Huntress - Spell Eater
I saw this band at Tidal Wave 2012 in San Francisco and I knew that no matter how good this album was, it wasn’t going to top their live performance that day. They fucking killed it. Watching Jill Janus wail away like a banshee was quite a sight. It kind of reminded me of the first time I saw King Diamond live. The lyrics aren’t exactly Dante’s Inferno, but when you see Huntress live, stupid lyrics or not, Jill believes it and her performance makes you a convert. Given that, listening to Spell Eater was a challenge. The music is very Thrash oriented, mostly in the speedier range. It kind of reminded me of the US band Thrust (Fist Held High-era) or maybe a Thrash version of Zed Yago. What commands the most attention, though, are the vocals. Jill Janus may look like a whole lot of cheesecake but she’s got a dynamic voice. It’s all over the place, going from lower-end growly stuff to high pitched banshee wails, from snarling delivery to melodic, operatic highs. It takes you a couple listens to get into this but once you get used to it, it works. I’ve seen this album panned in a few places, and I think that based on how the promo material looks, these people were expecting Folk Metal and didn’t get it. They wanted happy Renaissance Faire music with electric guitars, but got Thrash Metal instead. I admit that the advertising is misleading. When I first saw the ads for this album, I was expecting Folk Metal too. One trip to YouTube and a quick viewing of “Eight of Swords” would’ve given you a good indication that this wasn’t going to be your average Folk Metal band. There are some flaws here, though. Some of the songs don’t flow as well as they should and there are times when the vocal delivery is a bit disjointed, but for the most part, Spell Eater is a pretty rocking album. My main gripe isn’t that the songs aren’t good, but that they don’t sound anywhere near as good as their live show. Maybe their next recording will capture that raw, “live” feeling, but the music lacks the same energy. If Huntress can capture that “live show” sound on their next album, it will fucking kill.
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Huntress has got to be better seeing them live. Just seeing Jill at least.
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