Huntress – Off With Her Head
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Say hello to Huntress. They could be huge. Like major label, playing arenas huge. If they play their cards right.
Looking at them, it's not hard to see what those cards are. One reader bluntly described the band to me as "shredding riffs, wailing vocals, huge boobs".
That's the truth, but it's hardly simple. Huntress are the strangest combination of overground and underground I've ever seen. Let me explain.
Huntress resulted when the band Professor joined forces with the singer Tuesdae. Professor are a very respectable retro true metal band in Los Angeles. They're pals with the like-minded Holy Grail, whose lineup includes former members of White Wizzard (currently making waves on Earache) and who have a forthcoming record on Prosthetic. Next week, Professor are playing a show with Slough Feg. Got the picture? Good.
Tuesdae, on the other hand, is rockstar material — in the true, not abused, sense of "rockstar". If her bio is to be believed, she has been a cabaret singer in Monaco, a DJ in New York, and a Playboy model. She is in an acoustic covers act with Dave Navarro (flyer here), and has been seen palling around with Axl Rose (story here). Her covers band Chelsea Girls, which includes current and former members of the Donnas, Nashville Pussy, and Hole, was featured in Revolver's "Hottest Chicks in Metal" column. She got Neil Zlozower, one of rock's all-time greatest photographers, to take Huntress' promo photos (here and here — NSFW). In short, she is the Sunset Strip.
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So it's weird that Miss Rockstar would join up with Underground Metal Band. If Underground Metal Band wants not to remain underground, then their calculation is easy: trade up from their current, probably scruffy, male singer to a blonde bombshell.
The calculation is less logical for Miss Rockstar, however. Shouldn't she be seeking out The Matrix or Timbaland or whoever the hottest hitmaker is these days? In this Noisecreep interview, however, she listed her five favorite metal records. They're by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, Suicidal Tendencies, and Black Sabbath.
So she has good taste in metal. And maybe she actually wants to sing metal. She has the vocal chops — evidently she's had operatic training — and she puts them to good use on Huntress' debut EP, Off With Her Head.
You can download it for free below. It's good. The band is just starting out, so it hasn't reached its full potential yet. But the potential is evident. Tuesdae sounds like a cross between the Donnas and King Diamond. The rest of the band sounds like old-school metal. Some of the harmonies and melodies have that esoteric, "true" feeling.
This is interesting, because a band like this totally has mainstream crossover potential. If Huntress were less, say, Sad Wings and more British Steel, they could be huge. This is thorny, because music is not the only concern. Lacuna Coil, Doro, and Arch Enemy would not have gotten to where they are today without their pretty faces.
That's the breaks, though. If you've got it, flaunt it, right? Doro and Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow have flaunted it, whether or not they'll admit it. They've done so fairly tastefully, though, and on their own terms. If fans are drawn to them not because of their musical ability, that's not their fault.
Tuesdae is aware of these issues. In the abovementioned interview, she said, "I know for a fact my sexuality intimidates some people. I also know it could sell records. I'm not making music to get noticed, fame is not the goal. But I desire a particular lifestyle and know how to play the game."
I doubt that particular lifestyle is "touring the underground circuit in a van". The cynic in me sees a rise to fame for Huntress, and then a Gwen Stefani-style separation for a solo career beyond metal. But I hope that won't be the case. The world doesn't need more Gwen Stefani's. It could definitely use more bitchin' female metal singers, though — regardless of bust size.
— Cosmo Lee