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Huntress: Static

California’s witchy retro rockers hit the wrong note

Giving yourself to the retrospective tropes of heavy metal is a double-edged sword.

Everyone loves a bit of Judas Priest riffage with wails and screeches that transport you right into the nucleus of leather-clad nostalgia, but how long does it last?

So-called retro rockers, a lot of whom stumble out of Scandinavia like they were born to play NWOBHM, get an easy ride, but what if you’re Huntress, a Californian combo fronted by eccentric, cape-wearing Jill Janus? Musically speaking this has every bell and whistle you could hope for, from thrashy headbangers that Testament would be proud of to the emotive gristle of Brian (least-metal name for a song ever?), but what drags it down – and sorry to say – are Janus’s vocals.

She has presence but her sneering caterwauling lacks depth, resulting in a one-dimensional noise that becomes irritating after a few songs. Flesh and Mania reveal a few seconds of ‘proper’ singing, which is nothing special, if not a reminder that they did this better on 2013’s Starbound Beast.