There’s a history to Priest that I admit I was unaware of. Formed in 2015, the band features former members of arena headlining Ghost but play a completely different style of music. With two albums already released Body Machine marks their third full-length release and it’s one for fans of dark synthwave rather than those yearning for the popular commercial riff of their former hosts.
By all accounts, Body Machine moves to a darker realm than their previous releases. I’ve not had the time to quantify that, but the influences of such legends as Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and Kraftwerk are all evident in an album that brings a different style to that which many who are fans of Ghost will be familiar. Instead, you’ll experience 35 minutes of industrial stomp, samples, and synthesisers that is catchier than Covid in a care home, all with a sinister edge that is likely to contain the crossover appeal that makes Depeche Mode a less than guilty pleasure for many who like their metal hard and heavy.
Having signed for Cleopatra Records, Priest, who comprise vocalist Mercury, programmer/keyboardist Sulfur and keyboardist Salt, have delivered a sonically charged soundscape that is captivating, enchanting and intriguing in equal measure. Move past the ludicrous S&M outfits and you’ll discover that the first three tracks bring three different styles. “A Signal in the Noise” opens the album, with a brooding, melancholic beat that maintains a low temperature, albeit Mercury brings a sinister vocal delivery. The thud of programming ala Kraftwerk is perhaps inevitable, but the change of tone certainly makes you sit up. And then we get to the faster, driven, “Hell Awaits”, with an iconic pulse that brings with it clips of evangelical preachers.
As Body Machine develops, there is much to be interested in. The deep, resonant vocals and the relentless driving programming is addictive, ideal for driving along to as well as descending into hell for a night of hedonistic chaos. Tracks like the catchy “Blacklisted” and pulsating “Techno Girl” work hard, grab the attention and then refuse to release. “Crystalline Lace” moves to a different pace whilst “Nightcrawler” brings a bit more 80s pop sensibility to the table.
Overall, this is an album that should appeal to not only fans of the synthwave that Priest manages to deliver with a quality that impresses, but also to those looking for a bit more diversity to their usual metal staples. It’s certainly an interesting release that is worth a listen.
Body Machine is out on July 15th