|Priestess was formed in 2003. Mikey Heppner was playing with The Dropouts at the time when three of its members headed to New York to form The Stills. Left on his own, Heppner formed a new band in the form of Priestess. In 2005, the band released their debut album, Hello Master. The release was issued via Indica in Canada and on Ace Fu in the U.S. A major-label recording contract with RCA followed in January 2006. North American tour dates opening for Dinosaur Jr. followed that spring. Priestess also toured with The Sword, Early Man and Diamond Nights in the spring of 2006.
A remastered version of Hello Master arrived in June, and additional shows with the Riverboat Gamblers and the Bronx coincided with its release. Upon the album's re-release, tracks such as "Talk to Her" and "Lay Down" also began finding airplay on mainstream rock satellite stations such as Octane and Ink'd. On October 27, 2006, Priestess joined Black Label Society and Black Stone Cherry's already-in-progress tour which lasted until mid-December. Priestess toured with Converge and Mastodon from January 26 - February 17, 2007. The band toured Europe for their first time ever with thrash metal pioneers Megadeth as a part of their "Tour Of Duty" tour in June of 2007.
Priestess was joined by Murder By Death and Clutch on their North American 2007-2008 tour.
Priestess toured with GWAR and Cattle Decapitation in early 2009.
The band made more than one attempt at recording Prior to the Fire; the first failed and lost them a lot of time. When it was finally done, however, RCA was unwilling to release the new album and their originally slated early 2009 release date was missed completely. RCA ultimately let them go when the band made it clear that they would not alter the album further (RCA was waiting for what the company hoped would be a hit single), but the group were allowed to take the new album in its current state with them to a new label. That label was TeePee Records, and the album was released in October 2009 in Canada and in early February of the following year in the United States.
In support of the Canadian release, the band toured with Early Man and Trigger Effect in Canada and the US, and for the international release, with Bigelf in Europe and High on Fire in the US.