Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Ugh. Here we go again. Another band that’s hyped up based solely on the fact that they’re fronted by a woman. It doesn’t matter if she’s awesome or if she’s terrible, if she’s ugly or hot. I don’t care. Can’t we just talk about the band in general? Could the promo guy at Napalm Records just of said they this band is a badass heavy metal outfit from California and then build into the fact that the vocalist’s name is Jill and that she’s got magnificent metal pipes? Look at that! I got the point across that she’s a she and she can bust out the metal scream without making it sound like I’m trying to turn your world upside down!
But yeah, all of that aside, what we have here is Huntress and their first full length release, Spell Eater. As stated before, this bunch plays heavy metal. It may not be the old school’s definition, but it’s still pretty damned metal in old school spirit! Think of a slightly slower version of 3 Inches Of Blood with more self-restraint and more vocal variation.
Let’s talk about those heavy metal guitars first. The solo that bust out of nowhere in Sleep And Death was pretty much all you need to hear to figure out what lead guitarist Blake Meahl’s style is all about: playfulness, unpredictability and madness! Manic riffs and out-there solos set aside, guitarist Ian Alden enforces the Metal Is Law mentality fostered by Huntress with his brand of rhythmic ruckus.
Drummer Carl Wierzbicky (who some of you may remember and worship from his work with DarkBlack) kicks out the most purely heavy metal performance of the group. Mid-paced beats and moderately used rolls and the like allow the drums to remain prominent without overpowering the other performances, which I’m sure Carl could of done. The other in the duo of well known contributors is bassist Eric Harris (formally of Skeletonwitch). Eric’s role in this album is understated. He has shown in the past that he’s got the balls to play bass loud and proud, but he’s kinda forced to the back of the class, as the bassist generally is. But it’s not generally this tragic since this album could of used a little more depth and Eric’s talents could of helped out with that.
What this album really lacks though, is catchiness. Sure the band is good overall, but there’s nothing much here to keep you invested until the very end. I never once found myself singing one of these tunes while I was cooking, in the shower or even just after I finished listening to the album and am walking to the fridge for whatever reason. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, but I probably won’t be jonesing to listen to Spell Eater anytime soon.
Overall: Spell Eater is nowhere near as amazing as all of the hype would have you believe, but Huntress really aren’t anything you should pass up if you have the chance to do otherwise. Yes, there’s a female vocalist. Yes, she delivers the goods pretty fucking well (the rumors are true, she sounds amazing) and looks good while doing it. Other than that though, this album is worth a listen but will probably be rejected based on all of the hype or not given a second chance just to be sure. I suggest you give it a shot.