Give “Spell Eater” a fair chance – a decision that I am very pleased with as this ten-track album is one truly impressive piece of work.
Huntress - Spell Eater  [Album]
Napalm Records (Edel) / NPR 400 / CD
MP3 V0 (VBR)
Self-promotion is important for any young outfit, struggling to make a name for itself, especially in an era where new bands appear like mushrooms after the rain. The Californian Heavy Metal quintet Huntress decided to herald the release of their debut studio effort “Spell Eater” was to make available the one track single “Eight Of Swords”, and then bombard all social media with pictures focusing on the assets of their lead singer Jill Janus. Such ‘cheap tricks’ normally tend to put me off completely but for some strange reason, and against my better judgement, I decided to
These guys (and gal) have been clearly raised with a diet of classic Heavy Metal and bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but they also seem to be equally attracted by the fast and dark side of things, hence comparisons with the likes of Megadeth and Mercyful Fate are to be made.
What separates these blood-thirsty Californians from most retro-sounding bands are three very important things: their technical prowess, their addiction to speed and, most importantly, the fact that they feature in their ranks a front woman that possesses an impressively wide vocal range and which, at times, sounds more angry and dangerous than a pack of hungry wolves roaming the woods deep in the winter.
The average duration of the songs does not exceed the four minute mark and the riffs are pretty simple in structure but the conviction with which they are executed, together with the sound created by Chris Rakestraw at Sunset Lodge tick most of the boxes, making the experience of listening to “Spell Eater” truly enjoyable.
Placing one of your fastest songs at the very beginning of the album is a very clever move, providing that the follow-up lives up to the hype. Here, the Mercyful Fate (on speed) sounding “Spell Eater” makes way to riff-based “Senicide” – a song with a flamboyant solo which can compete with any of Dave Mustaine’s later creations. Slightly less hyper but impressive in its variety, “Sleep And Death” is a very interesting offering, but the first time that I felt that the momentum gained was under jeopardy was during the five minute “Snow Witch” – a decent composition but not one that can compete with its predecessors.
Influenced by the works of Iron Maiden and featuring some of Jill’s most aggressive vocals, “Eight Of Swords” is a return to form and is followed by the duet “Aradia”/”Night Rape” – two of the absolute highlights of the album. The former is based on one of the most addictive head banging Mercyful Fate inspired guitar melodies of the album whereas the latter is an old-school Epic belter that bands like Manilla Road would have been proud of having recorded back in the day. Fast though it is, the twin guitar themed “Children” is the second ‘weakest’ moment of the album; “Terror” featured a bombastic militar-esque drum theme, while the closing tracks “The Tower” is yet another classic Metal anthem filled with head banging riffs and flamboyant melodic solos.
I really cannot tell you how happy I am to have given “Spell Eater” a spin, as the more I listen to the twelve compositions, the more they grow on me. Creating a classic sounding album with a modern feel to it that has something truly interesting to offer in the year 2012 is a very difficult thing to do but this is exactly what these five Californians have managed to achieve. In Jill Janus, Huntress have a really commanding front woman with unique vocal skills: if they manage to take advantage of her vocal cords as much as they have, so far, of her looks, then the future looks very bright for them indeed. Good luck and keep those riffs coming! (getreadytorock.me.uk)