Thursday, June 06, 2013

Huntress-Starbound Beast

Napalm Records

For new bands sophomore releases can make or break you. While a good follow-up will help you build upon any success you previously had a bad follow-up can quickly allow critics a chance to bury you. With "Starbound Beast" I approached this album with no expectations. Even though I happened to like the debut-album from Huntress, 2012's "Spell Eater", I have to admit that repeated listens eventually made me long for more. On "Spell Eater" I came to languish missed opportunities. After listening to it over and over you'd think that it would resonate more with me, but the opposite actually happened where I started to nit pick flaws. So here, with a blank expression on my face, I looked into this promo and, seeing as I was in the mist of a potentially busy day, I actually made a copy of this album (For my own listening pleasure and no one else!) to listen to in my car as I ran a day's worth of errands. And wouldn't you know it this album shreds! "Starbound Beast" is such a HUGE step-forward that it's hard not to get overly excited about cool, straight-up, traditional heavy metal! Jill Janus (The band's provocative power-house vocalist) sounds much more in tune with her band-mates and, while I didn't go back and pull out "Spell Eater" for a side-by-side comparison, it sure does sound as if she is more adapt at actually "singing" on LP number two! Overall the band seems as if they have really jelled together and are more comfortable as a genuine band (Initially the group was made up of ex-Professor members with Jill as a new singer so it is possible that on album number one they were still feeling their way around being a new band.) and, as such, are more capable of writing more unique and tighter material. With 10-tracks total, one of which is simply the album's intro opening, the band puts all of their effort and energy into making sure that things are down right. With cuts like "Blood Sisters" and the "not for the kiddies" thrasher "I Want To F**k You To Death" pulling no punches up front the rest of the album flows easily through the band's take on kick ass metal. Yet again the group relies on the same sort of influences as album number one (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Taist Of Iron, Witchfinder General, Black Sabbath, Cirith Ungol, Chastian, Mercyful Fate) but here it's all the more original and natural sounding. Between albums it does appear that there was a bit of a line-up change as now the band features two former members of the group DarkBlack (The latest one, Anthony Crocamo, handles guitar along with founding member Blake Meahl while original second guitarist Ian Alden has now switched to bass.) but the switch-ups hasn't affected the band in any ill way. Now, while the group (musically at least) sounds similar, the lyrical content has taken a step forward as evident on the title cut which, odd as it may sound, takes it's cue from the likes of Blue Öyster Cult. With "Starbound Beast" the band continues their exploration of space and the various nuances of occult rock that began on their first LP (For example album number one had cuts like  "Sleep Of Death" which, according to lead singer Jill Janus, dealt with space travel.) and will no doubt pop up on further releases. At least let's hope for further releases seeing as the group has made some nice leaps between album number one and album number two with this new one being highly recommended!

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