Salem - Attrition

Salem - Attrition

(CD, Dissonance Productions, 2018)

Sometimes, it is horror mixed with delight when some records hit the stereo for the first time. And since SALEM's “Dark Days” really knocked me off my feet two years ago, I was afraid I may had pushed my expectations way too high to give “Attrition” a fair chance.

Yes, the first and second round passed by without stirring up any emotions at all, almost. After the first verse in “Black And White”, there's a build-up to the next section. Judging on the sound of the guitar, it feels more like a miss of switching from clean to distorted sound than boosting up - and it annoyed me. But after the third, fourth and fifth spin, songs started to pop out and stick in mind. BLACK SABBATH-heavy “Lest We Forget” was the first one to pin itself to my mind. I love the dark and fateful riff and in this moody song where Simon Saxby's Biff Byford type of whiny tone works perfectly. It charges the track full of emotion and it is spine chilling. Then grand “Stay With Me” was struck next; the mix between ballad and soft up-tempo matches in a great way and this is what I like with SALEM. They have the ability to mix '80s Heavy Metal with '70s Arena Rock and make it flow seamless. There's much variation on “Attrition” but it still sticks together as a unity. Or was it perhaps “Sights of Wonder” or “Isolation” that stuck next? It doesn't really matter, both are fabulous too. These are two rather heavy but yet melodic songs and there are two things in particular that got me hooked; again, great and charged vocal lines from Simon but also some really catchy riffs and guitar melodies. The double guitar harmonies work perfectly from the dynamic duo of Paul Macnamara and Mark Allison.

Then came the title track “Attrition”, “My Only Son” and “Take Control”. Also, “Black And White” which no longer bugs me. Now, I think that break makes the song unique. But yes, there are a few left to come around. But taking in consideration I listened to “Dark Days” two months straight before reviewing it, and “Attrition” about two weeks, there's still time for it to grow. There sure are some mighty fine and varied songwriting on “Attrition” and once it starts to settle, it is hard to put it down, just as it was with its predecessor.

I mentioned “Isolation” earlier; the album closer is a favorite. It grinds on, builds up but the crescendo never comes. As frustrating it is, it's as cool. And that goes for the whole song, key is slightly disharmonic, guitar melodies annoyingly sticky. And if a song can bug me this much and stir up these kinds of feelings, it can't be anything but awesome. It's definitely one of my favorites on the album.

SALEM stick to their standards this time too and delivers a fantastic and unique album with “Attrition”.





01. Attrition
02. Black And White
03. I'm The One
04. Lest We Forget
05. My Only Son
06. Sights Of Wonder
07. Stay With Me
08. Taking Control
09. Warning Signs
10. We Are Gods
11. Isolation


Simon Saxby - Vocals
Paul Macnamara - Guitar
Mark Allison - Guitar
Adrian Jenkinson - Bass
Paul Mendham - Drums