Huntress: Starbound Beast

Chest-beating follow-up from pagan tradsters

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Huntress hit the scene with a bang in 2012. Will 2013 be the year that they break big, turning the buzz into something more substantial?

As this stage, the jury’s still out on whether the Californian quintet can truly fulfil the potential oozing from every groove of their debut album, Spell Eater, but what we can say for sure is that with this blazing follow-up, they’re making all the right moves.

Fronted by the foxy Jill Janus – a significant part of their appeal, whichever way you slice it – the band have matured during the last 12 months. While the barrelling rhythms, scything riffs and frenetic shredding of yore remain very much intact, they’re supported by superior songwriting. The knockout metal anthem that may put Huntress into the jukeboxes of the 22nd century is still some way off, but on this evidence, they’ve got one in them.

Musically, the melody of Maiden and Priest entwines with the attack of Megadeth and Iced Earth to form a dynamic trad/thrash fusion with considerable crossover appeal. And Ms Janus, for all her easy marketability, busts her ass here, pushing her fearsome four-octave pipes to a bloodcurdling performance.