Salem - _Necessary Evil_
(Season of Mist, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (6 out of 10)
Salem is regarded as one of the premium Israeli metal bands, having been around since 1986, and is a household name alongside brethren Betzefer, Melechesh and Orphaned Land. For a band that has been in the business for over two decades, _Necessary Evil_ is a surprisingly modern-sounding album; but then Salem have never stuck to any style for too long, ranging from death through to doom and gothic metal (the precursor to _Necessary Evil_ was a symphonic album). I imagine the variety compensates for the lack of material; twenty one years in existence and this only their fifth album! Actually, one could argue that this contains both their fifth and sixth albums, as there are two distinct halves.

The first half showcases some aggressive modern groove thrash, accompanied by vicious snarled vocals, whilst the occasional Middle Eastern melody hints at the experimentalism to come in the second half, the five part "Once Upon a Lifetime". I imagine that this is intended to be the highlight of the album, as they retain their core sound, but toss in some acoustic guitar, female vocals and general prog tendencies. The different songs don't always segue comfortably into each other, and while I am an avid fan of experimentalism, this doesn't extend to the kitchen sink approach and tries too hard to be an avantgarde exposition of the preceding numbers.


(article published 15/8/2007)

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