Huntress: Starbound Beast

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Huntress: Starbound Beast
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Huntress: Starbound Beast
Heavy Metal
Napalm Records
July 2nd, 2013
Release length: 45:37
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Huntress is one of those bands that has come under fire in a relatively short amount of time, as has Napalm Records for signing them. The California-based female fronted Heavy Metal group formed back in 2007, only recently being picked up by the aforementioned label in 2012 for their debut full-length, Spell Eater. This follows two singles, one of which released by Napalm prior to their album, and a self-released EP in 2010. But, despite the controversy, does their follow-up effort, Starbound Beast, cast a better light on the group, or is it only going to further fuel the flames and cries of stereotypes and sexualism invading the Metal world?

Things start off with a kind of creepy and occult-driven atmosphere on “Enter the Exosphere,” greeting listeners with a rhaspy scream as some catchy Metal riffs set up the rest of the album. “Blood Sisters” picks up where it leaves off, though the rhaspy shout is replaced with some rougher, sometimes layered singing that isn’t that bad, but is pretty unoriginal. Even the music seems akin to Joan Jett or even Sister Sin, though still really catchy and backed by a good deal of enthusiasm. The audio has a slight muffle to it that gives the sensation of back alleyways and eighties-era Metal, all of which is hard not to bang your head along to. “Zenith” finds some really powerful music at play, and even the clean singing vocals are pushed pretty far, displaying a nice range that does suit the impact of the performance. The chorus is a bit simpler, but the riffs and clean singing work surprisingly well together to create a really emotional ride that is quite memorable, unlike the following hollow “Oracle,” which boasts some terrible chords, simple riffs, and god awful singing especially next to the music, making you want to run to the skip track button immediately.

Sadly, that’s not the first, nor the last, of what ends up the worst Huntress offers on this release. “I Want to Fuck You to Death” is a bit more aggressive, and the vocals really try to capture it in the verses, but end up incredibly whiny and just grate on the listener right from the start. Aside that, the lyrics are, well, they are lyrics, but laugh out loud bad. Picture a mainstream Pop song about looking to get laid without the inuendo, and composed with Metal in mind. That’s about what you get here. The music itself, however, is pretty good, though the upbeat chorus does conflict with the more serious main verses. “Starbound Beast” has a terrible hollowing echo effect on the vocals that makes the darker, but rather simple music hard to begin to enjoy. And don’t forget “Receiver,” which pelts you with off-key clean and rough singing ninety-five percent of the time, and a technical Progressive Rock build to the guitar solo that sounds really out of place amid some decent music.

One spin through Starbound Beast will validate many of the arguments fans of Metal have towards Huntress. Not all of the music is bad, but when it is, it’s almost impossible to sit through. Then there’s Joan Jett wannabe Jill Janus who continuously sings off key, has horrible distortions, or is just far from unique with her singing. Her screams and falsettos, however, are actually really impressive and make you wish she’d drop everything else and the band would go a different direction overall. The skill is there, but it seems like Huntress just wants to be a cocky female fronted eighties bar band and waste what talent exists playing overly generic material, while belting out two genuinely memorable songs from a set of nine (not including the introduction track). While this isn’t always a bad thing, it needs to be executed well, and Huntress just doesn’t do that. To sit through the album in full isn’t necessarily a waste of time, but with “Blood Sisters” and “Zenith” being the only two tracks making any sort of positive impact, it’s hard to justify sitting through this release from start to finish, let alone spending your hard earned money on more than those two songs on iTunes.

01. Enter the Exosphere – 1:29
02. Blood Sisters – 4:46
03. I Want to Fuck You to Death – 3:49
04. Destroy Your Life – 4:29
05. Starbound Beast – 5:21
06. Zenith – 4:04
07. Oracle – 4:59
08. Receiver – 4:41
09. Spectra Spectral – 5:23
10. Alpha Tauri – 6:36
Initial Pressing Score: 3.5/10

Huntress (band)
Huntress

Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records via Freeman Promotions.