Huntress – Spell Eater
It’s difficult to know where to start with reviewing this particular album. First of all, I chose to review it because I’m going to Paganfest in Seattle on April 15, and Huntress is on the bill. So, I was curious and thought reviewing their upcoming album, out May 8 in North America, would be a good way of familiarizing myself with their material. The song titles alone sounded refreshingly intriguing: “Senicide”, “Eight Of Swords”, “Snow Queen”, and “Night Rape.” You just know, reading those song titles, that we’re heading into the realm of some really dark stuff.
Reveling in the occult, devilry, and all kinds of themes you normally see ad nauseam at Halloween, Huntress, with Spell Eater, has produced an album that takes the listener on a fast-paced trip through the places and beliefs that might be a tad bit intimidating to those unfamiliar with the occult. I however, am familiar with the occult, so the subject matter in the album didn’t phase me. In fact, I found it rather entertaining. While there are songs on this album designed to frighten (“Children”, for example, seems to be a song encouraging children to run for their lives from a hunter with a nasty blade…probably not suitable for budding young metal heads under the age of 8), there were songs on it that were just fun for me to listen to.
Musically, we have a more traditional heavy metal sound with a lot of tight guitar work. As I mentioned, the album is fast-paced; this is not a ballady band whatsoever. They do not have a softer side! What makes this not quite my cup of tea are the vocals, performed by Jill Janus, who sings with a dizzying array of harsh styles: growls, screams, demonic-ish gravelly throaty sounds, shrieks, and a hell of a lot of shouting. The style suits the content; you couldn’t take these guys seriously if she was singing about senicide with an opera voice. And she could: according to the band’s biography, Jill has a four-octave range trained opera voice she used to tour around Europe with.
When I first started listening to this album, I didn’t think I’d get through it because of Jill’s vocals. You know me and harsh vocals. But the music and themes were compelling enough for me to keep listening to this album over and over again. As long as it’s not taken literally (no, I don’t believe in the devil, so songs like “Night Rape”, though bleak in imagery, aren’t going to make my lose any sleep), this stuff is harmless entertainment.
My favourite song on the album is “Eight Of Swords” – probably because I do tarot cards myself and I enjoyed hearing a song about the tarot.
Eight swords form a cage
The sky is grey
I’m tied and I am blind
There is no escape…
Eight of swords
Trouble or trick
Kill the heretic
Eight of swords
Devil’s cards of sin
Let the witches in!
I must admit I’m pretty square for a metal head, but listening to this album really gave me a feeling of badass-ness, and I kinda wanted to run out and get some black fishnets, a pair of spiky knee-high boots, and a studded leather bustier, and dance around a cauldron in the misty moonlight. That kind of attire is not in my budget, but the point is that I felt a little bit like I wanted to release my inner bad girl listening to Huntress, and that’s a good thing.
This album is definitely a worthwhile listen, and thank God (or whoever) the band didn’t descend into lyrical cliché’s with references to 666 and that kind of crap. Now I am very much looking forward to seeing Huntress live next month because I bet they put on a hell of a live show.
Allyson’s Rating: 3.75 out of 5