Thursday, April 26, 2012

Huntress-Spell Eater

Napalm Records

Observant readers might recall that a month or so ago (March 22, 2012 to be precise) I did a write-up on Huntress and their "Eight of Swords" single. At the time I did wonder to myself if the band would prove to be anything more substantial than all the hype that surrounded the group's hot singer. After all, one good song does not an album make. Since that time two things happened though to change my mind and, as a result, get me truly excited to hear the whole album. The first is "Spell Eater". Or, rather the song "Spell Eater" as it was included on the last sampler album to be featured in Metal Hammer. It proved to me that the band was capable of pulling off true heavy metal that, while yes both dark and sinister in much the same way as Mercyful Fate, was well crafted and executed consistently. The second thing to happen was the tremendous amount of praise this album was receiving. I'm not just talking about reviews from your run of the mill, mainstream sources (where they wouldn't know NWOBHM if it smacked them in the face) but from reviewers I highly respected. So, a day after sending off a formal request to Napalm Records I was happy to see that I was approved and that "Spell Eater" would be there for the taking. I've got to mention something and that is yes, even though Huntress is much more than the seriously deadly lungs of Julliard-educated vocalist Jill Janus, I'm still drawn to the band because of promo pictures like this:

There is of course nothing wrong with being both strong and sensual and Jill Janus is much more than simply a temptress. As stated she can sing and "Spell Eater" does a great job of wrapping music tightly around her that works to highlight her strengths. Before taking the lead spot in Huntress, and probably before she went around in fur and fake blood, Jill could be found fronting an all-female cover band called The Chelsea Girls. Since that band was known about town for playing hard rock and heavy metal numbers it does seem funny that with Huntress at least, since I did not check out The Chesea Girls myself for this review, Jill pulls off a rather nice impersonation of King Diamond. Let's not forget about the rest of the band and there help in crafting this killer album as it would be easy enough for them to be over shadowed by Jill. The rest of the band is filled out by ex-Professor members Blake Meahl and Ian Alden (guitar solos), Eric Harris (bassist) Carl Wiezrbicky (drums). Their old band was straight-ahead heavy metal so when they formed Huntress with Jill the foundation must have already been set in place to create heavy steel. Huntress brings forth the sounds of older metal (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Taist Of Iron, Witchfinder General, Black Sabbath, Cirith Ungol, Chastian, Mercyful Fate, etc.) and like many bands these days splices it with a more modern touch. For Huntress it is all about having that edge. The band's metal comes across as a no-frills, no fuss approach and yet, hidden right below the surface, there is a technically savvy bunch that knows just how good they really are even if Jill gets all the glory. When it's all been said and done I walk away from Huntress with a new appreciation in place. For a band to get this much hype and really be worth it says something. "Spell Eater" is a satisfying debut for this female-fronted act and an album that, hopefully with time, will be the first of many great moments to come. It's good to see Huntress step right into the scene and make a lasting impression with an album that is equal parts heavy, dark and dreadful.

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