Dancey, dark and addictive: Review of Priest’s fourth studio album “Dark Pulse”

Author Stefanie Nysand - 12.6.2024

A little over a week ago, on 31 May 2024, Priest released their fourth studio album “Dark Pulse” via Blue Nine Records. Exactly two weeks before the release, the Swedish trio hosted a pre-release party in their hometown of Linköping where one could listen to “Dark Pulse” in its entirety, as “the first people in the world” to do so. I was among the attendees and thus got to know “Dark Pulse” in a very special setting, but that alone is not the reason why the record has been on heavy rotation ever since. Priest themselves describe “Dark Pulse” as “a bit more dancey and dark”, inspired by the nightlife of Berlin and dealing with topics such as addiction.

The album opens with “Burning Love” which was released in October 2023 as the first single from “Dark Pulse” – and rightly so! It’s an instant hit, very catchy and the perfect choice as the album’s opener. An equally perfect track for clubbing, “Burning Love” also makes me think of the Norwegian TV series “Exit”, in which four multimillionaires in the financial service sector indulge in a decadent and debauched lifestyle with lots of sex, drugs and violence. If “Burning Love” had been released a little earlier, it would have been a perfect fit for the series’ soundtrack. Just imagine one of those infamous party scenes, accompanied by “Burning Love“… Track number two, “Black Venom“, was released in April 2024 as the third single from “Dark Pulse”. It’s about addiction, and fittingly, you won’t forget its catchy beat after listening to “Black Venom” for the first time.

At the aforementioned pre-release party, “Demon’s Call” was the first real new song that the attendees got to hear, as it had not yet been released as a single or played live before. Unlike “Burning Love” and “Black Venom“, “Demon’s Call” is more Depeche Mode-esque synth-pop. The choice to release “Demon’s Call” as the fourth and current single from “Dark Pulse” on the day of the album’s release is therefore obvious, as it shows another musical facet of “Dark Pulse”. In terms of style, “Demon’s Call” is very reminiscent of “Keep On Burning” from Priest‘s previous studio album “Body Machine”. If you haven’t listened to “Demon’s Call” yet, you should probably save the corresponding music video until the second spin of the song: Verging on porn with a little bit of kinkiness, it doesn’t quite match the innocent sound of the song. We already know this approach from “Obey“, though.

With “Dungeon Dance“, we have another “dancing in the club” song. One that is fun and contains parts that almost border on hip hop. Yes, you read that right. At this point, it becomes clear that “Dark Pulse” is a very varied album and that Priest do not shy away from experiments. It is a quality that I really appreciate in musicians in general. I mean, who wants to be served slightly different versions of the same album over and over again? Without a doubt, “Dungeon Dance” would also be a great choice for a single release, just to showcase Priest‘s versatility to a larger audience.

The transition from “Dungeon Dance” to “Golden Gate” is pretty cool, and so is the song. “Dancey and dark” indeed, and with the “S-Bahn tracks”, there is even a lyrical reference to Germany’s capital Berlin (even though the hybrid urban-suburban rail system “S-Bahn” exists in most German-speaking countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland and thus also in other cities; the term “S-Bahn” originates from Berlin, though). When “Golden Gate” had its live premiere at the Priest concert in Sweden’s capital Stockholm in March 2024, vocalist Mercury described the track as “our dirtiest to date”. The following “Just A Game” had its live premiere at the same show and was released the same month as the album’s second single, but unlike the other singles, it had no music video. Now that I have the full album in my hands, I have to say that I am surprised by the choice to release “Just A Game” as a single. “Dark Pulse” has many highlights, but in my humble opinion, “Just A Game” is not one of them. Unlike the following track, “Your Devil“, which easily gets stuck in one’s head. Similar to “Demon’s Call“, “Your Devil” is inspired by the synth-heavy pop of the 1980s, just begging to be released as the next single, if Priest plan to release a fifth single.

There’s not much to say about “Enter Your Body” and “A Demonic Game“. For me, both belong in the same category as “Just A Game“. In other words, they are not highlights on an album that mostly consists of highlights. The album is concluded with the melancholic “Chaos Reigns“. It’s the perfect closing track that makes you feel like you’ve been partying all weekend, and now the party is over and you become wistful. Fortunately, the next party weekend in the form of “Dark Pulse” is just a press of the “repeat” button away.

With “Dark Pulse”, Priest deliver another strong album that will continue to expand their fan base. Even before I had heard the new album, I was of the opinion that Priest, with their continuity and quality so far, would one day be in the same league as Ghost (Vocalist Mercury, keyboardist Salt and the album’s producer Simon Söderberg were all active in Ghost), and “Dark Pulse” seems to be a confirmation of this assumption. As always, Priest deliver very catchy, almost poppy tunes. At the same time, they do not shy away from experiments, keeping everything exciting. Also in terms of lyrics, Priest have more to offer than many guitar-heavy bands, so that listeners are spared the usual clichés. Some Priest fans say that the band’s music is almost a genre of its own. They might be right. Another often-heard statement is “I normally only listen to guitar-heavy music, but Priest are an exception – and their music is addictive”. I can relate to that. An album that deals with topics like addiction and gets its fans hooked. Note the irony. As for describing Priest‘s sound, I will continue to use the label “dark 80s style synth-pop”, for the sake of simplicity, even though Priest are proving with “Dark Pulse” that they are so much more than that.


01 Burning Love
02 Black Venom
03 Demon’s Call
04 Dungeon Dance
05 Golden Gate
06 Just A Game
07 Your Devil
08 Enter Your Body
09 A Demonic Game
10 Chaos Reigns