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Terrible Vocals, Juvenile Music - 5%

TheStormIRide, May 22nd, 2012

Huntress has apparently been around since 2007. Did you know that? Probably not. I’m pretty sure that just about nobody knew who Huntress was before Napalm Records got a hold of their utter uselessness and spent god knows how much money promoting them and making them out to be the best band to walk the earth.

This really makes me sad because Napalm has put out amazing releases from some excellent bands: Tyr, Summoning, Manegarm, Vintersorg, etc. How does Huntress fit in with the normal folk-laden styles of most Napalm Records releases? Truth is, it doesn’t. It sticks out like a sore, festering, gangrene, about-to-fall-off thumb.

Musically, Huntress isn’t terrible, but do not mistake, it’s still really juvenile. When you throw in the god awful vocals, it just tears all that could be good away and makes me want to rip out my ear drums. The guitarists are competent enough to write some interesting sections (maybe two or three parts on the album). For the most pat, it comes across as a chugging power thrash style. The tone of the rhythm guitar is pretty thick and crunchy but the leads come across as lukewarm and contain no personality whatsoever. During most vocal sections a few lifeless power chords float while that freaking harpy bellows out her verbal garbage. Like I said, the guitars are almost decent , but the leads fail. Everything comes across with an air of familiarity. It sounds like I’ve already heard every note on this album before.

The drums and bass keep the rhythm going, but add nothing special to the music. The drums plod along listlessly, like the drummer is just doing enough to keep a beat. The fills are slow as molasses, and not in a good way. It sounds like the drummer just got the kit for his fourteenth birthday and is still learning what all those shiny cymbals do. The bass is so low in the mix that it may or may not be there.

I hate the production on this album. It makes every instrument sound extremely stale and lifeless. Worst of all, the mix pushes the terrible vocals to the front even further. The vocals are so far in the front that it’s difficult to listen to this without cringing. You can barely hear the music when she’s singing and it gets on my nerves to no end. Production is extremely clean and not muddy or fuzzy in the least bit, but those vocals are way too close to the front for my liking. It’s one thing to have a great singer in the front, but when your singer sucks you might want to try to mask it a little bit.

The utterly terrible vocals, as I said, completely kill any chance of this album being listenable. Napalm claimed that the front woman had this incredible amazing octave range. She might have a four octave range or whatever the hell it was, but that doesn’t mean she sounds good. The vocals go from a really irritating wailing, screaming banshee style to a really off key clean style. I really think the singer might be tone deaf. She squeals and shouts like your mom used to do on Saturdays when you wouldn’t clean your room. I really think she can’t decide if she should sing for a really bad, early 90’s thrash band or if she should be Arch Enemy’s backup singer. The banshee like scream / shout is like a dead cross for Kimberly Goss and Angela Gossow, only not as good as either: and that’s saying a lot because I hate Gossow’s stupid “I think I’m tough” vocals. And then the clean vocals are so freaking uninspired and flat that I wonder why they even put them in. There are even some sections where she tries to pull off an Iron Maiden-esque “whoa oh” section, but utterly fails in every respect. Whereas Mr. Dickinson can keep his tone and gets you wanting to hum along, Huntress makes you want to turn around and run for the hills.

Really, I can’t get over how Napalm Records put this out. This is utter garbage. If the band stepped up a bit and wrote with a little more conviction and branched out from the standard “Learn to Play Metal” riffs, you might have something decent. The drummer needs to step up and learn how to play a proper fill. Honestly, this singer is so bad that I cannot recommend this album to anyone who likes their eardrums. Lifeless, dull and uninspired: this album fails on all aspects. I know the only reason that singer is in the band is because she was a Playmate. Millions of horny twelve year olds will buy this simply for that reason. I guess Huntress is banking on the fact that the sex appeal will be enough to put out shitty music and I really hope this ploy fails. Don’t waste your money on this garbage. This album is recommended to no one.