Huntress – Starbound Beast | Review

Huntress’s 2012, full-length debut ‘Spell Eater’ was more of a fleeting talk-piece than anything resembling a strong heavy metal album. The main issue with ‘Spell Eater’ was that the music was one-dimensional and lacking riffs; a serious problem that an arresting front-woman, Jill Janus, with an octave-climbing voice and interesting back story could not save. And, as is the case with any band that manages to drum up media coverage, if the music cannot back the hype, you can rest assured you will be forgotten the next time ‘round.

The sneering eyes of cynicism certainly rolled in revulsion when the news broke that Motörhead’s Lemmy has co-penned a song on Huntress’s second album, ‘Starbound Beast’. It is definitely an unambiguous attempt to stir up interest after a flat debut, but the ironic thing about the song Mr. Kilmister helped write is this: it’s the weakest track on the album by a Sunset Strip mile. The song’s title says is all: ‘I Want to Fuck You to Death’. Whether this is a not-so-subtle proposition from Lemmy or not, the chorus is as lecherous and dumb as they come, regardless of the fact that Janus sings it herself. Its bluntness is disappointing considering Lemmy has made a lifelong career out of slathering songs in sexual innuendos, and it should have been branded a bonus or not recorded at all. But besides this song, the rest of the album actually holds up.

To the band’s credit they have work really hard on the song-writing, and it’s less of showcase of what Janus can do vocally and more of a cohesive group effort. The four track run from ‘Destroy Your Life’ through ‘Starbound Beast’ and ‘Zenith’ and onward to ‘Oracle’ form the foundations of this album. With ‘80s inspired metal riffs, striking guitar solos and Janus’s attempts at matching Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford in the vocal stakes, these four songs should hold the attention of those turned off by the desperate ‘I Want to Fuck You to Death’. The title-track, in particular, shows some variation by moving from double bass-led, melodic thrash to slower tempos. And Janus’s input works best when she flexes her extensive clean vocal range, as her attempts at screaming sound like a kettle coming to boiling point (see: the end of ‘Destroy Your Life’ and ‘Blood Sisters’ cringe-worthy refrains of “blood sisters forever” ); while lyrically she explores some fantastical themes such as witches’ covens, the Annunaki, and the oracle at Delphi. The music stays true to a formula, at times to the band’s detriment, and some of the vocal hooks are stronger than others, but the inclusion of closer ‘Alpha Tauri’ shows possible future growth during its delicate mid-section when the band take a wistful turn. This band may go on to greater things if it puts its heads down and focuses on writing songs without tabloid pomp. The ironic thing is: Huntress’s failing attempt at luring in new listeners may be the reason why said listeners turn away without giving the rest of the songs a chance. This would be a shame, as there is quite a bit to applaud here.

Dean Brown

Band info:
Label info:

Dean Brown is a metal scribe based in Ireland. He is currently a contributing editor to the North American cultural magazine Popmatters and he regularly throws words for a number of other reputable loud noise publications such as metal,,,, amongst others. He has a strong affinity for music that shakes souls and leaves debilitating tinnitus in its wake and such obsession has left him financially and medically crippled, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow Dean on twitter @reus85