I am admittedly new to all things Huntress. My first time hearing them was yesterday when I acquired the just-released Starbound Beast for the purpose of this review. At first listen, they’re interesting, to say the least. Midway through the second, however, it really starts to click. There are some real chops here, both musically and vocally, and it prompted me to pick up their critically-acclaimed first album Spell Eater, that’s how impressed I was. Guess what? This one’s even better.
I am a big fan of album intros when done properly. They have to set a tone, a vibe, if you will, and “Enter the Exosphere” does just that. It’s definitely the beginning of something grand and segues nicely into “Blood Sisters”, a riff-heavy number in the vein of Judas Priest. Jill Janus’ voice goes from raspy to clean to banshee wail to death metal growl all in this song alone. Pretty impressive! “I Want to Fuck You to Death” is next, and has already come under fire from most reviewers. Why, I don’t know. I think it’s one of the best on this record. In fact, this song, “Blood Sisters”, “Destroy Your Life”, and “Starbound Beast” make for a nice four-song opening salvo that combines great riffs and the dueling guitar harmonies most fans will salivate over.
“Zenith” is another favorite. It’s a fast-paced track with a fierce double bass and guitar attack that’s squarely in thrash and speed territory, and “Oracle” sounds downright King Diamondesque. Again, these are GOOD things. “Receiver” really showcases Janus’ rasp and features a nice time change midway through. Huntress is a tight band, that’s for sure, and they really sound like they’ve been playing together a long time. Also featured is Janus’ ability to wail again. That voice is really something.
Closing out the disc are “Spectra Spectral”, “Alpha Tauri”, and an outstanding cover of (hey look!) Judas Priest’s classic “Running Wild”. All three are rather good, but if I had to pick a song that was my least favorite, it would be “Alpha Tauri”. For some reason it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the album, which again, is not to say it’s a bad song. It just seems out of place.
Overall, Starbound Beast is a huge leap forward when compared to the first album, and between this record, and a slot on this summer’s Rockstar Mayhem Fest, the sky’s the limit for Huntress. Catch the mayhem here in Dallas on Aug 4.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Zenith”, “Blood Sisters”, “I Want to Fuck You to Death”, “Destroy Your Life”
– Originally published in Dallas Metal Music Examiner, July 3, 2013