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Wasted time and space - 10%

Pratl1971, January 24th, 2013

Every now and again I am left in a state of solemn wonderment as to what I had done so horribly bad that I was left to be so repetitiously tortured by a band's release that crosses my desk. This happens to be one of those moments where I consider jamming rusty, jagged ice picks in my ears to ease the pain of what I just heard and felt he driving need to listen to Ron Keels' country album for 48-hours straight.

Huntress is one of those bands that (somehow) gets a record deal with an attractive front-woman that can't sing but looks the part and assuages the easily-lulled, testosterone-fueled masses into a state of...hell, I don't even know what it is other than typical male sexual frustration. The music on Spell Eater is about as pedestrian, amateurish, lethargic, and downright awful as it gets.

Vocalist Jill Janus, simply put, sings quite badly. Her mid range and overall tone has a barely-hanging-on quality that sounds as if it's going to go south at any moment; to be honest, it's a chore to listen to her warble and meander her way through otherwise rudimentary and boring songs. In fact, my feelings actually border on embarrassment for her at this point. She is able to hold a note, but she does absolutely nothing with said notes; there are no variances or stylistic enhancements anywhere to be found. When she growls and tries to mimic Angela Gossow (of whom I'm not a huge fan to begin with) it's outright criminal and ridiculous. She sounds more like a small child trying to garner attention though her “meanie” voice than anything even close to 'metal' tonal anguish. To summarize, this album is made all the more laborious by having to listen to these cackling vocalizations vying so badly to pass as cutting edge singing. It is an epic failure in this regard, case closed.

As for the rest of Huntress, the music isn't terrible, but the lyrics are high-school level; in fact, in some spots the music pretty decent, but much like Ms. Janus' voice there are no real variations to set it apart from pretty much any other garage band or demo-only assemblage dwelling in the underbelly of the movement these days. What makes for otherwise unmotivated music is only exacerbated by those horrid vocals, but on its own the music is tolerable, but unexciting and as basic as it comes. While decently produced, it's hard to shake the feeling of 'dirty' from my torso as I listen to this album. I'm not taking anything away from the obvious talent the musicians in Huntress posses, but I will state that, in my humble opinion, it is nothing wholly interesting. If you don't mind your heavy metal being horribly underwhelming and bland, then you might enjoy what you're hearing here. I can't pick out any one track here that even remotely excites or interests me because 1) Janus' voice is like electric shocks going through my pelvic region up into my temples and 2) the band seems reticent to attempt any real effort at creating songs that actually take a chance on thinking outside the musical box. It's sad, really; potential wasted for the sake of having a female-fronted band to entice the male contingent and jump on the current trend that is already dated and essentially over. It's not working...or if it is it's momentary and your career will be short and unassuming.

To be even more honest, it almost seems as if this would be the perfect band to go on American Idol to represent what modern America today views as heavy metal music. Then the uninformed, opaque masses would feel very knowledgeable and edgy by supporting and liking one of “those” bands from the other side of the tracks. The sad thing for them is that this band represents those safety-conscious minions, but real metal fans would more than likely laugh out loud at this band carrying any sort of metal moniker with such a plastic and diminishing style.

A total loss of three-quarters of an hour I'll never get back.

(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)