Priestess, ‘Prior to the Fire’ (Tee Pee)
After 2006’s acclaimed debut, Hello Master, this Montreal metal foursome had to cut through a mass of red tape before Fire, their long-gestating follow-up, could get a U.S. release date. Someone should be fired for the delay, because this baby burns. Whether it’s galloping epics (“The Gem”) or thrashy revenge fantasies (“Ladykiller”), the band proves awesomely adeptat casting a multitude of dark spells. But singer- guitarist Mikey Heppner is also tough enough to let rays of melody shine through the gloom (“Sideways Attack”).