There are many names one could call good ole Grier. Some are four-letter words, others are adolescent guesses at my initials, and the last is whatever insult gets administered by the gorilla at the AMG wheel. All are hurtful and unnecessary (you sonsabitches). So much so that I continue to contemplate the installation of a safe place at the AMG Southwest offices. But, not one of you rat bastards would dare say Grier was afraid of a challenge—no matter how fucking weird an album may be. I desire boundary-pushing outfits (errrr… unless it’s prog), I desire something unique and entertaining, and I crave something good, bad, and ugly. I rate low and hate high, I’m always unpleased and unsatisfied, and I have the tendency to review shit that no one wants. You know, like Fozzy and Wintersun. And you know the worst part about it? No matter how bad or ugly it gets, I hate to admit I kinda enjoy it. But, who in their right mind would grab the debut record from Priest—a band consisting of ex-Ghosts and as far back in leftfield as one can get? But, like that other Swedish band, they’re about as retro ’80s as it gets. It’s just that they play… ummm… synth-pop…

OK, I know what you’re thinking, but all the wtf’s in the world ain’t gettin’ you out of this one. You have to hear it. Combining Britain’s New Romantics era with synthy-pop elements (Eurythmics and Depeche Mode) and brooding darkwave influences (The Sisters of Mercy), Priest delivers something between a ’80s chick flick soundtrack and a black-leather sex dream. Now, take that wet dream and coat it in the band members’ deep-seated hate (well, as far as I can tell) for their previous band. “The Pit” and “History in Black,” in particular, seem to hint at some discontent and revel in the freedom attained from their escape. As you contemplate these insider tidbits, this retro-styled record will suck you in and remind you why you hate your parents for conceiving you in the ’80s. And, if you were fortunate enough to avoid that period of pop-music history, let New Flesh be your crash course in the shit that made the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. Also… fuck you for being so lucky1.

But for all the jibes, opener “The Pit” is one synthy, high-energy piece, with an addictive chorus. Sure, that one sentence may be the coffin nail Steel drives through my metal testicles, but that doesn’t make “The Pit” any less fun. Well, that’s if you can find any “fun” in this musical genre. If the catchy verse-chorus-verse-chorus, followed by building a transition-to-massive chorus, doesn’t do anything for you (even a little bit), then you might as well give up on New Flesh. And, if you didn’t like “The Pit,” then the moody (and possibly anti-Ghost) “History of Black,” the Kraftwerk-meets-Eurythmics “The Cross,” and the sweet-and-calm “Virus” will most likely piss you off even more. But, for those that have that ’80s blood soaring through your veins (even if you deny it), will find something “fun” in these four tracks.

Other than these four songs, there’s not much else here that really grabs me. “Vaudeville” and “Private Eye” are next-tier material (if there was ever a top tier), but they’re just a notch above unforgettable. While songs like “Populist” and “Nightmare Hotel” go nowhere. But the worst tracks on the album have to be the two closing pieces. Though there’s nothing perfect about this album, it’s stronger in the front than the back. And it’s mostly these two back-to-back ditties (“Call My Name” and “Reloader”) that cause this problem. They are both brooding pieces that try to be another “History in Black,” but are only memorable for their whiny vocals and absurd video game effects. For the most part, the album has a fun, upbeat, ’80s retro vibe, but these two pieces kill it at the end.

That said, I suspect 95% of our readers are gonna hate the shit out of this thing. And we all know there isn’t a stronger word than “hate.” But, for those of you that aren’t the biggest fans of Ghost and want to see what their ex-bandmates are up to, this is one helluva coin-flip to Sweden’s beloved Scooby Doo sound. Love it or hate it, New Flesh is a game designed to fuck with you. And, boy, has it fucked with me. While it’s definitely not my favorite album, by any means, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little “fun.”


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Lövely Records
Websites: facebook.com/priestofficial
Releases Worldwide: November 17th, 2017

Show 1 footnote

  1. You were merely adopted in the 80s. I was raised in it, molded by it. – Steel Relic
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  • Hotshotbolt

    If it looks like shit, smells like shit, sounds like shit, chances are it is shit.

  • AndySynn

    Oh man, I haven’t seen Speedball in ages… I wondered what he was up to these days.

  • foreverAlfon

    This sounds like if Depeche Mode made a party and invited Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga and Eurythmics. Its hideous, but fun indeed.

    • GrumpDumpus

      THAT SCENE TRANSITION SOUND FROM LAW AND ORDER ALSO MAKES A TIMELY APPEARANCE

    • ssorg

      Lady Gaga reject 45s played at 33 1/3

  • Matthew

    Literally like 60 seconds into the embedded song, ‘nope’ and closed it. God that was fucking dreadful.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    SCOOBYGAZE

  • Jim Bob

    Something about the embedded track is just hilarious to me, though that’s probably not what they were going for

  • Wake up the Gimp!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Send in the Clowns!

