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Not to be confused with Salem the band from Israel.

Salem (I) was founded in late 1979 by two members of Ethel The Frog, Paul Tognola (vocals and guitar) and Paul Conyers (drums). The first band met up on 2 January 1980 in The Red Lion pub in Anlaby, East Riding of Yorkshire. After a period of song writing and rehearsal, Salem gigged regularly and built a solid following in the Hull area. They recorded their first demo at Fairview Studios, Willerby in January 1981.

With a revised line-up, Salem (II) released its double A-side single, "Cold As Steel" / "Reach To Eternity", recorded again at Fairview on 4 April 1982. Paul Macnamara was subsequently interviewed in the May 1982 Kerrang! (No. 15) and singles were sold globally. The single appeared in the 'local chart' section of Kerrang! and is now highly collectable.

Salem (III) continued with a new drummer to perform in
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SALEM albums / top albums

SALEM Forgotten Dreams album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Forgotten Dreams
Heavy Metal 2013
SALEM Dark Days album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Dark Days
Heavy Metal 2016

SALEM EPs & splits

SALEM live albums

SALEM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SALEM 1981 Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1981 Demo
NWoBHM 1981
SALEM Cold as Steel album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Cold as Steel
NWoBHM 1982
SALEM 1983 Demo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1983 Demo
NWoBHM 1983
SALEM Demo 1983 (2) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 1983 (2)
NWoBHM 1983

SALEM re-issues & compilations

SALEM In the Beginning... album cover 4.17 | 3 ratings
In the Beginning...
NWoBHM 2010

SALEM singles (0)

SALEM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SALEM Reviews

SALEM Dark Days

Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal
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Time Signature
Return to Salem...

Genre: traditional heavy metal

In 2013, the NWoBHM legends Salem released their debut album "Forgotten Dreams". Now they are back with a follow-up in the form of "Dark Days".

On "Dark Days", Salem continue in the vein of "Forgotten Dreams". Thus, the listener is treated to quality traditional metal with several NWoBHM elements. The opening track 'Not Guilty' is surprisingly emotional and ballady for an opening track on a metal album, but it works well. 'Nine Months' is an epic track that combines galloping guitars with eastern influences, and features a guitar solo in the vein of Ritchie Blackmore's solo in 'Gates of Babylon'. Come to think of it, while definitely its own song, 'Nine Months' is similar in atmosphere and epicness to 'Gates of Babylon'. This track is definitely one of the finest songs tracks on the album. The track is followed by another stand-out track in the form of the dark and heavy 'Complicated', which in turn is followed by the uptempo rocker 'Lost my Mind', which is rich in twin guitars and features a catchy chorus. 'Dark Days' and 'Second Sight' are solid traditional metal tracks, while there is a certain aggressive groove to 'Tormented', and 'Fallen Angel' combines hard rock grooves with moody ballad parts. 'Toy Story' is a ballad, and 'Prodigal Son' also belongs to the softie department. The latter features some nice twin guitar harmonies, some of which have a slight neoclassical feel to them. Lastly, 'Tank' is a heavy hard rock track, whose chorus is pretty awesome. I mean, who doesn't like singing along to the words "tank oh-oh"?

"Dark Days" is a pretty strong album which is solidly positioned in the traditional metal genre. Still, it contains elements from hard rock and AOR, and 'Nine Months' even features some nods to more progressive music. Upon listening to the album, the listener will realize that these guys are highly experienced and seasoned musicians and songwriters who understand heavy metal and hard rock. Every song is accessible and emphasizes melody. Simon Saxby's vocals are a tad reminiscent of Biff Byford and fits the music very well.

A strong album and a lesson in heavy metal, "Dark Days" should appeal to fans of NWoBHM and traditional metal.

The album does not click with me as much as the predecessor did, but it is still a very strong and enjoyable listen

SALEM Forgotten Dreams

Album · 2013 · Heavy Metal
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Kev Rowland
When I saw the name of the band my immediate impression was that there was going probably be a Death Metal act, so when I put it on I was somewhat surprised to find that here was a very melodic and powerful NWOBHM band. A bit more research and I discovered that these guys were originally formed in 1980, with this line-up getting together in 1982, but by 1983 it was all over. Then in 2010 the guys were approached by Pure Steel Records and asked if it would be possible to release the demo’s that had been recorded as an album (released in ‘In The Beginning’). One thing led to another and the guys started playing together again, and the result is this their debut album. Now, having not heard their earlier recordings I don’t know if this reflects what they were doing then, but in many ways these guys were way more melodic than what was prevalent in the scene at the time. There is the pomp and presence of Magnum and Styx (no keyboards), twin guitars (more Wishbone Ash and Thin Lizzy than Iron Maiden), some stunning vocals (seriously – I really like Simon Saxby’s voice), and wonderful songs, which really makes me wonder what would have happened if these guys had got the breaks.

