Review Summary: A surprisingly robust and entertaining thrashback.
One day, when I was discussing 2012 metal releases with my (tiny) group of metal friends, the band Christian Mistress came up. I had picked up their album Possession
earlier this year and enjoyed it a little, but it didn’t blow me away or anything. Then one of my friends said, “Hey, if you guys liked Christian Mistress, check out Huntress. Their debut comes out soon.” One day, I was a little bored, so I checked out a couple tracks on the good ole YouTube. And friend, I’m sorry to say, you are an idiot. Huntress and Christian Mistress are completely different. The only similarity is the fact that they are female fronted metal bands. And even that little fact is a key difference.
First off, let’s address the obvious question. Is the female vocalist (Jill Janus) actually good, or is it just a gimmick? I will definitively say, no, she is not a gimmick. Her voice is extremely powerful and diverse, ranging from wondrous cleans to harsh, rasping black metal-esque shrieks. Mostly, however, she sounds a little like Mille Petrozza of Kreator fame, a gruff thrashy style, except, you know, more feminine. This works really well with the music, a sort of melodic thrash metal. I definitely feel that Jill’s vocal prowess is a high light of this album, and proves that female fronted metal doesn’t need to be a cheap gimmick or be stuck in the Nightwish/Within Temptation mold. You can make balls to the walls, ass kicking thrash with female vocals too.
Besides the really awesome vocals, the backing instrumentation is really strong. The guitar duo of Ian Alden and Blake Meahl toss out some impressive riffs, some just shredding thrash metal or some more melodic, power metal tinged leads. The track Eight of Swords
shows this off excellently, with some really wicked and catchy riffs, and a very fun and melodic solo. And the outro of the song is wonderful. The drumming of Carl Wierzbicky is solid and energetic, really helping to drive the band in great forward momentum. I will say the production on this album really made the drums feel meaty and powerful. Unfortunately, Eric Harris’s bass is nearly completely lost in the mix. While I know this is generally par for the course for power metal and thrash bands, I feel that a more audible bass could aid a really great, powerful foundation for the band to jump off of. The only real exception I heard was the opening of Children
, which was very strong and only further proves my point.
The production hear, as mentioned before, is phenomenal. The guitar tone is razor sharp, every note is clear and powerful. As I’ve said, the drums sound meaty and robust, but the bass is lost. Jill Janus’s voice is brought to the front of the mix, and while some may say that it is bad thing, I really love it. It really shows of her versatility and you can hear every nuance of her voice.
From the reaction I’ve seen over the Internet, this is either a love it or hate it album. As you can probably tell from my gushing review, I am firmly in the love it camp. I don’t understand the hate, Jill’s voice is strong, the guitars pump out strong leads and riffs, and the drums are dominating. Can you really ask for more? This is a very over the top and bombastic album, so maybe the cheesiness can be a bit excessive
for some people. For me though? This is just what I’ve been asking for.
-Jill Janus’s voice
-The guitar duo has some great riffs
-Jill’s voice isn’t for everyone
-A little cheesy at times
Eight of Swords