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Music Review: Priestbird – In Your Time

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Priestbird is a New York City band formerly known as Tarantula A.D. In Your Time, the band's debut album, is a concept-y musical mishmash loosely straddling the Hard Rock, Metal and Progressive rock genres.

Employing a laundry list of instruments in their songs – their website background photo includes a bandanna’d dude stone-cold jammin’ on what appears to be a cello(!) – the band has drawn on some of the more far-reaching musical elements from their named influences of Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. Great bands to ape, if you ask me. I kid, but For Those About to Rock, be forewarned: “Hand that Draws” asks you to wade your way through three and a half minutes of piano balladry before the Led Zep stompage begins. You can file the open-tuned finger-pickery of “Jackyl” under Led Zeppelin D-sides as well.

“Season of the Sun” has a Dark Side of the Moon flavor to it, the taste of which may vary based on your palette and your stomach’s sensitivity to pretentiousness. “Smoke & Pain” kicks in with a maximum dosage of “Electric Funeral” dirge riff-age. Not original territory to be sure, but there’s a certain appeal to the delivery that makes the song as unique as it can be, although the drums sound like they were played on cardboard boxes.

However, Priestbird does have more originality to offer than a similar band, Citay, you just have to be able to recognize it. A familiarity with the back catalogue of the many forefathers of Hard Rock/Metal helps. However, In Your Time does suffer from the all-too-familiar seriousness that plagues so many bands attempting to “break new ground” in that realm. And it is because of this self-seriousness that bands like Priestbird are for the casual listener so hard to take seriously.

The far-ranging genre has always treaded the fine line of self-parody, and bands that blur this line like Rob Crow’s oh-so-cleverly-named Goblincock certainly don’t make it any easier to draw conclusions about the sincerity of the music. As a fan of sludgy rock, the question I seem to encounter the most is: why do people continue to re-hash Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Sir Lord Baltimore? (As if the genre was somehow perfected in its infancy.) My answer is usually this: The music is fun to listen to and it’s fun as hell to make. Priestbird is no exception (to the listening part).

In general, In Your Time is effective at being just what it is: old school Hard Rock, deeply rooted in the tradition of the original masters Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Priestbird wears their influences on their collective sleeve and if you like any of those aforementioned bands, and feel that it’s worthwhile to expand on their music (which I certainly do), then I would say give this a spin. If you think that Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin songs should be played only by those particular bands in their heyday, then move on, ya cursed musi-tanical purist!

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