Wednesday, March 09, 2016

N.W.O.B.H.M. Wednesday: Salem-Dark Days

Pure Steel Records

Regular visitors to Heavy Metal Time Machine should know that I am a long-time fan of the British metal band Salem. It was back in late November of 2011 that I covered this group's superb 2010 compilation, "In The Beginning...", and I followed that review up with write-ups of the 2013 EP, "X-Rated" and the group's last full-length album, "Forgotten Dreams". I've even had the honor of interviewing this legendary N.W.O.B.H.M. band so when I first heard about their brand new 11-track album here I was stoked! I'm here to today to lay down some cold hard truth for fans of Salem and that is as follows. With a due date of April 29th, "Dark Days" is not only a proper follow-up to Salem's 2013 disc "Forgotten Dreams", but it is easily  the best thing that this British band has ever laid to tape! Hell, "Dark Days" might just end up being one of my favorite hard rock/heavy metal albums of the year if not my undisputed number one!! Opening by way of the catchy-as-hell hard rocker, "Not Guilty" (Man alive I love this sick number with it's perfect mixture of  melody and metal madness!), "Dark Days" finds lead singer Simon Saxby (ex-Deep Fix) in top form and as these 11 tracks unfold he makes the case for being one of N.W.O.B.H.M.'s most underrated front man! Simon's not the only member of Salem to shine on "Dark Days" though. In fact he's just one key piece of the overall puzzle that is Salem the cult N.W.O.B.H.M. band. Guitarist Paul Macnamara and his brother in arms, Mark Allison, weave a deeply magical spell when it comes to Salem's new masterpiece. From the heavy rock/hard rock of "Not Guilty" all the way through to the powerhouse rocker "Tank"* that closes things out the technical guitar work on Salem's new album is nothing short of exquisite! The lead guitar solos are so good in fact that I found myself getting lost in the moment on more than one occasion!! Phrases like smoking hot and words like wizardly immediately spring to mind when you're talking about the six-string majesty that is Paul Macnamara & Mark Allison work on "Dark Days"! And how about the rhythm section of Salem? Can we just stop and have a little chat about bassist Adrian Jenkinson and drummer Paul Mendham (Innersylum, ex-Infobia, ex-Outland, ex-Q, ex-Rise, ex-The Hidden) for a moment? This pair adds the explanation point (!) to red hot British metal thanks to musicianship that is second to none! With the added benefit that comes from solid gold bass lines and impact is immediate drumming a band like Salem zips their merry way WAY past good hard rock/heavy metal and into the realms of the almighty epic!! Collectively-speaking, Salem is comprised of five top-tier musicians who have obviously taken the time to craft one of 2016's finest records. While I could work my way through each and every number on "Dark Days" let's just settle things right now and just say that they are ALL gems! In conclusion I'd just like you to take a moment and close your eyes for second. Now try to imagine a perfect hard & heavy platter where the likes of AC/DC, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Diamond Head, Fifth Angel, Gillian, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Maineeaxe, More (N.W.O.B.H.M. band), Praying Mantis, Rainbow, Saxon, the Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, TKO, UFO, Van Halen, and Wild Spirit all come together for the sole purpose of creating long-lasting & highly- memorable music that is as catchy as it is clever. Add in the sound and style that is all Salem and Salem alone and you're talking about the greatest that is "Dark Days"! My friends it simply does not get better than this...

"Tank"* features a collaboration with former Nazareth guitarist Manny Charlton! 

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