Priest – Body Machine

A cyberpunk ode to the 80s

Priest - Body Machine

Album facts

Release Date: July 15th, 2022
Label: Cleopatra Records
Genre: , , , ,
Discogs: Priest – Body Machine
Partially sounds like: Depeche Mode, And One, Pet Shop Boys, Bomb The Bass, S‑Express, Hot Chocolate
Final score: 4.3 stars
Matching album cliches: 1 / 7

"What's a long time com­ing is finally good", or so a German say­ing goes. I was sur­prised at the begin­ning of 2021 when the band had already announced their third album 'Body Machine'. And that was only a few months after the release of the second album 'Cyberhead' and I still thought: "Wow, what a pace of work!". But then there were always post­pone­ments and the album kept on wait­ing. But that's com­plain­ing on a very, very high level. Now It's only been 1 1/2 years since the last album release. Respect!

To keep the mean­time bear­able for the fans, the band released sev­er­al singles/experiments (Pusher, Orange Forest, Lonely Mansion and Let Your Body Go). At least for the single 'Let Your Body Go' I would have liked a inclu­sion on 'Body Machine'. Unfortunately, that didn't hap­pen, so here we focus on the reg­u­lar 10 new stu­dio songs of 'Priest'.

Big references to 'Depeche Mode'

The open­er 'A Signal In The Noise' was the first single release from the album 'Body Machine' and was released in December 2021. 'A Signal In The Noise' is not exactly what I would call a typ­ic­al album open­er. It's not a club banger and I don't think it will be the big anthem live either. The song is quiet, pro­found and extremely mel­an­chol­ic. I draw a par­al­lel to the open­er 'Heaven' on the Depeche Mode album 'Delta Machine'. Releasing a bal­lad as the first single is a brave decision. I love the song 'A Signal In The Noise' and think that 'Priest' has made a good choice here.

With indus­tri­al machine sounds, 'Priest' con­tin­ues the album 'Body Machine' with the song 'Ghost Writer'. This song is rather some­thing for the dance floor! With an EBM beat almost suit­able for stomp­ing, you can march nicely in a square. Some subtly used sounds and effects remind me of the 80s clas­sic 'Master And Servant' by 'Depeche Mode'. More machine samples were used here, but the cold ton­al­ity is more or less comparable.

Priest (Promo photo 2022)
Priest (Promo photo 2022)

'Hell Awaits' starts like a typ­ic­al 80s New Beat / Acid House song like 'Bomb The Bass' or 'S‑Express'. For all of you who are read­ing this and have no idea what the hell I'm talk­ing about, just read the art­icle 'A flash­back to New Beat'. Especially the voice samples used ref­er­ence this 80s era. Now don't pan­ic! The song still has enough Priest DNA left to be per­ceived as such. The bass­line is so groovy that I want to dance to it right away. The tempo is some­where in the midtempo range, but the crisp sounds and dynam­ics make it feel faster. Hell of a song!

They call it reason
They call it norm
The charge is treason
If you won’t conform
Lyrics from ‘Hell Awaits’ by ‘Priest’

Catchy industrial cyber sex – The middle part of the album

The mel­an­chol­ic and super catchy synth pop song 'Phantom Pain' goes deep into the aud­it­ory canal from the first second. The extremely melod­ic chor­us has a touch of the 'And One' clas­sic 'Dancing In The Factory'. But much, much dark­er and with more ser­i­ous­ness. The song is not light fare, but it is a fant­ast­ic change on the album 'Body Machine'.

The song 'Blacklisted' is a lot harder sound­ing than the pre­vi­ous ones. I would almost cat­egor­ise the song as indus­tri­al. Cold hard sounds, a bit bulky in the song struc­ture, but still a good song. I still needed a few attempts to get into it.

'Perfect Boys Machine' sounds like we have found an awe­some lost song from the 80s. The fast vocals alone, with a com­pletely dif­fer­ent key, make the song seem almost like a for­eign body on the album. The song def­in­itely stands out from the album. 'Perfect Body Machine' has the funky atti­tude of a 'Hot Chocolate' song and the vibes of an 80s pop song. The sexu­al ref­er­ences in the lyr­ics could be a little more subtle, but I have to admit that I like the meta­phors used. Above all, it's the groove and the har­mony of the words that mat­ter. So keep up the rhythm!

Your very own bion­ic Don Juan
And keeps you in the groove
While you’re on the hook
Lyrics from ‘Perfect Body Machine’ by ‘Priest’

'Techno Girl' is the second single release of 'Body Machine'. Lyrically, the song is a declar­a­tion of love to 'Cyberpunk 2077'. The beat is driv­ing and here a little more EBM comes to the sur­face again. With a lot of pres­sure and a con­tinu­ous beat, the song is pre­destined to fill the dance floors in the clubs. The subtly used and som­brely tuned gui­tars provide the neces­sary depth and warmth in the elec­tron­ic sound construct.

The brightest darkness awaits you at the end

When I first read the track list, I mis­read the song 'Crystalline Lace' and read 'Crystal Lake' instead. For all of you who are not so deep in the his­tory of 80s hor­ror films, Jason Voorhees from the film 'Friday the 13th' com­mit­ted his murders in Camp Crystal Lake. And now it's get­ting really creepy! As I listened to the song for the first time, I imme­di­ately think: "That sounds like a typ­ic­al 80s hor­ror movie song.". I don't know if it's a coin­cid­ence that my read­ing mani­fes­ted itself in my brain or if there's some­thing more behind it.

My inner ques­tion after the first few seconds of 'Nightcrawler': "Is this a 90s techno anthem?". The first drop on the bass­line calms me down a bit. By the time the first chor­us comes in, I'm already on fire for the track. The song is super catchy and almost tends towards elec­tro pop. For me, the song is one of the high­lights on the album 'Body Machine'. It's really such a super weird but fant­ast­ic mix­ture of this hyped piano techno bridges and super melod­ic and soft Top10 elec­tro pop sound. Kind of totally sick, but it works.

The mood of the song 'Keep On Burning' can best be described with the sum­mer hits and the asso­ci­ated life­style of the 'Pet Shop Boys' of the early 90s. I mean songs like 'Being Boring', "I'm Not Scared" or 'Domino Dancing'. Now the song isn't dir­ectly com­par­able to those hits, but 'Keep On Burning' gives me that vibe and nos­tal­gic feel­ing. The text also exudes this youth­ful naiv­ety that touches me so hap­pily that my eyes get wet and my heart sings along. Thank you for this great song.

Cause I belong
In your heartbeat
Dancing in neon lights
Lyrics from ‘Perfect Body Machine’ by ‘Priest’

'Body Machine' is essential for every synth pop collection.

To keep it short: 'Body Machine' is a must-buy and that without any argu­ment! The phys­ic­al album also con­tains the bonus track 'She's Already A Queen', which I unfor­tu­nately didn't have with my promo copy. I am look­ing for­ward to the Priest album 'Body Machine' like a little child to Christmas.

I also hope that the title of the last song 'Keep It Burning' sym­bol­ises that Priest (in whatever con­stel­la­tion) will con­tin­ue to pro­duce such music­al gems in the future. Thank you very much for con­nect­ing the synth roots with new influ­ences and breath life into this genre.

Track by track rating for: Priest – Body Machine

Priest - Body Machine
Priest – Body Machine
A Signal In The Noise
Ghost Writer
Hell Awaits
Phantom Pain
Perfect Body Machine
Techno Girl
Crystalline Lace
Keep On Burning
A Signal In The Noise
Perfect Body Machine
Keep On Burning

Typical album cliché list for: Priest – Body Machine