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SALEM
SALEM
Collective Demise
(System Shock Records)
48:30min

I gotta admit that I wasn't familiar with SALEM's musical history yet, but according to their bio "Collective Demise" is already the fourth full length album for this incredibly hard working unit from Israel. Their origin already dates back to 1985, and in the years to follow they released two demo tapes ("Salem" in '86 and "Destruction Till Death" in '87). In 1990 another tape followed ("Millions Slaughtered Live"), which not only resulted in very good sales numbers (1.500 to be more precise here), it also lead to a deal with Germany's Morbid Records, who added those demo tracks as a bonus to SALEM's debut album "Creating Our Sins" in 1992. Between 1994 and 1998 two further albums got released ("Kaddish" and "A Moment of Silence", the latter even being produced by Colin Richardson) and in December 2001, SALEM switched labels and signed a new deal with KMG / System Shock Records from Germany. And that finally leads us to "Collective Demise" again. The album features twelve cuts of rather old schoolish Death / Thrash that easily lives up to international standards and perfectly reflects the long musical history of the guys in terms of a strong experienced songwritring and musicianship. The band comes across with very tight, aggressive and rather enjoyable material and easily knows to impress with it unless they incorporate the extremely superfluous additional female vocals, which from my point of view simply ruin tracks like 'Coming End Of Reason', 'Act Of War', 'Feed On Your Grief' and 'Al Taster' (even though the latter turned out to be the most original tune on the entire album due to its impressive melody lines). But with all respect to the band's musical qualities I still gotta say that I personally probably wouldn't listen to this album very often as everything sounds a bit too safe and wellknown for my taste. It's certainly done with class, but lacks a bit in a unique note (and considering their country of origin, maybe even of an exotic nature) to stand out on todays highly overcrowded market. Along with the promo of "Collective Demise" I also received a CD-ROM which features three video clips from the album - don't know if they're also included on the "real" product, but you may get all further info from either the label (www.impact-records.de) or the band directly (www.salemband.com).

Frank Stöver

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