Thursday, September 17, 2015

Huntress – Static

Static” marks album number 3 for Huntress, and it is by far their strongest effort to date. The record doesn’t display a drastic change in sound; in fact, it’s largely similar to the first two Huntress records in style, but it does show a substantial improvement in several areas, most notably in the songwriting and the individual performances. The first of those two areas is where the biggest leap has been made. The first couple Huntress albums were good, but they only had a few truly memorable songs each, while the remainder of the material was simply good. By contrast, the entire first half of “Static” is incredible, ranging from the high-speed opener, “Sorrow”, to the stalkerish “Brian” (admittedly this is without reading the lyrics, and just picking up certain lines by ear), to the lengthy slow number, “Mania”. The last of these tracks reaches almost 9 minutes, but it took about 4 spins of this record before I realized that it was longer than anything else, which is a testament to just how great the song is.  

These songs excel because they’re driven by incredibly strong vocal performances and an improved performance from frontwoman Jill Janus. Even though she can hit some high notes, her voice is at its best when it is a bit more mid-range, and she definitely displays more restraint on this record. In the past, she did occasionally fall prey to wailing syndrome, but that is largely non-existent on “Static”. Similarly, the harsh vocals that were sometimes present in the band’s past (moreso on the first album) make only a couple of appearances on this record. There’s nothing wrong with her growls, but the album is better without them because it makes the release more coherent and consistent. Though I don’t pay too much attention to lyrics, the lines I have caught during this album make it seem like many of these songs are about varying mental health issues, which is a bit more interesting than some of the band’s earlier themes.

The second half of the album doesn’t differ in terms of approach, but it’s more of a mixed bag when it comes to memorability. The riffs and solos are definitely very competent, as are Jill’s vocals, but there’s quite as infectious as “I Want To Wanna Wake Up”, for example. Still, you have to respect progress, and “Static” is an excellent showcase of it. The album is unlikely to win over new fans, but this record will sway anyone who was on the edge beforehand. As someone who could appreciate the band even at their weaker moments, “Static” is a huge winner in my book!

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"I Want To Wanna Wake Up"

Final Rating
4.4/5 or 88%. 

Written by Scott

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