Huntress's debut album, Spell Eater, doesn't arrive until later in the month, but people are already talking shit about the Los Angeles group's frontwoman, Jill Janus. The band, otherwise composed of men, plays a galloping blend of Judas Priest-inspired traditional metal and classic thrash, while Janus has a powerful voice that can hit the high registers and still sound beefy.
But her sexually charged presence in many of the band's publicity photos -- not to mention its video for "Eight of Swords" -- has caused some to argue over the band's merits. Emphasizing her long legs and ridiculously large chest, Janus' persona is perhaps akin to a particularly lascivious character from a Frazetta painting.
Aesop Dekker, drummer from Portland, Ore., folk-black metal titans Agalloch, has taunted the band mercilessly on Twitter, expressing sarcastic disappointment that its album is not called Fake Tits, False Metal.
As for Janus herself, she claims not to give a flying fuck what anyone thinks about her. "I don't read anything online," she says. "I will always use sexuality to gain attention. But I also understand you have to have skills to back it up. ... I am on my warrior path, and nothing will stop me."
At Geisha House in Hollywood, Huntress guitarist Blake Meahl talks about meeting Janus in 2008. She was booking "Rock Mondays" at Les Deux and scheduled Meahl's previous band, Professor, for a show. Janus and the band became friends, and eventually joined forces to become Huntress.
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Even Meahl admits he was a little skeptical at first. "She's obviously smoking-hot and can wail," he says. "We thought, 'This will be our "Disney metal band" and it will be kind of fun.' But we realized after a very short time that she wanted to do really heavy stuff -- she just hadn't found the right band yet to pull it off. It turned out awesome.
"If [her sexuality creates] opportunities, we're going to take them," he adds. "But it's not changing how we go about our music. And it's not like we're sucking dicks or making shitty music to get these opportunities."
Personally, we're not going to lie. We think Jill Janus is hot. But after five seconds of looking at a video, we need something more to keep our attention. And Huntress -- with their shredding vocals and awesome riffage -- do exactly that.
Huntress play the Key Club tomorrow night as part of the Paganfest tour.