Huntress: A class act at Rockstar Mayhem Festival

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Photo with Huntress' vocalist Jill Janus
Photo with Huntress’ vocalist Jill Janus

Today I watched the metal group Huntress perform at the Scranton, Pennsylvania leg of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and had an opportunity to interact with band members at a meet-and-greet following the live performance. The experience was phenomenal.

I first heard of Huntress through a 4.5/5.0 review of their debut album Spell Eater on the esteemed ‘Angry Metal Guy‘ website which had introduced me to great metal music — including Orphaned Land, Diablo Swing Orchestra, The 11th Hour, Dawnbringer, and Be’lakor — which deservingly graces my frequently played list of music.

I was pleased by Huntress’ music and the vocal prowess of Jill Janus which is quite different — considering Janus adds death growls and screams to her repertoire — than music I usually listen to with female vocalists such as Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Simone Simons (Epica), Liv Kristine (ex- Theatre of Tragedy, currently with Leaves’ Eyes), Floor Jansen (ex- After Forever, currently with ReVamp), and Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish, currently a solo artist with band). Janus easily ranks, in my book, with these esteemed vocalists and has only released two full-length albums with Huntress.

Huntress onstage in Scranton, Pennsylvania
Huntress onstage in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Huntress’ set [see a photo album here], although short due to the nature of the festival, far exceeded my expectations and was easily one of the best performances I saw at the festival and beyond. The musical quality of their live performance was similar to if not better than that of their studio-recorded albums. Unlike some other [metal] music I have heard, the excellence of Huntress’ music does not decline outside of the studio setting.

Their very lively set — including great stage presence and interaction with audience members — included songs from Spell Eater and the newly released Starbound Beast album: “Spell Eater,” “Destroy Your Life,” “I want to Fuck You to Death,” “Zenith,” and “Eight of Swords.”  The experience was ever more enjoyable because I was in the front row of the stage at which they performed.

on-site signed Huntress posterToward the end of their performance, Janus invited fans to a meet-and-greet at their purple tent. Upon reaching the front of the lengthy line, band members greeted me with either hugs, fistbumps, or handshakes; thanked me for attending their performance; recognized my knowing words to their songs, ‘rocking out’ to their music, and singing along; and thanked me for supporting their recent Indiegogo campaign and interacting with the band on Twitter (someone is paying attention and cares about fans).

I took photographs of and with band members and received an on-location signed poster. Janus then accepted my request to record a short sound clip for my radio show, Brave Hero Radio, with a lyric from their song “Senicide” – “All those prayers you thought would save will be buried in your grave.” Janus, funny enough, asked me to repeat the lyric I requested and jokingly said that I must know her lyrics better than she does because she had forgotten the lyric – mistakenly saying “All those prayers you saved will be buried in your grave” on the recording!

Huntress, through interacting with many others in the queue, proved to be a class act who displayed a care for metalheads — many of whom brought items to sign including vinyl albums, programs, and lyric books — who support their work. I was extremely pleased with Huntress and hope to see them in the future – hopefully headlining events. Thanks, Huntress!

Whether you are a fan of metal or not, please listen to (and hopefully enjoy) Huntress’ music.

Purchase merchandise including t-shirts and albums to support this great band. As always, feel free to leave comments below.

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