Huntress – Starbound Beast
Reviewed by Allyson Kenning
Huntress pounced onto the scene last year with a pretty good album that I reviewed here on Black Wind in March of 2012. I quite enjoyed Spell Eater, even though I wasn’t a fan of singer Jill Janus’s harsh vocals. It was creepy in an entertaining way, and even before the album’s release, which was heavily promoted by Napalm Records, this band from the States was embarking on a dizzying amount of whirlwind touring that was pretty exhausting to keep up with on their Facebook page, which I follow.
Now, just over a year later (on June 25 to be precise), Huntress is on the verge of releasing their sophomore album, entitled Starbound Beast. I was very curious about what they’d come up with this time, especially as the album seemed to come together very quickly. When they had time to write this album amid all their grueling travels I don’t know, but it made me wonder if the songwriting and delivery would suffer because of their constant busyness.
Well, I kind of think it did. This album felt very flat for me, almost boring. But I don’t think it’s a complete bomb, either.
There are quite a few differences between this album and its predecessor – most notably that Jill tones down her harsh vocals considerably, which I believe is a plus. She does get growly and screamy here and there, and she doesn’t exactly sing with a totally clean voice, but she is showing her range and power much more (she is a trained opera singer with a four-octave range), and it gives the music more melodic flavor, which I enjoyed.
While Spell Eater was a pretty fast-paced listen, Starbound Beast plays a lot more with different tempos, including some slower and more progressive tunes like the title track, which, though positively sluggish at times, is probably one of the better-written songs on the album. The final track, “Alpha Tauri”, is similar in feel, and it’s a strong track, too. I liked this approach, as there was more variety on the CD.
But this album lacked catchiness and hooks with one exception, and that’s the song called “I Want To F*ck You To Death”, the lyrics for which were written by Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead. It’s not a great song, and it doesn’t feel like it fits into the rest of the album at all, but the chorus is catchy! Which is really unfortunate; it’s not exactly my style to walk around the house, or around town doing my thing with the words “I want to f*ck you to death” on my lips. It’s an irritating earworm.
So, other than the couple of songs I mentioned, I really felt let down by this album as a whole. It was flat, tedious at times, and lacked some of the entertainment value – and overall energy – of their debut. Though I enjoyed Jill’s showing us a different side of her voice, I think this release is a bit of a sophomore slump.
3.0 // 5