Monday, June 10, 2013

Huntress - Starbound Beast

It’s only been about a year since the release of “Spell Eater”, but Huntress is back with their second record “Starbound Beast”. If the imagery and album title don’t give it away, this record is really meant to be quite similar to the debut; however, in many ways, I found it to be an evolution of the first album, rather than simply a copy of it.

The biggest draw (or deterrent, depending on your point of view) to this band is still Jill Janus’ vocals. There’s no doubt that she is a skilled vocalist, but on the debut record, she was a bit ambitious with her vocal work. On “Starbound Beast” she tends to have a better understanding of her range, and she avoids making big changes in pitch in her vocal lines. The end result is a more focused, better sounding performance than before. She still makes use of her black metalish screams on occasion, but primarily sings cleanly throughout the record. Speaking of black metal, that influence has been dropped from the riffing. While it was mainly prevalent on the title track of “Spell Eater”, it is rarely found on “Starbound Beast”. Instead, the band opts for the more straightforward traditional heavy metal sound. There is plenty of galloping, rhythmic chugging, and even some faster alternate-picked sections. Strangely, the faster songs are placed on the second half of the record. Both “Zenith” and “Oracle” bring the speed like no other tracks on the album. The former is a definite highlight, both for its thrashy riffing and memorable chorus.

The most contentious song on “Starbound Beast” is likely to be “I Want To Fuck You To Death”, which was co-written by Lemmy. This is my favourite song on the album, mainly because of the chorus. The guitars perfectly synchronize a harmony that allows Jill Janus’ melodic, calming vocals to take over. The rest of the song is a standard Huntress tune, but the chorus is too catchy to be denied. Another popular choice is likely to be the title track, “Starbound Beast”. The vocal line in the verse of this song sounds very familiar (almost Iron Maidenish), but I can’t quite put my finger on what it sounds like. It’s possible that it’s just so well written that I imagine Maiden writing it themselves.

With “Starbound Beast”, Huntress has greatly improved on their debut record. There are more standout songs, and the band seems to have a better handle on how to blend their unique sound. What I think really made the difference between “Starbound Beast” and “Spell Eater” is that this new record sounds a bit more restrained and refined. It seems like the band put a bit more time into writing quality songs, even if it meant that they weren’t all blistering fast. The more I listen to this album, the more I enjoy it! If you wrote off the band after their first record, you are missing out on some quality metal!

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"I Want To Fuck You To Death"
"Spectra Spectral"

Final Rating
4.25/5 or 85%. 

Written by Scott