Huntress: Static

California’s witchy retro rockers hit the wrong note

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

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.

With over 10 years’ experience writing for Metal Hammer and Prog, Holly has reviewed and interviewed a wealth of progressively-inclined noise mongers from around the world. A fearless voyager to the far sides of metal Holly loves nothing more than to check out London’s gig scene, from power to folk and a lot in between. When she’s not rocking out Holly enjoys being a mum to her daughter Violet and working as a high-flying marketer in the Big Smoke.