Huntsmen’s 2018 debut album American Scrap is a killer mix of ’70s-style hard rock, prog rock, and folk rock with modern-day sludge metal, which, if you trace it back far enough, has roots in all that stuff in the first place. For its new followup, Mandala of Fear — a double album — they’re navigating the same terrain, but they’re doing everything bigger and better. This time around, Aimee Bueno — who sang guest vocals on American Scrap‘s closing track — is a full time member, and her contributions give Huntsmen a lot more range, allowing them to work in more complex vocal harmonies and just pull off more stuff in general. The album is produced better (it was helmed by fellow Chicago musician Sanford Parker, who knows how to make bands sound gargantuan), and Huntsmen have just gotten better at everything they do. The heavy parts are heavier, the folky parts are prettier, the hooks are catchier, and the prog parts are more sprawling. You can feel like you’re listening to a lost record by Yes or Pink Floyd or Jethro Tull at any given moment, and at the drop of a hat, you’ll think your speaker glitched and started playing Mastodon or High On Fire. It’s not actually that jarring though; Huntsmen combine all this stuff in a way that sounds natural.
Huntsmen‘s recently-released sophomore album Mandala of Fear (Prosthetic Records) is one of our favorite albums in the world right now (that’s an excerpt of my review in Notable Releases above), so we are very happy to learn that this Saturday (3/21) at 9 PM ET they’ll livestream a release show from their home city of Chicago to make up for their cancelled tour due to coronavirus. Making this show even more exciting, local great Bruce Lamont will sit in with the band.
The band says, “We want to make it a special evening and a special event, so on Friday I reached out to Treehouse Studios to see if they’d work with us on this – it’s where we practice and recorded our first record, American Scrap. With the technology available to us, there are now ways to reach our fanbase without doing it face to face; it’s just a matter of getting crafty. To everybody who we won’t see on the road, and those who are new to Huntsmen, we hope you’ll join us on Saturday for this special show.”
The show will stream live on Prosthetic’s YouTube page and it will be archived afterwards. Check back Saturday to watch, and meanwhile stream Huntsmen’s great new album below.
UPDATE: The stream happened and you can now watch the archive in full: