|Review: Salem - Strings Attached|
Label: Raven Music
Year released: 2005
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: December 12, 2005
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Whoa. This certainly is different and caught me completely off guard. Here Salem have reworked some of their old songs to include a string quartet (the ICSQ String Quartet, renowned in Israel) and present an ambitious and definitely different album. Not content with incorporating classical musicians, they also signed up a female choir which makes some of the songs sound even more majestic. Speaking of vocals, not only are we served with Salem's trademark vocals (I've always found their vocalist to have a little something different from other DM vocalists), there's some clean male vocals as well, plus the aforementioned female vocals (in both single and choir form.) Some songs include only the classical instruments, while some are a mix of both - it is weird at first to hear some DM guitars mixed with some violins and what have you, with Death vocals adding icing on the cake. Once you get your ear used to this, it becomes evident that the band spent a lot of time on the arrangements to get these two styles of music to work hand in hand.
Salem have pulled off quite a trick here, and are definitely taking chances. Marrying the powerful sound of classical music with the chaos of death metal was quite a gamble, and I'd say the band walked away with the jackpot. This album doesn't have a lot in common with their usual sound (duh!), and I get the feeling this will either be loved or hate depending on how one is welcoming of this ambitious metal/classical hybrid. But I think most will at least agree that it is an interesting piece of work and acknowledge the amount of work that must have gone into it. Personally I hated it at first, but it grew on me with time. The first listens I thought this sounded like a total mess, but after a while things began falling into place... The one thing I can't find is a proper rating for this one, this is just too different to be rated next to Salem's other albums.
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