Hidden Treasures #1: Priestess- Hello Master
By Municipal Stace Mechetny
Metal's been doing well lately. Every weekend starts with an abundance of new releases, from both national and underground bands, some of them generating buzz within the metal community for x weeks and gaining media attention if the stars align just so. But once the novelty wears off and new material is produced, many treasures end up swept under the rug and forgotten by most. Any idiot can review whatever EP Blabbermouth posted about most recently or worship at the shrine of Rust in the Number of the Puppets… I'm here to kick up the dust on the great releases that have fallen through the cracks.
I'm starting off with one of my all-time favorite albums: Priestess' debut Hello Master (released 2005 by Indica Records).
Like a great many stoner rock albums that further blur the line between rock and metal, a generous portion of Hello Master is shameless Sabbath worship. Fortunately, that's rarely a bad thing. Sludgy riffs paired with Mikey Heppner's borderline-thrashy vocals make for an underrated gem and one of the best things to come from Canada (I'd say somewhere between Razor and Skull Fist… or Skull Fist and poutine… I'm indecisive.)
The album starts with the unrelenting power of "I Am the Night, Colour Me Black", progressing into mellower songs. The album stays consistent with delicious riffs that may as well have come out of the seventies, highly catchy choruses, and the perfect balance of dark and heavy with cheerful and upbeat. Heppner's soulful wailing- almost reminiscent of Ozzy's, if he had no accent and enunciated his words- fits the music to a T.
One of the most enjoyable things about Hello Master is the simplicity of it. While definite nods to timeless influences like Black Sabbath and Motörhead are noticeable, Priestess manage to maintain their own style, all the while without overcomplicating their music or lyrics and oftentimes dealing with generic themes (but hey, songs about love and death will never go away… if it ain't broke, keep writing about it, right?). You won't find ridiculous solos or machine gun blastbeats on this album… but it absolutely doesn't need them.
Hello Master isn't the most unique album within its genre. It's far from the most technical. But it's also far from forgettable. As far as I'm concerned, it's an absolute masterpiece and worth a listen no matter what kind of metal you're into.
Best songs: Blood, Run Home, I Am the Night... Colour Me Black