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Complete Mastery of Dynamics - 90%

FullMetalAttorney, December 22nd, 2010

Salome is a band which writes their sludge/doom with a very minimalistic approach. Simplicity is, of course, a hallmark of all doom metal, but they take it to extremes.

The riffs are just about as heavy as anything else out there (perhaps even the equal of Electric Wizard), and generally as slow as anything but funeral doom (although they go funereal a la Corrupted on "Epidemic"). The drums, too, are simple and slow, but the beat is kept perfectly, something that's more difficult to do at a slow tempo. The vocals are both strained screeches and very deep, slow death growls. Katherine Katz has informed me she does ALL the vocals--those are crazy low for a woman to be doing! Sometimes both vocal styles are present at the same time. There is no bass.

It sounds like it should be too simple to work, but for their absolute mastery of dynamics. They have a completely organic, unprocessed sound. It's incredibly sludgy, and they always make room for feedback to ring out, sometimes accompanied by sound effects. In fact, the 17 minute "An Accident of History" is driven almost entirely by feedback, with a few notes barely creeping into the song well after the five minute mark.

There are brief sections of faster tempo and the occasional guitar lead (see "Master Failure"), but mostly, this is sparse riffing and screeching. And every second of it is worth listening to. No matter how many times they play a riff (and they never overdo it), it sounds different each and every time.

The Verdict: Somehow Salome manage to make listening to feedback enjoyable, even to someone completely sober. Maybe it's because the riffs are worth waiting for, or maybe it's because they know how to manipulate the feedback in interesting ways. Maybe both. I recommend listening to it on some headphones with killer bass.