After delaying the release of this, their sophomore album, Prior To The Fire, several times, supposedly due to the typical record industry bullshit, it’s finally here. And, to my pleasant surprise, pretty good.
Having been a fan of their 2006 debut, Hello Master, I made it out to see Priestess a couple times over the past three or so years, each time being unimpressed by the new material they included into their set. Yet, with Prior To The Fire, Priestess is still catchy, still metal and they still seem like they ought to be more widely known than they are.
On this new offering Priestess elaborates on what they accomplished with Hello Master, only this time with more emphasis on gnarly riffs than sing-along choruses. Singer Mikey Heppner’s voice has gotten even stronger than it was on Hello and drummer Vince Nudo, who frequently wows live crowds with impromptu drum solos, shows off his chops with tasteful rolls and syncopation throughout the record.
In addition to boasting great riffs and infectious beats, in their slower moments Priestess expands on the progressive and psychedelic influences that Hello only alluded to as they use organ on a few tracks. There are potential hits on here too, like the songs “Raccoon Eyes” and “Sideways Attack,” though breaking into the mainstream is likely not of great concern to the band.
Prior To The Fire is even more focused than was its predecessor. For a band that spent the majority of the last four years on the road, they have remained hungry and shown that they have many more ideas and a lot more excellent hard rock to offer.