with her campy yet sexy solo performances in LA and NYC. It’s no wonder that she was chosen to be the leading lady of “Van Helsing’s Curse,” Dee Snider’s heavy metal horror orchestra. With haunting vocals and a four-octave range, Militia has proven again and again that she is an artist to watch.



Diamond Rowe demonstrates her incomparable expertise at strings as lead guitarist of thrash metal band, Tetrarch. Rowe first started experimenting with the aggressive sounds of guitar as a high school student, when she teamed up with best friend and lead vocalist Josh Fore to form the Georgia-based group. She may be one-fourth of a band, but, as proven by her YouTube videos, this gem demonstrates she’s a force to be reckoned with all on her own.


Twitter: @tetrarchdiamond

Songs to check out: “Final Words,” “Brave This Storm (Trivium cover)”