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Salome. - 70%

Perplexed_Sjel, November 29th, 2008

As the year begins to draw to a close, I find myself complimenting it on its ability to provide us with some fine material. 2008 had been kind to doom metal, in particular and to Salome too. There are aspects of Salome that make me consider them to be slightly leaning towards the funeral doom sub-genre, especially the vocals which are provided by an accomplished female vocalist who goes by the name of Kat and has apparently featured on vocals for Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Her harsh breed of vocals will be well suited to this doom metal band as they tend to play towards the harshest varieties of doom, inducing slow melodies over long songs, particularly the last song which lasts over twenty minutes. America has been particularly kind to us avid doom fans, supplying us with no less than at least three or four of the year’s best records. This three piece band don’t figure in the year’s most sublime artists, or records, but this self-titled effort conveys the sense that Salome could possibly break into the top acts some time in the future if they are to expand upon this style of crushingly long doom songs with a funeral influence. The production adheres to this suspicion too. Although its clean, it allows the distortion to take over and dominate the proceedings with its crushing feel. The production is also quite eerie, which is definitely a trait that will suit the doom style that this band calls home.

‘Salome’ is typical in some senses, but like bands such as Dusk (also American) and Disembowelment (Australian), this American act tend to intoxicate their listener by subjecting them to interesting and dark themes. This band doesn’t hold too many resemblances with the aforementioned two, so don’t piss your panties in excitement too much just yet, but this act do explore darker themes whereas a number of doom metal bands challenge their listener with lighter aspects such as clean vocals, folk inspirations and the use of non-traditional instruments. Salome don’t do this. Tradition is something this band seems to respect and thus, this helps us respect them and their music which is strong willed and suspenseful throughout. There is a fair amount of mystique surrounding this band. Lyrical themes are unknown, lyrics are not supplied and as little information as possible is printed about the musicians. This mystique can only add to the suspenseful nature of the soundscapes, which has been touched upon loosely already. Even the cover art for the record is mysterious. A cultural fellow, in a traditional looking outfit, standing by what looks like a tree or two and looking very suspicious. There is an oddity effect about the entire record in general. It doesn’t adhere entirely to what is normally accepted within its field, therefore the record does acquire an intriguing feel to it, which can only have positive effects.

There are a number of techniques applied to this record in order to give it its sound. First, no bass. This, to me, is unusual. I suppose in many ways the bass isn’t that necessary to the record, but I guess we’ll never truly know. The percussion supplies a fair dosage of it in the form of double bass which aims to penetrate the soul of the listener and poison it with the odd aura that surrounds the records surreal feeling. There is a strange emotiveness about the record too. Take the cold and distant feel of black metal and rub it in to the wounds of the doom metal style which depicts sadness and sorrow and this is where Salome come in. They seem to mix the clichéd emotional values of the differing genres and sub-genres and do it to good effect, particularly on the last song, the twenty minute epic which sounds like a funeral doom anthem, but with underlining percussionist values. The percussion is particularly tight, especially in its use of cymbals and snares which enhance the entrancing penetrative aspects. I’d like to know what the lyrics are as the female vocals, which are distorted screams, are reinforcing and rugged. They match the male variations of distorted screams, but definitely have a feminine touch, which is interesting and unique. This isn’t a record I will come back to often, but when in the right mood, it will suit all my requirements. Slow and churning.