    • Name’s Dalton

      Where’s Zed when you really need him?

  • Grymm

    …that’s a kinky no-horned unicorn.

    • Counterpoint: that’s a polycorn!

      • It’s Pincorn.

        • IBlackened

          And he would say: “your suffering will be legendary, even in hell”, while forcing me to listen to this album.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      It’s an innovative way to cover up male pattern baldness.

  • GardensTale

    I guess they’re suing Tobias Forge for keeping all the talent for himself.

    • mindbleach

      On the plus side, maybe this means the next Ghost album will still be good.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Dang…..I’m conflicted.
    I’m an 80’s fan boy and all the right names were dropped…..why can’t life be EASY!!

  • Seeing Kraftwerk and The Sisters of Mercy being named on AMG made me listen to the embedded track. Can’t say I don’t think I could have spent my time better.

    • GrumpDumpus

      CAN’T SAY I DON’T THINK I COULD UNDERSTAND THAT SENTENCE AT ALL

      • EDITED. BETTER NOW?
        Commenting turned into a peer review process, it doesn’t get better than that.

        • Jon Hartley

          Wait…I’m reading the edited version? Wow.

  • hallowed

    There is only one Priest. And this ain’t it.

    • Zach Ward

      I personally feel like Judas priest (who I’m sure you’re referring to) is the most overrated metal band ever. I don’t enjoy a single song by em. They r rubbish

      • Septic

        So…How do you really feel about Judas Priest? Don’t hold back…

        edit: I never cared for them either

        • Zach Ward

          Okey dokey…

          I feel as if Judas priest hasent written anything worthwhile in their entire careers and the fact that they are praised as gods of metal is an insult to even the most mundane, and worthless bands. When I would rather listen to bands that produce shitty pandering metalcore than the so called Gods there must be a problem, and it ain’t my taste, it’s just how shit they are. Rubbish I say….. Rubbish.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            I never really got into JP either. I can’t say I hate them; they just don’t do much for me. I admire your honesty. I’ll give back some honesty of my own in regards to another band: while I like Iron Maiden, I don’t think much of Bruce’s singing. He sings with passion, but his voice is weak and strained to my ears. I much prefer Blaze’s work during his short stint with IM (covers head and runs for cover). Anyway, just my opinion. I’ve always wanted to say that here, but was worried about doing so.

          • Same here…almost. I really like Painkiller, but all other Priest records I listened to didn’t make much of an impression.

          • Iain Gleasure

            Fire up the torches and sharpen the pitchforks. It’s time for a lynch mob on the Goat.

          • Holy shit. I actually really enjoy the Blaze years; thank you for being honest!

            I really like Bruce but I appreciate Blaze more. I don’t think he’s technically the better singer but I do like him more. For the record, Maiden is my favorite band. Additionally, neither Blaze record is my favorite Maiden album. Still and all, he is my favorite singer (so sue me). I felt like a teenage girl when I met him earlier this year. I probably made an ass of myself but he was definitely kind to me.

            I am not a big Judas Priest fan. I do like some of their stuff but agree that they’re overrated. I always tried to love them because I thought that there must be a reason why so many people enjoy them so much and I must be ignorant for not feeling the same. At the end of the day, we like the music we like, and fuck anyone who tells us our taste sucks just because we disagree.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Great response, and thanks for your honesty too! That must have been something to meet a metal legend like that.

            I love my growlers and snarlers, but, when it comes to the classic metal sound, I do like a strong, full voice that really soars. Riot’s Tony Moore and, more recently, Enforcer’s Olof Wikstrand come to mind.

            And Maiden definitely continues to tower above our beloved world of metal, their music the plinth upon which so many bands construct their sound.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        Ooh, don’t scorch yourself on that hot take there.

      • Planex

        HE

        IS

        THE

        PAINKILLER

        • Zach Ward

          Not even good when death covered it… Rubbish/5

          • Planex

            I’ve never seen such bad taste in my life.

          • Zach Ward

            I have great taste. I think you lad, are the one with poor taste for enjoying such rubbish. But like the wise Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra told me earlier, “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” Wise indeed… Very wise.

          • Planex

            My opinions are objective fact and ur opinions are bad and u should feel bad

          • Zach Ward

            I have no response. I am defeated :(

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            In all honesty, I can´t even begin to fathom why anyone who likes Metal wouldn´t like Judas Priest. But hey, thanks for calling me wise!

      • You got another thing coming…

      • BaboonKing

        I don’t care much for Priest myself, but I can clearly see why they are so widely respected an influential.

        Having said that: The Sentinel is awesome.

        • The Sentinel is quite possibly one of the greatest heavy metal songs ever put to tape.

          • I once covered it as a semi acoustic version and rewrote the lyrics for the best man’s speech at my buddy’s wedding. It brought the house down but they are divorced now.

          • I wish I could’ve heard that haha.

