Priestess/ Prior To The Fire

Stuart Gadd isn't sure you'll find a better metal album in 2010 than 'Prior To The Fire' by Priestess

Filed in Priestess, Album Reviews | Released 09 March 10 on Tee Pee | By Stuart Gadd

Prior To The Fire

(Tee Pee)

I'm of the opinion that metal should have a proper place in music’s great canon, so felt great joy when Santa brought me this second LP from Canadian hard rock outfit Priestess in his sack.
After the opener’s haunted forest phaser guitar intro, that familiar chug-a-lug riffing kicks in: can it be? Could it be? It is! It sounds like Iron Maiden! With perhaps a touch of ‘Ride The Lightning’ Metallica. Obviously a great start then, but things only get better.
Track two is a simply fantastic piece of rock music. I’m noting 80’s Brit metallers Saxon sparring with Soundtrack Of Our Lives. Here, heavy riffing and scorching solos are all present and correct – and so too are some classic metal lyrics: "When I choose my role in the forest of my soul, I will be a mountain!" the singer belts out, his lines containing just the right amount of Conan the Barbarian meets Nietschze mysticism.
Can they keep this up? They can, with track five being a real epic. Nearly eight minute long and with more breakdowns than Spinal Tap’s manager it features brilliant use of the LP’s signature sound, the twin lead guitar melodic attack a la Maiden. And the pace never slackens to the end.
2010 may be young and it’s probably too early to say, but I’d wager we won’t get a better metal album this year.

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