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Starbound Beast [Digipak] [Parental Advisory]


Product Description
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Lyricist: Jill Janus.
  • Personnel: Jill Janus (vocals); Blake Meahl, Ant "Pockets" Crocamo (guitars); Carl Wierzbicky (drums).
  • Audio Mixer: Zeuss.
  • Recording information: Hobby Shop Studios, Highland Park, CA.
  • Photographer: Neil Zlozower.
  • Huntress got a lot of attention in the metal press for their debut full-length Spell Eater in 2011, but garnered wildly mixed reviews. The criticisms focused on the sameness of the material, the generic riffing, and the use of their female vocalist's sex appeal to garner attention. The band changed all this with loads of hard work, relentless touring, playing small clubs and festivals, and a personnel change: bassist Eric Harris left to focus on Gypsyhawk, while one of Huntress' two guitarists, Ian Alden, switched to bass, and Anthony Crocamo was brought in to assist Blake Meahl. Together, they provide wonderfully creative foils for one another. Alden (always a more proficient rhythm player) and drummer Carl Werzbicky provide a tough yet elastic bottom end. Starbound Beast is superior in almost every way. There are four tracks in the center of the album -- "Destroy Your Life," the title cut, "Zenith," and "Oracle" -- that draw heavily on classic late-'70s and early-'80s metal, and directly from prime-era Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (there's even a bonus-track cover of the latter's "Running Wild" from Stained Glass). They pull it off in spades. The album is full of killer, complex, memorable riffs, perversely knotty guitar solos, propulsive drumming, and Jill Janus singing and snarling with real authority. "Blood Sisters" is melodic, thrashing death metal with infectious choruses and chugging twin-guitar riffing. The prog elements in "Receiver," with Janus soaring to the top of her range, are another highlight, with the guitars staggering their riff interplay and the rhythm section deftly cueing the various different segments. "Alpha Tauri" is atmospheric prog metal with several dynamic and textural changes led by theatrical riffs and Janus' alternately declamatory and wistful signing. The only ding against Starbound Beast is its single, "I Want to F*** You to Death." Its lyrics were penned by M?torhead's Lemmy Kilmister, usually the king of sexual innuendo, but not so here. Janus even emulates his phrasing. Otherwise, Starbound Beast reveals real growth in the band's songwriting; the music is more imaginative, varied, and ambitious, and reveals that Huntress isn't about to be pigeonholed into a specific sub-genre -- they can play it all. ~ Thom Jurek
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