This is melodic hard rock that I have enjoyed more and more each time I have played it, and I can only hope that these guys now stick at it as I want to hear some more. Lots more! They have an interesting site, so why not investigate them – this is good stuff indeed.

SALEM Forgotten Dreams

Album · 2013 · Heavy Metal
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Time Signature
Unsung heroes

Genre: traditional heavy metal

Salem is one of te most important metal bands in the histor of the genre - yet, they only released their first album "Forgotten Dreams" in 2013.

How can they be so important? Well, they were part of the NWoBHM movement of the late 70s and eary 80s, which influenced future generations of metal msicians fundamentally. Most NWoBHM bands, with Iron Maiden, Saxon and a handful of other artists as the exception, disappeared into obscurity. This happened to Salem, too despite the fact that they were capable musicians and released a string of prett good demos. In 2010, these were collected and released in the form of the compilation "In the Beginning...", marking the reforming of the band, and two EPs followed before the release of their debut album.

"Forgotten Dreams" offers very good traditional heavy metal with a strong sense of melody. Not surprisingly, the album is full of elements associated with the NWoBHM era, such as twin guitars and a slight retrospective view to the 70s. Several songs on the album combine traditional metal aesthetics with a moody and melancholic feel which resonates with something primeval in the listener, as is the case of 'The Answer', with its brooding guitar melodies, and 'Kazakafnu' as well as the ballady 'This Heart Is Mine'. Other tracks are uptempo as in the case of 'Reach to Eternity', which should appeal to fans of Rainbow's 'Kill the King'. Other notable tracks are 'X-Rated', 'Ask the Lonely', the title track, and 'When Love Is in your Heart'. The choruses are generally melodic - some even having a slight AOR quality - and thus memorable and easy to sing along to.

I, for one, really appreciate how NWoBHM bands like Salem reform and start releasing albums. They deserve being celebrated by the scene they helped create. And, it does not make things wors that an album like "Forgotten Dreams" is actually very good.

SALEM Cold as Steel

Demo · 1982 · NWoBHM
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Great cover art, great production, plenty of talent...

This may or may not be a bad thing to you, but for me, it lacks that ingredient so vital to NWoBHM music; Sweat.

On the A side, the song that introduces the band to the world, the performance sounds quite effortless - lazy, really (except for the drummer, who sounds unleashed - we like that). The vocalist sounds utterly lethargic, which is a big part of the problem, and his range is not great to say the least.

The riffs are fairly cool, if standard fayre, and the progressions are predictable - but the guitar solo, which starts out unremarkably, has a nice build, with impressive bursts of flash towards the end - see, I knew you could do it if you tried!

After 3 minutes, though, the promisingly entitled "Cold as Steel" really drags - it's nowhere near as menacing as the cover would have you imagine.

Flip it over, and we get some meat; Pacy and tight - to quote the song itself; "Yeah - this is how it was meant to be...". This is fledgeling power metal up there with Jaguar's "Back Street Woman", with the potential of real greatness and genre-spawning.

This fulfils the predictions of hardcore NWoBHM obscurity collectors, who insist that the B-sides are where it's at - put this in context, and for 1982, this is real ear-opening material.

There's still a feeling that if they really gave it some stick, then this could be a real masterpiece. Again, the lyrics give it away; "Don't you try too hard" - and we feel that they didn't really.

The harmonised guitar break that follows changes all this - it really is awesome - listen to it, and I defy you not to think of Kai Hansen/Helloween several years later (or possibly 220 Volt in Sweden the same year!).

Between the lines, there's some really great potential proto-thrash / pwer metal going on here, and the second guitar break has you longing, nay, gasping for more - there's that genuine nostalgic, aching feeling of something lost forever.

"Reach For Eternity" is a great title for this bleeding-edge material.

2 and a half stars for the A side, and 4 and a half rounded up to 5 for the B side.

I listened to it again, and will listen to it again tomorrow :o)

SALEM In the Beginning...

Boxset / Compilation · 2010 · NWoBHM
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Time Signature
Reach for eternity...

Genre: NWoBHM

This is a compilation album which collects the tracks that Salem released on demos and singles back in the 1980s - tracks which are otherwise hard to come by because of the rarity of the original releases. And, maybe, given that the band has reunited, it will prepare us for a new release.

Musically, "In the Beginning..." offers good old solid guitar-driven hard rock and heavy metal, ranging from quite good to brilliant. A lot of the tracks are good, I think, but not quite original or groundbreaking, while a couple of tracks are pure genius. The central element of all tracks on this album is solid and inspiring classic heavy metal riffage of the kind that metal bands mastered back in the 80s. And these have been generously sprinkled with guitar harmonies, which is enough to make me fall head over heels for this album (I have a weak spot for twin guitars, you see).

The tracks that I classify as pure genious are "The Hangman's Noose" with its harmony-based main riff, "Coming for You" and "Reach for Eternity" which are both fast and melodic, and the epic "Keeper of the Keys Trilogy" with its plethora of cool guitar riffs.

Recommended to all fans of traditional heavy metal.

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