Released: 2013, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The problem with Huntress, as with a lot of female fronted metal, is that you’re bombarded with images of a pretty blonde, often wearing little, in the promo material. Oh and the odd smattering of blood just to tell you this is rock n roll and not general glamour shots. Of course this male dominated industry still seems surprised by the appearance of females on the other side of the stage barrier, and therefore will seize upon ‘she’s a girl’ to move ahead in the general consciousness, but such promotion always seems to hinge on tits before talent.
Which is where it gets frustrating. Because Jill Janus didn’t just get to where she was because of the two things in her shirt (well not from where I’m standing) but because of the four octaves in her vocal range. With neither Angela Gossow growl or Tarja Turunen operatics, Jill’s voice is closer to that of Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson - powerful, cutting through, clean and clear - but capable of taking the rough with the smooth. Yet there’s no denying that her female form will have opened certain doors, and ears, - so we’re back to the frustration.
Starbound Beast will hopefully help keep the conversation on the chords - even though yes I’ve called attention to the same points of contention already - because this second album is a confident animal. That much is apparent from first-song-proper ‘Blood Sisters’ which settles into a classic metal gallop with some strained roars to sandpaper off the chorus edges.
‘Destroy Your Life’ continues in a similar way bringing in some thrashier moment and almost death metal screams. No wonder Jill ends up whispering the rest of the song after that. ‘Spectra Spectral’ adopts a more power metal feel, whilst the title track ‘Starbound Beast’ sounds like a ritual summoning of something akin to the beast Sigourney Weaver finds in her fridge in Ghostbusters. There’s a neat little mid-point riff into solo as well, just so you know.
It’s the song that’s probably had the most exposure given that it was co-written with that Lemmy out of Motorhead but ‘I Want To Fuck You To Death’ isn’t close to being the best song on Starbound Beast. In fact it disturbingly sounds almost like it was a private exchange that wrongly got recorded - there’s innuendo Lemmy and there’s just whipping your dick out. Metaphorically of course. Either that or it’s another ploy of cashing in on the ‘female singer’ money squeezer as young men queue up to hear Jill sing those words, and imagine it’s all for them. Just don’t picture Lemmy’s face at the wrong moment.
Subject wise it doesn’t seem to fit either because whilst it may be expected that girls will warble on about love and sex and relationships, ‘I Want To Fuck You To Death’ is the exception on Starbound Beast. The rest of the album looks to witchcraft, gods and goddesses, oracles, life after death, and such for its lyrical matter giving it a much more otherworld feel.
Ok so being realistic many of you may still come for the Huntress, but hopefully with Starbound Beast you’ll stick around to hear her roar. Because that is worth more than all the tight fitting outfits put together. I guess you can just consider those a bonus.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs