Album Review: Salem UK - Win Lose or Draw
Reviewed by Neil Brannagan-Fuller
The resurgence of New Wave of British Heavy Metal has produced (or reformed) some bands that are stuck in a time warp, light years away from home and trying to generate interest in music that missed its place in the archives of metal, not just a nod to the past, but well and truly stuck in it!
Hull’s Salem UK have well and truly dodged that bullet! With this their fourth ‘Modern Era’ LP since reforming the band in 2008. 'Win Lose or Draw' is a solid slice of classic NWOBHM with a modern production and feel!
Now let’s be honest, this isn’t, and was never going to be a genre pushing, boundary bending album, but what it does deliver is some up to date bluesy metal that really rocks along and has you nodding your head from the off! Opener ‘Wraith’ sets the scene just right, and is a great introduction to the album and the band if you haven’t heard them before, vocalist Simon Saxby has a lovely tone in his voice and the guitar playing is cracking with some succulent riffs that build throughout the track.
‘Betrayed’ and ‘Circumstances Change’ are slower serenading tracks that pluck at the heart strings along with the guitar strings, but faster rockier tracks like title tracks ‘Win Lose or Draw’ ‘Souls of Evermore’ and ‘Censored’ are the ones that really stand out for me with their agile riffing and thoughtful composition and some well-placed guitar solos, and album closer ‘Queen Serene’ is a crowd please that had us stood up with our lighters in the air!
This is a cracking slice of UK hard rock, with excellent guitar work, interesting arrangements and melody that the band should be really pleased with that would be just at home in a dive bar in Hollywood or Hornsea!
Salem UK release 'Win Lose or Draw' via Dissonance Productions on November 8th.