Album Reviews

Salem – Attrition Review

Released by: Dissonance

Release Date: Out Now!!!




Line Up:

Simon Saxby Vocals
Paul MacNamara Guitar
Mark Allison Guitar
Ade Jenkinson Bass
Paul Mendham Drums



Black and White
I’m the One
Lest We Forget
My Only Son
Sights of Wonder
Stay With Me
Taking Control
Warning Signs
We Are Gods


Sometimes being a rock journalist (is that what I am) and having a life conflict horribly. I don’t do this for a living so I have to juggle it with my real job, my girlfriend, and any other obstacles that get in the way. Luckily I get ample time for listening to music, but sometimes it is tough to decide what I am going to play. If I have a show coming up I try to work my way through a bands catalog in preparation for the show (unless I cheat and then I will just repeat the setlist until I am either ready or sick of it,) other times I want to revisit a band and/or album/catalog because it’s been a while. At the same time I am inundated with promos to check out too, then if I decide to review it I give those multiple spins before putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard rather,) which is the only fair thing to do. Typically I’ll work my way through several and decide which ones deserve my attention. So many times I will check out an album, love it a bunch, decide to write about it, and then all of a sudden time has gotten away from me and I skip it. This is one of those times I very nearly allowed that to happen but decided since I had some spare time I’d get to it.

UK band Salem formed way back in 1979 out of the ashes of NWOBM band Ethel the Frog. After a couple of line-up changes, a couple of demos, some singles and appearances on compilations back in the early 80’s, the band broke up to pursue other stuff. In 2009 guitarist Paul MacNamara was approached to release those early demos for High Roller Records. Since then they have recorded two new albums, and have just released their third entitled Attrition, out now on Dissonance Records. I was unfamiliar with them, but very much liked what I was hearing on the album. More akin to 70’s British Hard Rock with elements of NWOBHM- like if Magnum and Saxon were melded together. What’s so stunning is the fact that they’re so damn good. It’s a real head-scratcher trying figure out why it didn’t work out all those years ago, but lucky for us the band has been given the opportunity to show just what they’re capable of. Songs like “Taking Control,” “I’m the One,” and “Lest We Forget” are chock full of a truly great voice from the UK in Simon Saxby, killer riffs and solos from MacNamara and Mark Allison, and a potent backbeat provided by Ade Jenkinson on bass and Paul Mendham on drums.

I think it’s great when a band gets another chance at breaking into the big time. Especially a band of the caliber of Salem. Having been around since the early days of NWOBHM it stands to reason that their sound hearkens back to those glorious days, yet they have lifted that sound to the demands of modern hard rock. Their legacy has lasted this long, let’s hope their future output can catch up to that legacy.


Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 8/10


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