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Salem UK - Win Lose or Draw

Salem UK
Win Lose or Draw
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 19 December 2019, 5:09 AM

In NWOBHM times, many musical subgenres were incorporated to it, and bands that haven’t that same trademark sound were then seen as a part of that musical movement. Many bands with a traditional Hard Rock sound were labeled as NWOBHM bands, maybe a strategy to be heard by the fans. That’s the case of SALEM, because the music that is heard on “Win Lose or Draw” does not fit on such label. Their music is a melodic and tender form of classic Hard Rock, something that is between what was done back in the 70’s with melodic charming insight of the 80's, catchy choruses, a very good dose of musical weight, and they using a modern (outfit). Of course that their musical work has a NWOBHM feeling permeating the songs, but “Win Lose or Draw” isn’t near of traditional Heavy Metal to cause confusion.

The sound quality of the album is in a very good level, balancing the needed clarity with a good dose of aggressiveness and a touch of roughness (that little bit that every Rock album must bear). But there’s a worry of making the songs sound modern for one side, but bearing an organic feeling for the other, and the things were balanced in a way that the aim for the sonority was reached. The heavy melodic weight of “The Wraith” (modern guitar riffs and charming chorus) and of “Betrayed” (very good vocals, indeed), the melodic impact of “Win Lose or Draw” (in some moments, some musical arrangements really remember some elements of NWOBHM, and there are very good parts of bass guitar and drums on it), that strong weight allied with catchy melodies of the end of the 80’s heard on “Souls of Evermore” and on “Victorious”, and the mix between NWOBHM melodic elements with a modern weight of “Censored” are the best ones for a first time on their work.

Maybe “Win Lose or Draw” can’t be said as the most original work of all times, but it’s an honest release, and proof that SALEM still has a lot of to say and to offer.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Wraith
2. Betrayed
3. Circumstances Change
4. Win Lose or Draw
5. Souls of Evermore
6. Blind
7. Sentinel
8. Censored
9. Victorious
10. Queen Serene
Simon Saxby - Vocals
Francis Gill - Guitars
Adrian Jenkinson - Bass
Dave Megginson - Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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