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Salome - "Terminal" (CD)

Salome - "Terminal" CD cover image

"Terminal" track listing:

1. The Message (9:05)
2. Terminal (6:01)
3. Master Failure (6:46)
4. Epidemic (10:21)
5. An Accident of History (17:05)
6. The Witness (8:10)
7. The Unbelievers (9:27)

Reviewed by on December 16, 2010

"'Terminal' is the product of road-tested warriors ready to prove they are the act to keep an eye on in the upcoming years."

Music is nothing but a collection of noises, clashes of dissonant sonic energies that form an entity capable of almost anything. This racket is reigned in to resemble coherency that can be enjoyed by the masses. There is little rawness kept in to avoid scaring off a potential audience. Those that embrace the static and squeeze onto the concept of purified noise like Salome does are the true innovators of music. Salome is a trio that revels in the dark seeds of mankind. At its very foundation, the band’s sophomore album “Terminal” is a frightening take on the spirit of sludge/doom metal.

Nothing is spoon-fed to the listener; one time through the 17-minute ambient noise of “An Accident of History” is proof enough of that. Salome is unconcerned with anything resembling melody or finger-snapping groove. The guitar riffs are as prevalent as water in the desert, Katherine Katz’s screams are inhuman, and the drums bellow like hail from a twister. There is no space for bass, almost in fear of muddling things too much. A term like simplistic may be used to describe “Terminal,” but that word is an unfair assumption that waters down the core appeal of Salome.

“The Message” is a nine-minute opener that could be easily cut in half, though that would alter the atmospheric misery. The tense build-up before any instrument comes in and the harsh annunciation of every word extends the song longer than it should, but in a pleasurable manner. “Epidemic” has a sick riff to start off with that slowly fades into a harrowing diversion into the corrupt minds of the weak. A painful interlude halfway through displays the band in their element, transforming white noise into aural brilliance.

Salome is comfortable with both epic lengths and compact, mid-paced jams. “Master Failure” transfixes upon a gritty landscape devoid of compassion. “We tried, we failed” is shouted numerous times over a chunky riff, the first sign of a catchy moment. The title track is straightforward compared to the ambitious opener, sticking to a linear formation that threatens to tear skin from the body with its brooding intensity. Whether it’s hair-raising feedback or an upbeat excursion retaining a chilly mood, Salome is universal in their destructive approach.

Salome’s 2008 self-titled debut was a small blimp on the map of the metal community, but “Terminal” is a different beast all itself. For over an hour, Salome is willing to push themselves in ways that nobody could have imagined two years ago. Risks are taken, some that pay off in spades, and others that fall into self-indulgent territory (the aforementioned “An Accident of History” is guilty of this indiscretion). If chances like these weren’t taken, Salome would be accused of playing it safe based on the credibility of their stellar debut. “Terminal” is the product of road-tested warriors ready to prove they are the act to keep an eye on in the upcoming years.

Highs: The darker side of sludge/doom metal, Kat Katz's inhuman screams, suffocating atmospheric touches, heaviest songs the band has ever written.

Lows: 17 minutes of ambient noise on "An Accident of History" is a little too much.

Bottom line: A noisy venture that shows progression and an ambitious mindset from the Virginian trio.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)