Sound — 8
What sounds and looks more like a dark metal something, turns out to be good ol' rock (well, ok, metal-flavored. Sometimes). God knows what four Canadian indie rockers mean, naming themselves Priestess - preferences in sex or religious believes, but they sure mean to turn back time when it comes to music. Hello Master (Red Ink Records) -- the debut album by Montreal band Priestess -- is classic rock step by step -- primitive roaring guitars, plenty of spaghetti rock guitar solos, massive pounding drums and a screaming vocalist. The sound is straightforward as a plain rock drum beat. Sometimes it leaves you wondering Doesn't my dad has one of those records? The album kicks off hard with I Am The Night, Colour Me Black (even releasing the album in the USA, the guys keep to their roots, putting u in colour). Hard-hitting drums the track begins with are perfect to open a classic rock record. Right from the beginning you know what adventure you're into. The excitement after the first track changes into a surprise and later -- into disappointment. There are quite a few narrow places on the record -- things that nobody would pay attention to 30 years ago, but that are far too obvious now. Like those one-chord bridges twice longer than it should be - sounds like the producer just forgot to cut it. And ah, that wonderful cowbell in Run Home! Towards the middle of the CD you almost loose hope to hear something worth to tell your friends about, and there you find the nugget of the album - a powerful rock ballad Time Will Cut You Down. It actually carries some potential, being interesting and beautifully-sang. Having listened to the end of the 12th track of Hello Master, you'll be able to name about the same amount of bands that influenced Priestess -- AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Motorhead -- the influenced parts are pretty obvious. My guess is the band got inspired by something, but forgot to turn the inspiration into their own sound. There are a few damn good melodies on the record - they save the record from being called mediocre/bad and raise it to quite good.
Lyrics — 6
The poetry keeps the romance of the past century -- No souvenirs or guilty tears... Of course, as in the best rock songs, the lyrics are in one or another way about love and relationship. Time Will Cut You Down is a fortunetelling song by a bitter boyfriend -- Time will steer your path from your precious dreams/And I won't be around. Other than that the songs are about everything in general and nothing in particular. Vocalist Mikey Heppner certainly listened a lot to his idols' vocals and learned to imitate them in every single overtone. He would very well fit one of those tribute bands. Besides not being original, he overdoes his job and quite often singing reminds of a pig's week.
Overall Impression — 7
Either because of being lazy or being faithful to their ideas, the band locks itself in one sound, invented by somebody else long ago and overplayed by another somebody else a million times before. Even though the album in general is good, sometimes the band seems to be frozen in the '70s. Unfortunately, chasing the sound of their heroes, the band forgets about their own personality. The record, produced by former Me, Mom & Morgentaler frontman Gus Van Go, has a lot of that drunken '70s vibe. It might be hard to be understood by young listeners, but to the ol' rockers Hello Master by Priestess will sure bring some warm memories. Hopefully the guys are still learning and are eager to grow as musicians. Now that they know how to imitate a favorite band and have learned their lesson by being told out for that in almost every review, the next task is how to find your own style.