Four Aussie Women In The Heavy Music Scene You Need To Know

5 April 2023 | 2:28 pm | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

How well do you know these picks?

L,R: Shelby Ouston, Alex Reade, Karina Utomo, Candace Krieger

L,R: Shelby Ouston, Alex Reade, Karina Utomo, Candace Krieger (Supplied by One Of One)

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We all know and love Hayley Williams from Paramore, BABYMETAL’s Su-metal, Moametal and Momometal, Floor Jansen from Nightwish, Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, Jinjer’s Tatiana Shmayluk, Heart’s Anne and Nancy Wilson, Amy Lee from Evanescence, Nikki Monninger from Silversun Pickups, Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless fame, and Amy Love and Georgia South from Nova Twins.

They’re all incredible artists, and they all have another thing in common: none of them are Australian. 

Acts like Paramore, Nightwish and Arch Enemy are frequent visitors down under and have a strong fanbase here. Of course, each artist mentioned above is incredibly influential to the women and gender non-conforming artists we’re about to introduce you to, courtesy of One Of One.

One Of One, a not-for-profit charity that supports, celebrates and uplifts women in the Australian music industry, has acknowledged four women in the heavy music scene making waves in this country just for Kill Your Stereo

You probably know the picks below - you’ve likely seen them live and keep up with their careers. But how well do you know them?

Shelby Ouston

Shelby Ouston played the bass in The Beautiful Monument from 2013 until November 2017, when she experienced an undiagnosed mystery illness that led to her hospitalisation in the ICU. She was eventually diagnosed with the neurological disease NMDA Receptor Encephalitis.

In 2019, she ran a fundraiser with all proceeds going to Synapse, Australia’s Brain Injury Organisation.

About her starts in music, she told One Of One: “For us, it almost came out of nowhere. We basically applied for a show supporting an international act in April after releasing our debut album, and we seriously thought we were in over our heads, and we weren’t going to get it.”

She continued, “Long story short, we got the show, it was a sold out show at The Corner, and a little under a month later, triple j unearthed gave us the opportunity to open for another international act at a sold out show at Arrow On Swanston. A few weeks later, our track ‘Manifestation’ was added to rotation on triple j. It all felt like it came out of nowhere, but it also definitely feels like that was our start.”

Alex Reade

Formerly of Drown This City, Alex Reade is the new keyboard player and clean vocalist in Make Them Suffer. Her voice compliment screamed vocals beautifully, and her skills on the keyboard make her an invaluable band member.

At 18 years old, she discovered bands like Alexisonfire, Parkway Drive and Muse, having her life changed forever - she said goodbye to choirs and fully embraced headbanging and mosh pits.

Talking about the challenges in her career with One Of One, she said, “One of the biggest challenges for me has definitely been building a tough exterior to cope with negativity and criticism. You don’t grow up hearing every negative thought people have about you, so when you join a band and lay your heart and soul on the line you inevitably cop hatred about everything you do. 

“It’s really hard to deal with. But I read a great article recently about what makes elite athletes stand out from normal people and allows them to be pushed to the absolute extreme and the key quality was possessing ‘grit’. Basically the ability to get up every time you fail miserably and do it again.”

Karina Utomo

Indonesian-born Karina Utomo makes rage-filled music as the vocalist in High Tension, Rinuwat and Kilat. In all three bands, she mines a dark, fierce energy through the lens of metalcore, black metal and Southeast Asian culture and instrumentation with contemporary metal music. She’s a legend of the Australian heavy music scene.

With an attitude of no-compromise, she explained her first dream come true like this: “My personal goal with High Tension was to only play with bands we like and respect, to me that was a list of brutal, heavy bands that in the past seemed like a bit of a pipe dream. 

“We aimed to make music we like so we could play with bands we like. In 2013 – 2014 we played with my top favourite bands that have been a huge influence; The Bronx, High On Fire, King Parrot – positive affirmations manifest.”

Candace Krieger

The Australian music business is nothing without the people behind the scenes booking the shows.

Candace Krieger, the co-founder of Beastmode, an artist development and creative enterprise, is a powerhouse in the Australian heavy music scene. The booking agency, promoter and independent management business has already signed the acts Colletto Bianco, Plantface, Peace Ritual and Whatever, Forever.

You likely saw the name Beastmode appear on the Back On The Map hardcore festival announcement earlier this year. Krieger said about that monumental achievement: “All of the artists on beastmode’s roster are on a new release cycle in 2022 which is incredibly exciting to us. We’re also celebrating Australian hardcore with a two stage, 14 band festival in June headlined by Speed and No Apologies. Australian hardcore will be as big as Australian hip hop, mark my words.” 

And with Krieger actively facilitating the growth of Australian hardcore music, we believe that.