Friday, October 2, 2015
Huntress : 'Static"
The third album by Huntress is an improvement of the sophomore slump that hit them on "Starbound Beast" . There is a darker power-ballad feel to "Mania", but most of the songs are mid-tempo power-thrash with a NWOBHM slant to them. Sure the band is still a vehicle for Jill Janus, who might have questionable metal roots if you google her, but to Janus' credit her voice has improved and she is not doing much of the harsh vocals focusing on singing, giving her a more piercing attack to the notes in her upper register. Up until "Mania" there might have been some variance in the chorus, but many of the songs had a similar feel. The fact there were some catchy hooks to compliment the way the songs moved along made this less offensive than if I really put this under a looking glass to find what make each song stand on it legs and apart from the previous one, but can you do the same with any post-"Fly on the Wall" AC/DC or "post- "Rock n Roll" Motorhead? Yet those bands are widely regarded as classics.
There is more power to the chug of "Four Blood Moons" . It takes off at a more punk paced cross-over thrash speed more in line with what went down in the 80s than the first half of the album. However it might be harder and pack more of punch , but it's not as well written as the five songs that come before it. The title track also sticks to a harder rocking ethic , but is more like the rest of the album than the song that precedes it. Jill's vocals more are almost always layered.So perhaps a few production choices factor into this, before you hate consider how production choices have given solo Ozzy as signature sound to his voice as well. The song title "Harsh Times on Planet Stoked" is very Spinal Tap, but the music rocks a good bit harder than "Big Bottoms" or "Hell Hole".
They take more of a Judas Priest style chug on " Noble Savage". At this point in the album I can appreciate the nods to classic metal, but want to hear the moments that don't sound like the could have come from "British Steel" because that is who this band really is. Unlike say Ghost, they stir up their influences enough to where it sounds more like an era than the band straight up jacking riffs or paying overt homage. The guitar solos are spot on for that time frame, but don't have much personality of their own and marginal shred factor. They fire off harder on "Fire In My Heart" toward a pre- thrash era of metal, and Jill's voice takes on a coarser tone but is still sung. This is one of the album best moments as it marries their melodic nature with a fair amount of heft. The riff coming out of the second chorus is particularly mean and finds Jill reaching up into the higher part of her register. Here the guitarist shows me who is really is and dishes out a more personalized solo. "Black Tongue" is a bonus track, but I am going to go ahead and count it as part of this album. She uses a harsher voice for the chorus, where the other melodies sit somewhere between Metallica and Judas Priest, which when it comes to 80s metal is good company to keep. Overall this might not be the most original collection of songs, but they have equal amounts of power and heart in them that I did not hear on the previous album so I hear this as a step forward for the band, filling a gap left by 3 Inches of Blood, so I will give this an 8.