Huntress – Spell Eater

Huntress are a new band that are quickly making a big name for themselves.  Their singer Jill Janus is certainly someone worth talking about.  She’s a former opera singer with a staggering 4 octave vocal range.  For anyone who doesnt know much about vocal ranges, most talented singers can with tuition get a 3 octave range, but above this is very rare.  What does it mean in practice?  In short it means she can range from the high ear piercing screams down to the deep grunts and growls.  A quick look at other singers with a similar vocal range tells the story – Freddie Mercury, Bruce Dickinson, Kate Bush, Myles Kennedy and Rob Halford – Jill Janus is up there with some very talented singers.  The rest of the band is made up of former members of Professor, Dark Black and Skeletonwitch.
Jill Janus is clearly an attractive woman and is pictured scantily clad in some of the promo shots.  Something like this is always slightly controversial as some people accuse singers who do this of trading on their sex appeal, but in my view this isnt a problem as long as they have the required level of talent – looks might attract people to listen to a band, but if they arent good enough then people wont stay and become fans.  In this day and age bands have to use whatever methods they can to market themselves to stand out from the competition, and physical appearance is a method used by male and female performers (just take a look at how often someone like Olli from Reckless love changes his t-shirt on stage to see how sex appeal is used by both sexes).  Jill Janus and Huntress certainly have the required talent needed to convert people from casual listeners into fans.

I’m sure a few of you got as far as “former opera singer” and assumed that Huntress are a symphonic metal or gothic metal band along the lines of bands like Nightwish (whose former singer Tarja Turunen was an opera singer), and those genres are packed with operatic style vocals.  Well if you made that assumption then you’re wrong – Huntress are proper heavy metal, and there isn’t even a hint of an operatic style to the vocals.

The scream at the start of “Eight of swords” is impressive – loud powerful and going on for an unfeasibly long time.  The song is the one many fans will have heard already as the band released a video for it late last year.  The title comes from the tarot card of the same name which symbolises restriction, confusion or feeling powerless, and the video shows singer Jill Janus tied up and blindfolded in a cage made up of eight swords.  It’s a damn good song that’s impressing a lot of people.

This is a great album – after listening to it quite a few times I’m keen to see them play live.  If you’re a fan of proper heavy metal with great guitars, plenty of power, pounding drums and great powerful vocals then give Huntress a listen.


Rating: 8.5/10

Spell eater will be released on 27th April via Napalm records

1. Spell Eater
2. Senicide
3. Sleep And Death
4. Snow Witch
5. Eight Of Swords
6. Aradia
7. Night Rape
8. Children
9. Terror
10. The Tower

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.