Sometimes it’s okay to ride a moral high-horse. No, I’m not about to ask you if you have a moment to talk about Our Lord and Savior, although I may sound like a grumpy old guy in a second. What I’m concerned with is artistic integrity.
Integrity is a massive part of heavy metal. Sure, lots of the bands spend most of their time drinking, drugging, and at least dreaming of getting lucky, but that is not the context in which they are proclaiming to have the moral high ground. When musicians present themselves as serious artists with something to say, they are claiming honesty. They say, “Guys, listen to us, we have an interesting take on the world and want to share it with you.” That is what art is fundamentally about: honest communication.
Metal, because it is a modern art form, sort of muddies the lines. It becomes sarcastic or inverted lots of times, but you can generally tell who the true metal guys are. They typically depend on solely their art to get their message to you.
The flip side is that bands that don’t stay true to the art form are pretty evident, as well. Bands that take part in the metal culture just so that they can dress like Mötley Crüe or Darkthrone. Bands get in on the metal game so that they can ride Pantera’s coat tails and snarl about how much tougher they are than you. And they’re all probably in the audience at the Golden Gods Awards.
Wanna know who’s definitely going to be in the Golden Gods at some point, probably for the wrong reasons? Huntress. Huntress could have been a cool band, but they are allowing their lead singer, Jill Janus, to destroy their integrity.
Some of their music is actually decent throw back metal. Their good songs sound like riffs Iron Maiden and Angel Witch forgot to use back in the day, and they groove really well. But admit it, Janus has probably taken the band in the wrong direction, so much so that they are now at the brink of being classified as “band with a chick singer” instead of a “doom/stoner band.”
Janus is just so full of herself, it ruins everything the band should stand for: telling kick ass fantasy/sci-fi stories. She just depends so much on sex, which, in my opinion, is the lamest gimmick of all. A hard dick isn’t terribly difficult to please; how much do you think Huntress fans actually care about their music?
Seriously, do a Google Image search for “Jill Janus” and in the overwhelming majority of the photos she is pretty much half naked. She’s like one of the chicks in a schlocky fantasy movie that is just there so that sex-deprived geeks can gawk over them. I mean, I AM ONE OF THOSE GLASSES-WEARING, COMIC-HOARDING GEEKS, but it’s really unrealistic and pretty disrespectful to women. Women shouldn’t be typecast in the metal world.
Janus is supporting this dumb, worn out notion that women are just there to be eye candy. What sucks is she can sing. She can’t scream or growl worth shit, but she’s got a good singing voice for stoner metal. If she just focused on the music that’d be awesome. Back to artist status, not nudie model status.
Then you might say, “Well, she’s a practitioner of witchcraft, and she believes that she’s doing some form of sex magic by presenting herself in that manner. She, herself, even says she wants to be seen as feminine, but absent of sexual saturation — surpassing sex, if you will.”
I don’t buy it, dude. That’s like Matt Pike saying, “Yeah, bro, I don’t get high or think I am popular with stoners, but check out my bands Sleep and High on Fire that evidently have everything to do with the ole sticky icky.”
Janus literally said “I don’t need any special attention for being a woman because I am going to earn respect like the men.” That is just as objectively false as the witchcraft she thinks she performs. You saw the Google search photos. Now look at her live performance on YouTube. Now watch her music videos.
Now look at those topless photos of when Janus was a DJ (link NSFW). Come on. Janus, you’re selling yourself short as an artist. And not just because you’re on the same label and practice the same superstitions as Dez friggin’ Fafara. And not because you’re comparing yourself to men when you should be evaluating yourself as a metal artist. If you want to earn respect like an artist, don’t use your body or your religion as a crutch. You’re neither a Playboy bunny nor a preacher at a megachurch.
For those of you who want to check out some bands with female members that have stayed true to metal without relentlessly shoving sex down the audience’s throat (and aren’t boring symphonic or power metal bands), here are a few: Arch Enemy, Walls of Jericho, Fuck the Facts, Acid King, Salome and Agoraphobic Nosebleed (Kat Katz is the coolest), Skarp, Cerebral Bore, and As I Lay Dying. Don’t you tell me that Timmy Lambesis wasn’t someone’s pretty little girlfriend in prison. You saw his face at that first court hearing.
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