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The Olympic Games of Vancouver have only just finished and here comes the next fireworks from Canada. Priestess. An interesting metal band from Montreal. Rough, dirty metal, with a fuzz pedal, with distortion and with banging drums (and cymbals!I love it!). Check the attached YouTube video (professionally done gentlemen!) and you know what the band stands for. Priestess has the gift to play classic metal in a modern way and still sound classic. Do you know what I mean? Get it? If not, please check out the interview I had with singer / guitarist Mickey Heppner so you might understand what I mean.

By: Wim S. | Archive under hardrock / aor

You are on tour right now, supporting Big Elf, are you not? Enjoying yourself? How is the tour going so far?
The tour with Big Elf was great, we got to finally visit and play in many countries we've been dying to get to.

Will you be back home before the start of the NHL-play offs or aren't you hockey fans?
I'm the only member of the band who doesn't really care about hockey, but if the Canadians do well, I'll watch.

'Prior To The Fire' is your sophomore release, the difficult second album. It took you guys quite some time since the release of your debut 'Hello Master' was six years ago in 2004; what have you been up to in the meantime?
Well, we toured a lot, especially in the US, with bands like Dinosaur Jr, Mastodon, The Sword, Converge and Megadeth. Then when it came time to record 'Prior To The Fire', we had a few uphill battles getting our label (at the time RCA) to give us the green light to go in the studio. When it was finally recorded, they decided they wouldn't release it, but we were allowed to keep it at release it with another label. So then we had to find one! But we were still touring a bit during all this time.

In your bio I read this sentence: 'Unlike most hardrock/metal bands that rely solely on ballast and blast to sear their message into gray matter, Priestess had a special trick up their sleeve; they could write a song that could walk the rope between being infectious and downright vicious'. Can you be more precise about that trick of yours and why do you use the word 'could' in that sentence: is there any doubt that you did not walk the rope?
Our approach to songwriting is kind of the classic verse/chorus/bridge style generally, and our vocals are always structured around melodies. At the same time we like to try and as original with those verse/chorus/bridges and melodies as possible. We just like to play what we want to hear.

The album was produced by David Schiffman. I know him of his work for bands like The Mars Volta and System Of A Down. In what way did he contribute to the sound on the album. Or in other words: how would you have sounded without him?
Dave really allowed us freedom with all the creative side and all the arrangements, he didn't try to alter our course and this made our relationship very easy and productive.

band image

I think the band found a fine balance between modern metal and an old school rock/metal sound. That is also why I hear influences from a 'modern' band like Spiritual Beggars but also classic bands like Trouble, Sabbath and Vardis. Do you agree?
The only band I know in that list is Sabbath, but yes I agree. We don't hide from showing our influences, because that's the music we like, and we want to play music we like. Also, we are a modern-day band, who doesn't try to just rerecord classic songs and call them our own, we want to be fresh and different from our influences as well.

Most impressive track, both in quality and quantity, for me is 'The Gem'. In eight minutes it sets the essence of Priestess. What is that song about? And more in general; what inspires you to write about?
'The Gem' is about seeing the human race as a cancer, and the apocalypse as being a positive thing that rids this planet of us. Someone opens Pandora's box and unwittingly starts the end of the world, but he's sung about as being the hero.

Your album is released by Tee Pee Records. They seem to mean business right now with bands like Nebula and Iron Age. What can you say about that label, do you have a good relationship with them?
Tee Pee is the perfect label for us right now, because they totally understand what we want to do. I am alas stoked to be labelmates with so many wicked bands.

You are from Canada. How is the scene like over there?
Canada's scene in general is very strong and diverse, great bands like Bison BC, Barn Burner, Trigger Effect, The Besnard Lakes, Black Mountain.

So you are on tour right now, promoting the album. What is next? Do you have specific plans for the near future?
We are about to tour the USA with High On Fire which we are really excited about, after that we'll hopefully be back to Europe this summer, and then back to writing!!

Thanks for your time. If you have anything left to say, the space below is yours…
Thanks a lot! Hope to see you all soon!

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