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FINAL GIRLS: The All-Ghoul Group is Killing the NJ Metal Scene

FINAL GIRLS is an all-ghouls metal band based in North New Jersey. Originally established in 2020 by bassist Sofia Albanese as a punk band, later in 2022 to be rebranded as a metal band with new members now with Sofia Demasi (drums), Ashleigh Hernandez (Guitar), and Casey Cruz (Vocals). They contain a unique blend of hardcore and death metal with a heavy gothic influence here to create a cross-breed of genres you’ve never heard before. Their various influences, including 90’s death metal, goth, new wave, groove metal, grindcore, beatdown, hardcore punk, and more, helped pave the way for pioneering a new haunting genre of blood-chilling horror-themed metal. We got the opportunity to chat with the group about their journey with metal music and being in a space that is made up of predominantly male groups.

How did you land on the name Final Girls?

The band was originally formed by bassist Sofia Albanese, and the name was of her choosing. She’s always been a big fan of horror and resonated with the idea of the Final Girl trope being badass and something that could be a good name for the group. It’s not as much a nod to our gender but more so a nod to the trope and horror.

Being an all-girl band in a genre that is stereotypically seen to stem from a male-dominated culture, how has that affected your experience in the music industry? Do you ever feel ostracized from the scene?

More often than not, people will only be able to relate us to other women in music and not as much to musicians in the genre. Of course, we’re inspired by women, but for the most part, we wish to be seen as a metal band playing with other bands and not to be booked as a novelty act. For the most part, our experience in the NJ scene has been positive. Every once in a while, there will be someone who is not always the nicest, but we’re lucky to have such a supportive community. We’ve assimilated and established ourselves here in NJ, but we’ve found in other places/parts of the country, we are not as accepted or taken as seriously. We want to get rid of the shock factor. Of course, we’re proud to be women in music, but our goal is to have women better integrated into the music scene as a whole, where being a woman is not a selling factor, and we are seen as musicians before a group of girls.

How did you all first get into metal music? Did you grow up listening to it or find it on your own?

Casey: “I watched 2000’s WWE, to be honest. Lots of rock and heavy metal that I later explored, but metal came into my life as a wee little las. Afterward, I started listening to a lot of Evanescence and got into some European bands.”

Sofia A. (Bass): “I grew up on a lot of 80’s Heavy Metal, Glam, Motorhead, Sabbath, etc., that was shown to me by my dad. I was pretty much force-fed it. I most definitely started listening to much heavier stuff as Final Girls progressed, and from there, I’ve refined my taste.”

Sofia D. (Drums): “Growing up, I had a lot of musical influence from my dad that got me into prog metal. In early middle school, I signed up for a Modern Metal course at a School of Rock and found Lamb of God. A turning point for sure- I love this shit.”

Ash: “I discovered metal music on my own through SoundCloud. I started with metalcore/post-hardcore/deathcore when I was 13; I found it on social media because my family didn’t listen to that stuff.”

What artists do you get inspiration from?

Image Influences: Misfits, Crypta, Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, The Cramps, Type O Negative.

Writing Influences: Arch Enemy, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Gojira, Knocked Loose, Carcass, Pig Destroyer, Crypta.

Describe your music as a color or set of colors.

Purple, Black, and Red. Maybe a little green.

What do you want your fans to call themselves?

To be honest, we don’t know; the fans can come up with it. “Ghouls” is cool, but it’s gendered. It would be goofy if they called themselves Final Goons. We can't lie.

Describe your band as a group Halloween costume.

That’s a good question, to be honest. We’d like to give you a more serious answer, but to be truthful, It’s Five Nights at Freddy’s. Casey is Freddy, Ash is Chica, Sofia A. is Foxy, and Sofia D. is Bonnie. We’re happy this way.

Written and Interviewed by Ashley Murphy

Photography by @vicktoriaklm and @critialmomentphotos

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