Huntress – “Static” (Napalm Records)
Bad ass front woman Jill Janus and her 4 octave vocal range have returned on this 3rd release from heavy metallers Huntress! Formed in 2009 when opera trained Janus moved to LA, the band cooly mix traditional metal a la 80s Maiden with a west coast twist but also blending in a rich 70s occult background. After completing two incredibly successful years of relentless touring, Huntress have brought it all together on “Static”, which is as catchy as it is heavy! Now featuring ex Holy Grailer’s Eli Santana on guitar and lead guitarist Blake Meahl’s brother Tyler on drums, expect more throat bursting soprano with classic HM riffs and some blistering solos if opener ‘Sorrow’ is anything to go by. Still, there’s always been a certain panache about Janue, and on “Static” she exhibits it in no small quantity with more singing and vocal melodies like on ‘Harsh Times On Planet Stoked‘ – although still with plenty of heavy to make this very metal indeed! For me personally though, it’s the quieter, but more haunting songs like the 8 minute ‘Mania’ which slowly builds its dark tranquility using brooding guitars and Janus’s siren-esque vocals into a long, heavy opus featuring plenty of lengthy tremolo ridden solos and some thundering drum work. Fast or slow, heavy or lite, Huntress today sound like they can handle it all here complemented by a matching sound courtesy of Chris Rakestraw (Danzig, Children of Bodom, Skeletonwitch) and album artwork once again created by Vance Kelly (Slayer, Ghost B.C., Mastodon). Great stuff!