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Huntress: Spell Eater

Huntress are apparently creating huge waves all over the scene with their "musical concoction of occult science and archaic sorcery," and allegedly Spell Eater will earn the band "a place among the epic and timeless heavy metal albums." Some claim eh? One that's hard to justify? You betcha!

Vocalist Jill Janus occasionally sounds pleasingly like Bianca Butthole of Betty Blowtorch and occasionally drags up frightening guttural screams, however, it's all a little generic and sounds like a million other bands I'm afraid although kudos to the lightning fast fingers of lead guitarist Blake Meahl. With better, more memorable songs there is, I'm sure a much better album in Huntress but for the time being it's back to the drawing board.

Track Listing:
01. Spell Eater 3:57
02. Senicide 4:00
03. Sleep And Death 4:27
04. Snow Witch 5:02
05. Eight Of Swords 5:37
06. Aradia 4:08
07. Night Rape 3:17
08. Children 3:11
09. Terror 4:45
10. The Tower 4:31

Added: May 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2086
Language: english

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Huntress: Spell Eater
Posted by Danny Heater, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-05-02 13:00:07
My Score:

In an interview with the Napalm Death zine, Jill, the lead singer of Huntress, outlines many things about the band's and her philosophy. It's clear that, to them, metal is the only important genre for their writing, they're heavily influenced by witchcraft and other arcane sorceries, and that Jill is against using feminine vocals because it's weak. That's all good and well, but after listening to their debut Spell Eater, it essentially outlines everything that's wrong with them.

First of all, and this is coming from someone whose musical roots are seeded by metal, the metal genre does not take precedence in the general sense of being metal. Though, it's an immeasurably important genre today because it's essentially the only one that can fuse innumerable elements from any style of music and make it into something new. Just being metal and not looking elsewhere, especially nowadays, is absurd. That's why most of the riffs on here sound old hat; blackened thrash is merely one ingredient. It's worth the credit that the songs don't blend together (aside from The Tower), but it will not last and doesn't provide worthwhile returns to the record through just having pop structure and merely decent riffs. This also doesn't align with the musical representation of sorcery; Dead Can Dance, Sui Generis Umbra, even certain pagan folk are immensely heavier than most metal for example. It doesn't make sense to have extremely similar key signatures with guitars playing extremely similar ways around them to embody something mystical.

Next, vague allusions in the lyrics do not materialize the heavy influence of occult. While I believe Jill has the background, it's not made apparent. That said, her vocals are quite impressive (plus she can scream like a banshee - like, a real banshee), and will improve over time, but, and this is more encouraged by the band using the same key signatures, the vocal melodies start to blend together, moreso in the upper register. She is starting off well in the sense that her inflection helps distinguish certain sequences as well as not being limited by genre vocal styles, and I think continuing with that will be helpful. However, saying she's against using feminine vocals is pretty ridiculous since she uses them at the end of the first track. Heart made female vocals sound powerful, take it as an influence.

I met these guys at Paganfest, and they are all extremely nice and thankful for their budding success. I don't mean to deride them at all, these are criticisms of love, but there are many inconsistencies and it bleeds through on their album. And, to take a quote from the other review which was claimed by the record label, "a place among the epic and timeless heavy metal albums" will not be crowned by a record that takes most of its ideas from the 80s instead of looking forward. There's no issue with the influence, but when the influence becomes the sound, the record becomes derelict. Open the windows, eat some more spells, play nude in the snow some more, but at least come back with something, powerful to back up the ideology but, original.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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