Live at The Troubadour
West Hollywood, California
Review and Photos by Travis Baumann
Huntress is a new metal band hailing from the Los Angeles area and has already made a brilliant, burning mark on the international metal scene.
Ripping out a sinister, head-banging blend of aggressive dark metal, they include enough nods to Pagan, Power, and Classical metal that they hold their own sharing a stage with bands of any sub-genre. They have literally taken the World of Metal by storm
Their excellent debut album, “Spell Eater” just came out on Napalm Records and showcases the song writing talents of a group that has the right blend of dark occultic moods combined with awesome heavy metal, and also has a unique sounding edge.
The band consists of four metal dudes blasting out riffs and beats on dual guitar, bass, and drums but the signature coup de grace of the band lies in their vocalist, Jill Janus. I have to admit, I received a promo picture of her many months ago and, instantly intrigued by her beguiling witchyness, hit the link that took me to view their debut single’s video, “Eight of Swords”.
Let’s just say, I was an instant fan of her vocal style, here lyrics, and her physical appearance (in that order as both the LA Weekly and other metal magazines have had articles talking about her being too pretty to be metal, which is BS… has anyone ever seen Epica, Arch Enemy, Agonist, or Lacuna Coil just to name a few? Chicks can tear it up!).
When I got my hands on the album itself, I was more than pleased to see that it was not just one good song out of ten, but each song carried the same excellent vocals ranging from harsh screams to melodic enchantress’ calls.
Every song is layered with a dark theme, mostly based in witchery and occult influenced imagery and stories, which of course is right up my alley. And every song has the metal-to-the-bone musicality that is a necessity.
They started off the set with their album closer, “The Tower” which is a great song and set the tone of the show without letting their barn-burners out at the gates.
Jill’s voice ranges, from what I have read, an insane four octaves and she blasts up and down those levels within any given song, blowing away my expectations of what live versus studio might sound like. The woman was born for the stage it would appear. She would shriek and scream, then growl, then go high and melodic, then down and dirty and back and then forth.
She really doesn't sound exactly like anyone but at moments can invoke everything from Dani of Cradle of Filth, to Angela of Arch Enemy, pull off Siouxsie Sioux in parts, and then follow it up with Gen from Genitorturers in moments as well. Now I love all these artists and quite frankly love her, she put on one hell of a show.
The set was moderate in length, being an opening act for Dragonforce on this night, but none the less, they were able to play about three-quarters of their album so the audience was treated to quite a few great songs.
Their set list included “Night Rape” about an Incubus type daemon visiting in the night for sexual encounters. This song really has some awesome vocals in it such as the line about “Sleepers and dreamers… you're not safe!”, I love that.
They also played “Senicide” about the coming of the death angel and the four horsemen, as well as “Aradia” about the queen of witches who will reveal sorcery to those who seek her out.
The title track “Spell Eater” was simply amazing live and had me singing it on my way out of the venue later that night. It is an awesome song that instantly invokes the mythos of Huntress and was a great name for their album as well.
Jill was very enthralling as a center piece for the band in her tight outfit, blond locks, and sinister hand gestures. She was also quite amusing at moments when addressing the audience saying things like “We drink the juice in the morning and smoke weed all day long so suck my dick” which got laughs even from her fellow band mates.
They finished up the set with their most renowned song; “Eight of Swords” which has a very cool video but is even better live. Her opening scream on this can be one of her signature sounds which leads into a great mixture of all of her vocal abilities as she goes from harsh to melodic and back. One of the guitarists sang backup vocals on the awesome chorus and I love her “Let the Witches in!” verse.
It was a great live performance that cemented my love for the band beyond my constant listening to the album. I have to say that Jill is much more than just a pretty (ok, REALLY pretty) face, but is in fact a new power in the metal scene that will hopefully be here for a decade down the road treating us to more of her dark occult powers. She is backed by a really tight band producing awesome, head-banging dark metal, giving her the essential backdrop to weave her spells.
I highly recommend seeing them live. They have toured a lot already, just finishing a run on the third North American Pagan Fest, and now a tour in support of Dragonforce.
I know they are hitting up some serious festivals in Europe this summer and then hopefully will come back and play again in the US.
Regardless whether you will be seeing them soon or not, if you have not heard them yet, search out their video for “Eight of Swords” and check them out. I saw their album at Amoeba yesterday so it's out and available and it is awesome.
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