      • Gage

        They might be overrated… but if you can’t find a single song on Painkiller or Sad Wings of Destiny that you like then I’m afraid I must diagnose you with having awful taste in music.

        • Zach Ward

          It’s not my taste, it’s that’s those albums are simply rubbish.

        • Bryan Stroup

          The title track of Painkiller is one of the best metal songs of all time.

      • aelena74

        leave the hall

  • Dethjesta

    I’m confused. I’m under the impression that AMG only review albums which they are sent promos. Which PR company thought that sending this to a group of angry metal reviewers was appropriate? Seems like lazy PR work to me, as though they selected the ‘All’ distribution list and just hit send.

    As for Priest….. think I’m gonna need to listen to some atonal black metal to cleanse myself from the embedded track. Nice write up though.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Holy shit, I almost forgot I wrote this thing. And now that it’s up, I feel really dirty…

    • Thatguy

      And so you should.

    • Tofu muncher

      Hit the shower, you.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Always unpleased and unsatisfied? Can you explain the obsessive King Diamond love then?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      True. Only satisfied with KD and MF. I stand corrected.

  • Me

    I’m so eager for your reviews of Cavalera Conspiracy and new Morbid Angel. :)

  • Wilhelm

    Not as bad as people are claiming but not great either. The Sado gimmick is an immediate turn off. If they were to do a true minimalist electro concept album about machines taking over while dressed as robots, that would be cool. Until then, I’m with Papa.

  • I like me some 80’s and I really enjoy Ghost but the embedded track didn’t really grab me. I guess I’ll try again when I get back home after work but when I saw retro-80’s synth-pop I got excited and so it was a pretty big disappointment.

    • Second time through and listening to the full album I think I like this a lot more than I did this morning. I still don’t like it as much as Ah-Ha or Ghost but I definitely am not feeling as disappointed. I would listen to it and memorize the rhythms, melodies, and lyrics. Is it something that will change my musical listening habits? No, probably not. However, it is worth the time to give it a chance.

  • This lacks a certain…goodness.

    • Here’s Johnny

      You mean it is bollocks.

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    The embedded track sucks. I have a deep affection for the 80’s and DM crafted some moody classics in their time. These guys missed the point.

    80’s album of 2017 definitely goes to Ulver. They nailed it, giant quiff ‘n all.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Ulver is king of that shit.

  • Tom Wahl

    I love good synth-pop! This isn’t it. Back to Future Islands.

  • One More Thing

    Your reviews are always a good read, doc. You’re right up there with Kronos and Grymm in my book. Still hesitant to give this a shot though. What if something bad happens?

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Im surprised Steel hasn’t deleted or edited this comment…

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Yeah, I keep waiting for that…

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I appreciate it! What great company to share! Just know that something is wrong with me, so I would approach this with caution…

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Just close your eyes and think of Jørn.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Thanks Dr G, very funny review I thought you were going to give it a higher score. Priest is a pretty great and very cheeky band name for an 80s retro outfit who exploit metal imagery and vibes. In fact they had me interested once I saw the name will check this out.

  • Here’s Johnny

    There is only one priest and he is a Judas.

  • This one sounds pretty basic and disappointing next to the other 80’s influenced pop record of this year: the incredible Ulver’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, Ulver’s newest kills it.

  • Great to hear new music from TISM.

  • Mollusc

    In the words of Annie Lennox: “bad dreams are made of cheese”.

  • sir_c

    It’s not so goth like Depeche Mode or the Sisters of Mercy do and it is not so harsh like Velvet Acid Christ or Grendel do. So I think it is a bit dull.

  • Tofu muncher

    Depeche Mode’s 2017 album is good. This is not.

  • Norpal Nordickson

    Hot take: This is, if not better, then at least more interesting than Ghost.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Metal cred be damned.
    I’m a huge synthpop fan and this album sounds awesome.
    Add a retro section to AMG and I’d say thank ya.

  • Bryan Stroup

    Instead of Blue Oyster Cult, they decided to ape Depeche Mode. And Cher.

  • Başak Günel

    Correction: Priest consists of 3 guys and only one of them is an ex-Ghost member and he is not in the band since… 2015 ;) so no, he is not in the lawsuit.
    Band’s connection to Ghost comes mainly from Alpha, who produced the album. Alpha is not a band member, he only produced the record and contributed to a few songs. That’s it. Air also contributed as a session musician in Virus but that’s it. The original line-up has little to do with Ghost but yeah, there is salt and there is a bit of hate because of the whole lawsuit so they are using Ghost’s name just like Henrik Palm (Era 3 Water, Aether) and Martin Persner (Omega). So there is nothing wrong with that… and tbh, if Tobias Forge compares Ghost with Bathory (Ghost was NOT a one-man project..ugh) then the others can use Ghost’s name as well.

    Whether one loves or hates the record is up to that person, I just wanted to do a correction :)