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Salem - In The Beginning…

In The Beginning…
by Grigoris Chronis at 20 June 2010, 9:06 AM

SALEM’s “Cold As Steel” scarce vinyl single was released in 1982 via he obscure Hilton Records (yeap, if it was the Hilton you imagine the band would still be selling arenas 28 years later…) and is one of rarest but also most essential single releases of the whole New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement. As said in previous reviews of the genre again, it was a tradition but also a first move into the music business for a British band at the time to release a series of demos and a vinyl 7” single at first, heading out to the first level of recognition and/or approval. IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, DEMON and tons of other bands headed the same way, let’s remember.

This is a remastered anthology of the Hull-based band. Consisting of (nearly or virtually) everything the band ever put on vinyl or tape, “In The Beginning…” clocks to 85 minutes of mostly melodic, mystical, epic, Rock-influenced British traditional Metal fans of this colossal genre will surely enjoy; it’s no wonder premier labels like Pure Steel Records, High Roller Records or Shadow Kingdom Records carry the torch of unveiling elusive but not forgotten Metal diamonds from the past and SALEM’s anthology is no exception.

Featuring two ETHEL THE FROG members in its early formation, SALEM proved to be really remarkable songwriters not willing to follow most of the straightforward hardrockin’ side of fellow NWOBHM bands but mainly focused on the mystic and heroic/epic/fantasy profile bands like TRAITORS GATE, WITCHFYNDE, SATANS EMPIRE, DARK STAR, RITUAL, JAMESON RAID, PAGAN ALTAR, BLITZKRIEG, SARACEN, ETHEL THE FROG, ARC, BLEAK HOUSE, TRIARCHY, INCUBUS and MARQUIS DE SADE also (more or less) flirted with. Drawing straight influence from classic 70s Rock bands like THIN LIZZY, WISHBONE ASH, RAINBOW, Rory Gallagher and LED ZEPPELIN, the music of SALEM surely leans a lot on the interesting rhythm and twin-leadguitar themes while there’s a variety in the tempos too. The vocals are quite vintage and bear melodies with harmony and a clear tendency to bring pictures of landscapes, castles, kings, forgotten times and such stuff to mind.

With three demos and one single release in their petite period of existence (1980 - 1983), SALEM was added to the pile of remarkable bands not making it to bigger markets, hence there’s quite a limited number of Metal fans (the older ones, of course) memorizing their contribution to the British Metal scene. I really hope this collection of songs will find enough admirers and SALEM’s name make some more faces beam to sanction.

4 Star Rating

  1. The Keeper Of The Keys: Introduction
  2. Hangmans Noose
  3. Cold As Steel
  4. Fool’s Gold
  5. Coming For You
  6. Make The Grade
  7. The Keeper Of The Keys trilogy: Part I - The Keeper, Part II - The Revenge, Part III - The King
  8. Reach For Eternity
  9. Make The Grade
  10. Save The Night
  11. Rock Fever
  12. Fool’s Gold
  13. Cold As Steel
  14. Coming For You
  15. Other Side Of Hell
  16. Fighting For The Cause
  17. Run For Your Life
Adrian Jenkinson - Bass
Paul Macnamara - Guitar
Mark Allison - Guitar
Paul Mendham - Drums
Simon Saxby - Vocals

Paul Tognola - Vocals, Guitar
Paul Conyers - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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Edited 04 April 2020

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