By Carl Begai
With the world being linked up, down, and ten ways to Sunday thanks to the internet, it’s hard to fathom that a metal band can rise seemingly out of nowhere, secure a deal with a respected record label, and find its way onto two high profile North American tours almost immediately thereafter. California-based Huntress did just that, signing with Austria-based Napalm Records in November 2011 and confirming an early 2012 release a short time later for their official full length debut, Spell Eater. It’s particularly disconcerting for someone like Yours Truly, who effectively lives on two continents simultaneously and supposedly has a finger on the metal scene’s international pulse. The jury is still out on whether this slip was a case of jaded journalistic ignorance, particularly given that Spell Eater is a meat-and-potatoes wallop of old school thrash-and-burn metal.
“No, you’re not at all ignorant; we did just appear, quite magically” says vocalist Jill Janus graciously. “Huntress was birthed in the underground metal scene, but I clawed my way through the roots and dirt rapidly. I have been visualizing this moment for a long time. I finally met four people at my level of musicianship who share the same vision. It’s simply our time now. I could have appeared sooner fronting some false trend metal band, but my integrity is sacred. We don’t compromise on our art.”
Jill is something of a minority on the metal scene as a vocalist, with only a handful of women out there doing actual singing without falling into the opera box or going full-on Arch Enemy death metal. She joins the likes of Doro Pesch (ex-Warlock), Veronica Freeman (Benedictum), Kate French (Vainglory), and bears an uncanny albeit heavier vocal resemblance to original Chastain vocalist Leather Leone (see: For Those Who Dare from 1990). The buzz surrounding Huntress being what it is, Jill’s performance is under even closer scrutiny at the band’s shows now that Spell Eater is out.
“You know, I have a good sense of humour about this business,” she says. “At the same time, I have integrity which doesn’t permit me to care what others think or expect. I do not compromise on my vision, ever. I live only for my purpose. I was born with a voice for heavy metal and that voice rules me. Nothing else matters.”
Meaning that the flak she’s taken for playing up the metal vixen image – primarily in the ‘Eight Of Swords’ video and promo photos – has amounted to a whole lot of nothing in her world. Folks will be waiting an awful long time for Jill Janus to justify her metal persona and the wardrobe that goes with it.
“I’m quite happy about my image evolving and I have never justified it to anyone, nor will I start now. I’m so broke I can’t even afford to buy clothes. Can’t wait until I can afford a skin tight leather wardrobe! There will always be misconceptions and illusions surrounding me, and that’s fine. I’m not here to change the world; I’m here to live only for my purpose.”
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