Although it didn't receive anywhere near the acclaim that Wolfmother did, these Montreal metallers' excellent 2006 debut, Hello Master, offered a comparable hook-to-riff ratio, one that makes it easy to understand why RCA thought Priestess (like Boston's Cave In before them) might have seduced a part of the Foo Fighters' mainstream market share. No dice: Hello Master stiffed, so now Priestess are back in Indieland, rubbing denim-clad elbows with the likes of Nebula and Black Math Horseman.
Sometimes that kind of industrial downgrade frees up a band to let their freak flag fly — think of, well, Cave In, who didn't peak till Perfect Pitch Black, their post-major-label return to Hydra Head. In the case of Priestess, however, it appears their experience has convinced these guys that they don't need tunes.
Long on tweedly solos, rambling structures, and songs about being trapped in space and time, Prior to the Fire — love the title, dudes, despite my disappointment — is sure to satisfy hardcore stoner-metal devotees with no fear of the occasional eight-minute track length. Everybody else should seek out Hello Master, which is available used on Amazon for $1.99.