Release Year: 2006
Priestess is an awesome Canadian hard rock band that became popular around 2006 when their debut album Hello Master was released in the States. What’s interesting about the album is that it was released a year earlier in Canada. They had some success with opening for such major acts as Megadeth and GWAR. Several of their songs have also appeared in video games, like Guitar Hero. Then suddenly it seemed as if they disappeared and the world forgot about Priestess. It turns out they were dropped by their record label RCA in 2009 for refusing to alter their sophomore album Prior to the Fire. Luckily, they were picked up by Teepee records and their second album was released in October of that year.
Priestess is a band that I feel does not get enough recognition and more people need to know about them. They may not be doing anything revolutionary or groundbreaking in music, but they were a breath of fresh air in 2006. They only have two albums, but they are worth checking out if you like raw, rock music. What makes the band unique is the singer’s voice. It’s sort of hard to describe in words, but there’s a harsh tone to it, as if he’s experienced a lot in his short lifetime. The best way to understand what I’m talking about is to pick up one of their albums and the one I recommend for new listeners is their first record.
The album opens with the track “I am the Night, Colour me Black.” The song starts with bass, drums, and guitar pounding out the same harsh, hard beat until the guitar breaks away in a mini-solo. Everything in this song is fast: the singing, the rhythm, and the guitar solos. The solo here sounds like it was ripped straight out of a Zeppelin song, but not in a they’re-trying-to-be Zeppelin way.
When you hear the songs, it’s easy to tell how much the band is inspired by classic rock. The album itself sounds as if it comes from the 70s. There are no fancy effects, no fine tuning in production, rather it sounds as if the album was recorded live and not altered too much in post-production. Also, the rawness, the emphasis on guitar solos, and the rock n’ roll vibe screams classic rock. It’s as if the band is trying to send the message that is what music is meant to sound like.
All of the songs on this album have awesome guitar riffs with the best ones coming from “Lay Down” and “Talk to Her.” There aren’t over the top guitar solos here, but there’s enough fancy work done to leave the listener with the riff stuck in their head for days. Basically, they have the kind of riffs that define the song. Once you hear the riff you instantly know what song it is. The guitar work also seems to be very heavy, which gives their songs some attitude behind them. A lot of their songs are a much needed punch in the face.
As mentioned before, the singer has an awesome voice. It has that raw, classic rock feel to it probably because he actually sings, rather than scream or growl and is pretty good at it. His vocals remain the same throughout the album, but one track they really shine is “Blood,” one of the best songs on the album. He starts off singing low and sounding sinister, which is perfect for the mood of this song; sort of sensual but a bit creepy at the same time. His voice then grows louder as the song progresses. Even though it never advances to a scream, it still sounds as if he was a victim of this blood sucking femme fetale. The only downside to his voice is that you can’t always understand what he’s saying. Just listen to “Living like a Dog” and see if you know what he’s saying.
What makes Priestess and interesting band is the subject of their songs. It’s not all about partying hard and having copious amounts of sex with them. There is some weird stuff going in these songs. One example is “Two Kids.” The song opens with the line “Two kids found dead in the water/beside each other, I don’t think they drowned.” Another example is “Blood,” which is about a manipulative and vamping woman who wants to take advantage of others. It actually has some pretty dark imagery. These two songs shows there is some heavy, dark subjects to be found on this album.
The only downside to this album is some of the tracks sound the same, especially because the way the guitar is played doesn’t change. The guitar has the same sound and effects in every song and it can cause the listener to confuse one song with another. Also, most of the songs have the same pace. They are all fast and there seems to be no middle ground. It’s not the worst thing for a band to do, but it kind of wears on the listener. The only low point on the album seems to be “Time Will Cut You Down.” It’s the only slow paced song on the track and it doesn’t do the band justice at all. The song drags on, which causes the singer to drag his vocals and for some reason the vocals just sound bad here. It’s as if they decided to get shitfaced and record a song while doing it.
Overall, the album gets 8/10. It’s a really strong debut and just about all of the tracks are great, even though they can sound too similar at times. The band gets more experimental and vary it up on their second record, so if you liked what you heard here, check out Prior to the Fire. To give a little preview of the band here is the video for “Lay Down.”
What do you think about the band? Have you heard their album before? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.