The Dark Divas highlights of 2023

An great year of metal music is coming to an end. Although many musical highlights deserve the spotlight – for Dark Divas, these five are at the top of the list.

Florian Dünser


27. Dec 2023

Dark Divas

Best Song 2023: Spiritbox – Jaded

Hardly any other metal band has attracted as much attention with their debut album as Spiritbox. The Canadian progressive metallers around charismatic front woman Courtney LaPlante have already crowned their short career with a Grammy nomination. Wow! We will find out on 4 February 2024 whether the band will actually win the award in the "Best Metal Performance" category with "Jaded".

However, the band is already certain of an award. For us, Courtney & Band have delivered the song of the year with "Jaded", both with and without a Grammy. Hardly any other title shows the many facets of the Canadians so well in just one song. An amazing number!

Best Album 2023: Bleed Out – Within Temptation

"Bleed Out" is the eighth studio album by Dutch symphonic metal band Within Temptation, fronted by Sharon den Adel. And it is a very special one, not least because of its unique genesis.

"Bleed Out" is certainly not the soundtrack for a morning sun salutation on Waikiki beach, but a dark and melancholy indictment of the world's political leaders. Within Temptation use their music and thus their reach as a vehicle to correct the imbalance of this one single world we have with the means at their disposal. They deserve applause for this - and the "Best Album 2023" award!

Best Live Act 2023: Epica

Epica and Simone Simons belong to Dark Divas like a pot belongs to a lid. In the three years that Dark Divas has been around, most articles and photos have been dedicated to the Dutch band - and Simone was even voted "Diva of the Year" last year.

After more than 20 years of band history, it's hard to imagine the metal scene without Epica - and they are a crowd-puller at every festival. This year, the likeable six musicians once again thrilled fans all over the world. The harmonious charisma of the band, the great stage performance and the extremely high quality of the performance make every Epica concert a unique experience. And we are already looking forward to the next one. For us, Epica is the best live act of 2023!

Best Solo Artist 2023: Floor Jansen

Fans of metal goddess Floor Jansen had to go through a real rollercoaster ride of emotions in 2023. After Floor was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she was completely cured of the cancer this year thanks to surgery and radiotherapy. As a wonderful contrasting programme, Floor in spring announced that she was going to be a mother for the second time. However, an attack of weakness after a Nightwish show caused the Dutchwoman's fans' worry lines to widen again. As a result, Floor withdrew completely from the public eye for a few months. The good news followed in October: daughter Lucy and mum Floor are well.

And because Floor is Floor, she returned to the stage on 8 December. The busy mum of two daughters is already writing songs for her second solo album, more solo shows are already planned for 2024 - and the release of the new Nightwish album is also on the cards. Floor's time management deserves its own award. In any case, we are delighted to be able to experience the mother of two not "only" on the mic of Nightwish, but also solo from now on.

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Best Newcomer 2023: Kristin Starkey of Temperance

New Yorker Kristin Starkey has already made a name for herself in the metal scene over the past three years with her YouTube cover songs. The singer, who has a doctorate in vocal performance, became better known as the successor to Alissa Scoletti in the Italian symphonic metal band Temperance. And the first song with Kristin on vocals, Daruma, left a lasting impression on the Dark Divas editorial team. Kristin's voice has so much power and depth - and still displays the elegance required for the symphonic metal genre. Wow moments guaranteed!

Kristin has always enjoyed singing metal, as she told Dark Divas in an interview, but never seriously pursued a professional career until a few years ago. We can consider ourselves lucky that this talent has now discovered metal for herself alongside her passion for opera.

Diva of the year 2023: Courtney LaPlante

What an impressive woman, what an incredible talent: Courtney LaPlante from Spiritbox follows Simone Simons from Epica as "Diva of the year". We will be hearing and seeing a lot more of Courtney in 2024 - Dark Divas will be following the young Canadian's career very closely.

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