There’s something faintly ridiculous about Huntress. Just look at their promo shots; Four grimacing gumbies fronted by a bulbous-breasted Xena/Red Riding Hood hybrid, the lot of them looking like they’d happily flay and eat your pet rabbits and menace your grandmother without batting an eyelid. Their promo describes frontwoman Jill Janus as a ‘Warrior Princess’ and tells us that the band, ‘with drawn swords’ are ‘preparing to conquer the crown’. It’s enough to make even the most grim faced miserablist let out a thunderous belly laugh, and we haven’t even got to the music yet. That surely must be a humoursome riot of japes too, no?
Well, no, actually. Against all the odds, Huntress as a musical entity is a bit of a force to be reckoned with. Very heavy metal is their stock in trade, and Janus as a building levelling voice that, given a bit of time, should come to be recognized as one of the great female metal voices.
That’s immediately apparent as soon as she opens her gob on opening track Spell Eater. Spell Eater could just as easily be called Pain Killer, as it carries much the same blunt faced menace of the Priest classic bearing that moniker, but that’s about the only time on the whole record you find yourself playing ‘spot the influence’; There’s enough about this band to keep you interested at all times, and the sheer heaviness of their assault makes Spell Eater an album you’ll want to keep coming back to, if only to hear Janus making the sort of animal noises that’d have David Draiman turning green with envy halfway through the album.
It all gets a little samey towards the end, as the band resort to coshing you over the head again and again, but as they evolve as songwriters that default setting will come to be used less and less. For now, though, it’s a pleasure just to wallow in Jill Janus’ supreme vocal gymnastics and let the heaviness wash all over you. Exciting stuff.