Salem: Paul MacNamara Interview

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I had the pleasure of speaking to Paul from Salem, the British Metal Legends, about their upcoming album and what’s been happening since the last time we spoke.

1. What’s been happening since the last time we spoke?

“We’ve finished our album, there’s eleven songs on the record. Different members of the band have contributed to the music and the lyrics. We’ve changed record company, signing with Dissonance, as our previous record label Pure Steel felt a bit far, being as they were based in Germany. We met with the guys at Dissonance and we immediately felt a connection. We’ve also been playing gigs. Hard Rock Hell, gigs in Belgium, France. We’ve got some great variation on the songs on the album as well. Some have quite heavy riffs, others are quite light. Contrasts in songs such as I’m The One which is in a major key. We’ve got all kinds of goods on the record.”


2. What are your plans for this album?

“We’re going to be touring quite heavily behind it and we’re also promoting it throughout the year and maybe into next year as well.”


3. Was the process of making this album different to the other albums?

“We’ve always done things a certain way. We’ve all always contributed to the record, one way or another. We’ve got a lot of mixture on this record, which is something I’m really proud of. And of course you always write songs you want to hear so there’s a lot of that on this record. Attrition, Black and White, Lest We Forget, are all songs I’d recommend you check out. They’re all quite personal, whilst also being to the point with layers.”


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Salem: Dark Days Review

Salem was founded during the glory days of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, in the late 1970s, and drew a decent following through the release of several demos, however, for some odd reason they never quite caught on and eventually disbanded. However, their demos remained hugely popular on the underground circuit, and as the band members slowly reconnected and played a gig, they were approached and asked if they’d be interested in recording. A compilation album with their demos was released in 2010, followed in 2013 by their first true album entitled ‘Forgotten Dreams’. Three years later, they followed up their stellar debut with their second album ‘Dark Days’.

Dark Days, as guitarist Paul McNamara says was “Influenced  by a lot of the confusing things happening around the world today, political, social and economic.” That is apparent by songs such as ‘Complicated’, ‘Lost My Mind’ and ‘Dark Days’ which speaks to the state of confusion that there is in the world and the sense that things really are getting quite dark and gloomy. The soaring vocals of Simon Saxby lend themselves well to the dark and thoughtful lyrics of the songs, showcasing his talent and vocal range.

The guitar work is simply exquisite, with the epic Nine Months, showcasing the lead abilities of both guitarists, as well as their ability to hold down the solid changing rhythms as the song dictates.  What distinguishes the guitar work on this album from their debut, is that it is more refined, whilst still keeping that solid gritty edge that earned Salem a legion of followers in their early days and since their return.

The drums and the bass hold down the fort brilliantly, allowing the songs to really shine through, something that many other bands could take note from. The drums and bass might not be doing anything too fancy, but for the songs, it really works. Thus, the band sounds complete, it sounds whole, and really, considering the theme of the album, this only helps add to the heaviness of the entire record.

Overall, I would say that Dark Days is a brilliant follow up to Forgotten Dreams, and will most definitely have held up to the test of time. If you are fan of heavy metal, and love bands that bring contemplative thinking to the heaviest of genres, you will love this album. Get it as soon as possible!