While the rest of the world were keeping their sites on the “Montreal Music Explosion” in the winter of 2003, a band of merry miscreants brazenly turned a blind eye to their poppy surroundings and just hunkered down in their dank rehearsal space, wood shedding on what would become their blazing debut record.
After much industry ballyhoo garnered from their intense live set Priestess finally signed a deal with Indica Records in 2004 and released what is widely regarded as one of Canada’s greatest hard rock debuts ever Hello Master. Unlike most hard rock/metal bands that relied solely on ballast and blast to sear their message into gray matter Priestess had a special trick up their sleeve – they could actually write a song that could walk the rope between being infectious just downright viscous. Armed with far more hooks than your average metal band their unique style of pop driven melody with metal muscle and Marshall stack attack quickly earned them a die hard fan base weary of death metal grunts and other metal cliches. It seems not only was the metal/hard rock underground listening but also shortly after its release major label RCA would perk up some ears and quickly inked a deal with the band, re-releasing the debut and only increasing Preistess’ global grasp. With major label muscle now behind them the band was able to pick up momentum the way REAL bands have been doing it for years – hitting the road hard. Their incessant touring included sharing the stage with such heavy hitters as Black Label Society, Converge, Mastodon, Motorhead, Gwar and others with their sound equally comfortable sharing a stage with Iron Maiden as it was with Dinosaur Jr.
2007 was a watershed year for the band with even more touring including a support slot for Megadeth in the U.K. and reaching even more fans when their song “Lay Down” was featured in the video game Guitar Hero III; Legends of Rock.
After numerous false starts that were beyond the band’s control they would finally spend the fall of 2008 in Los Angeles under the watchful guise of producer David Schiffman (System of a Down, Mars Volta, Nine Inch Nails) recording their crowning achievement Prior to the Fire. If their calling card Hello Master was considered lethal this sophomore effort easily trumps it with a devastating display of heaving heaviosity and a newfound sense of innovation that will have other so called metal bands nipping at their heels. On every track the band remains hungry, fierce and focused throughout with their signature melodic elements still in check but this time around they also scale to new lofty heights and let their progressive rock and hard psych tendencies add to the dynamics, density and drama.
Prior to the Fire will be dropping in February 2010, the band will hit the road harder than ever before with 2010 already shaping up to be their biggest year yet. “It wasn’t exactly the easiest record to make,” says singer/guitarist Mikey Hepner “but the hard work definitely paid off and we’re really, really proud of the end result. We’ve done so much touring and seen so much since our first record that it only galvanized our feelings of what the band is and what the band is definitely not. When we were writing the songs that would make up Prior to the Fire we really meant for them to be heard live. We just can’t wait to finally get on tour again and really do them justice – which is playing them live.”
By Dale Nixon