Huntress – Static (Napalm)Thursday, 10th September 2015
Surviving uterine cancer surgery and battling lifelong mental disorders from bi-polar to schizophrenia and memory loss proves Huntress’ Jill Janus has a lot on her plate to channel through the healing power of heavy metal. Being on the sidelines to tackle a lot of these matters hasn’t slowed down this Highland Park, California set of musicians – Static being their third studio full-length in the past four years. Adding two members from Holy Grail in guitarist Eli Santana and drummer Tyler Meahl, the band’s sound has always been melodic and traditional while incorporating a rough sheen that comes from more of a thrash, death, or occult orientation.
A lot of the feel for this record takes on a darker, almost Mercyful Fate-ish atmosphere, even if Jill’s note holding abilities are more in a standard power belter mold. “I Want to Wake Up” and the semi-thrash starter “Sorrow” resonate with those who like anthems chock full of proper headbanging chords, killer segment fusions, and memorable choruses. Reaching back into the early Randy Rhoads era for the smoldering riff gallop hook on “Flesh”, lead guitarist Blake Meahl throws in tasteful breaks throughout the instrumental sections to elevate the aural anticipation from start to finish.
“Mania” at 8:43 is Huntress’ epic, beginning very slowly through layered clean guitar passages and Jill’s subtle lower range before kicking up the speed and heaviness half way through – a solid amalgamation of what one would expect if taking early Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Mercyful Fate into the current production marketplace. The second half of the record can be a little more musically adventurous, as “Four Blood Moons” plus closer “Fire in My Heart” should get the cavalcades marching, fists firmly hoisted high in allegiance to Huntress.
For some reason, their last album Starbound Beast didn’t produce the proper melody/hook combinations for long-term retention. Static has rectified that, and my sense is these songs will become fixtures on the live front for quite a while – the road warriors that Huntress have become.