SALEM “King Night” (2010)

September 14, 2011

Prepare yourself for one of the gloomiest albums you’ll hear, like, ever. SALEM is a trio from Traverse City, Michigan that finds inspiration not in obscure films or literature but in the very past of its members, including prostitution and drug addiction. So don’t expect happy-go-lucky attitude from these guys. Critics describe their music as witch house – a term panned by some musicians identified with it – but SALEM don’t give a damn about labelling. What can be said for sure is that their sound is haunting: an eerie mix of darkwave, goth, industrial and hip-hop. Synths are freezing, beats are filthy – the overall impression is nihilistic and of despair. Zola Jesus’ Night this is not. Surprisingly, the album’s second half is better. Frost is an icy march of ghosts and zombies. Redlights would be a beautiful ballad if it wasn’t sickly (it’s definitely the most lyrical track). Traxx is an ode to the condemned, while in Tair you can actually hear them as they moan in the background. King Night is a perfect soundtrack to an apocalyptic movie, the one with the sky hidden by a factory smog and the surviving humans being hunted by some heartless machines. Or to modern times: screwed and lacking any values.

hydrameter: 5/5

Key Tracks: Frost, Hound, Redlights, Tair, Trapdoor, Traxx

Listen to Redlights:


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