“Pile of Priests”

By Dr. Abner Mality

PILE OF PRIESTS is a rough name for a band. I was expecting gut-munching brutal death metal or maybe church-burning war metal from a bunch with such a blasphemous name. Well, PILE OF PRIESTS is indeed pretty heavy, but they are a surprisingly melodic and technical brand of death metal that is closer to INTO ETERNITY than DEVOURMENT.

The Denver bunch is unafraid to dip their toes into lighter moments. The album starts with a somber piano “Intro”, dabbles with clean female vocals on “Conjunction of Souls” and “The Restitution” and even sports a more restrained, faintly jazzy instrumental “The Threshold”. That might leave you thinking that POP (can’t resist using that rather ironic acronym) are wimps at heart. Take heart, “The Aversion” hits with a hammer blow, including the grinding death vocals of Evan Salvador, who sounds a bit like PARADISE LOST’s Nick Holmes. The band’s death metal is catchy and even elegant at times without losing its underground crunch. The only song where I thought they went overboard with melody is the concluding “The Restitution”, where female vocals and Gothic touches make it sound closer to “opera metal” bands.

This isn’t a bad offering at all if you like progressive-tinged death metal, but you might be disappointed if you’re looking for the second coming of INCANTATION.