Until this past year, Priestbird was known as Tarantula A.D., but due to a legal battle with a Portuguese power-metal group, they were forced to make a name change. The story gets foggy here; some people say they actually broke up, then decided to get back together. The way the band's self-mythologizing Web site explains the name-change ordeal, it actually involved acid, mullets, miraculous visions and a healthy dose of artistic amnesia. Whichever story you subscribe to, they took the opportunity to expand both their style and sound. In the reconstructive process, they developed a drastically different clamor.
Tarantula A.D. were no slouches by any means. They opened for Pearl Jam on a brief European jaunt at the request of Stone Gossard and got plenty of attention from the indie press. Their debut album under the previous moniker was a mash-up between old-world instrumentation and surging sludge-riffs. Imagine a gang of battle-drunk gladiators fronting the Melvins, and you get the idea. Priestbird, in comparison, is almost poppy by indie-metal standards. The riffs are still present, but the vibe is now decidedly less primeval, and a sight more contemporary. They are touring behind their sophomore record, the approachable “In Your Time.” And they still do the arachnidan material live, if you long for the days of Tarantula A.D.
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