Damn! What a way to start a Monday. “Spell Eater” is the first album from California’s Huntress. The first thing that you cannot help but notice about Huntress is the stunning blonde singer, Jill Janus. The second thing I noticed about Huntress was that They. Fucking. Rock. Normally, when I see a woman fronting a metal band I tend to expect one of two styles; operatic, symphonic metal, likely with a gothic twist (Nightwish, Epica) or harsh death metal (Cerebral Bore, Landmine Marathon.) Huntress does not fall into either of these categories. This makes two female fronted metal bands this past month that have defied my expectations; the other being A Sound of Thunder.
The music on “Spell Eater” probably most closely resembles thrash. It is quick and tight with lots of great riffing. It has a nice groove as well, so I find myself bobbing my head and typing as I listen. The mix is not buried under walls of guitar or atmospheric keyboards; it is simply straight up heavy metal. The music alone would be pretty damn good no matter who was singing over top of it, but Jill Janus just tears this album up with her incredible voice. She goes kind of harsh at times, but mostly she ranges from clean to a slight raspy edge. Occasionally, when she does that rasp and goes real high she (like Nina from A Sound of Thunder) brings to mind my beloved Doro Pesch of Warlock. What really turned my head around was the occassional witchy, crackly voice that so reminds me of the ghost voices on King Diamond's "Them" album. Chilling. Listening to this album has literally made my pulse quicken with excitement.
For a first album, this is truly remarkable. I have to believe that this album is going to catapult Huntress to the forefront of up-and-coming metal bands. While there is rarely anything new in metal anymore, there are bands, like Huntress, who come along and just do not remind you of anyone in particular and thus find their own sound. I am fairly certain that if I heard new Huntress on Liquid Metal, without seeing the artist info, I could pick them out. Being able to stand out from the crowd is no small thing in music.
I am happy to say I whole-heartedly recommend this album. Prepare to be devoured by the Huntress. Check out the video for the title track, “Spell Eater.” I try to avoid objectifying women in metal, but damn, Landmine Marathon’s Grace Perry is gonna have to go timeshare with Jill Janus in my heavy metal fantasies. Hubba hubba lol.