There are many bands out there where no matter how many times you listen; you just can’t get into it, even when it’s something that you desperately want to immerse yourself in and enjoy. Then there are those bands that come along and within seconds of the first listen, you immediately get. Huntress is one such band.
Huntress’s debut album Spell Eater (Napalm Records) was sitting in my “Downloads” folder for well over a week before I finally gave it a listen. I eventually got around to importing the album into iTunes and began to take what I assumed was going to be a casual listen. Within the first twenty seconds of the opening title track, the riff gave me a serious bitch slap across the side of my face and said, “PAY ATTENTION!” Then, when Jill Janus’s vocals kicked in at the 30-second mark, I became thoroughly enthralled.
Get the full review here.
Rather than give a full track-by-track breakdown, I’m going to speak to Huntress and Spell Eater as a whole. The relentless assault that is Huntress doesn’t stop at the opening track, it continues throughout and between each song. Blake and Ian’s guitar work fills this album with an abundance of catchy riffs, and guitar solos that can’t help but make you pull out your air guitar (check out “Senicide” and “Sleep and Death”). This album never gets tiring.
Not only is the guitar work stunning, but the lyrics are intriguing and well written (“Eight of Swords”) and the Eric’s bass and Carl’s drum work are superb (as excellently demonstrated on “Children”). In the past few weeks, I have listened to Spell Eater at least once a day (usually more as I have it on constant repeat) and at one point or another, I have had each one of these songs stuck in my head throughout the day.
Front-woman Jill Janus has not only surrounded herself with some excellent musicians but she herself is an accomplished vocalist. How a classical/opera trained vocalist transitioned to melodic death metal with such uncanny ability is truly mind-blowing. Jill has repeatedly stated that from a young age she knew she was meant to sing metal. I can’t argue with her. She has a crazy range, a vicious growl and scream, a dizzying falsetto, and can vocally emote like very few vocalists do or can.
If you’re looking to take my assessment with a grain of salt, I have a little story for you. I was demoing a pair of headphones to a customer at my “bill-paying” job. I played him the title track and like me, within seconds he commented that: 1) “these guys are incredible musicians”, and 2) that Jill “doesn’t just scream, but she sings”. So, don’t just take my word for it. Every person that I’ve introduced Huntress to has said the very same.
I’ll admit some of you may not intuitively get this album or like its melodic death-thrash stylings, but if you’re looking for some genuinely impassioned metal done by a unbelievably talented group of individuals then you need to pick this album up.
Spell Eater is a uniquely rapturous feast of melodic death-thrash metal from beginning to end that I will continue to devour with a gluttonous fervor for many, many passing seasons.
“LET THE WITCHES IN!”