We’ve all been there haven’t we, as music fans, where a piece of music send shivers up your spine, gives you goose bumps or raises the hairs on the back of your neck. You know, the stuff that hits you right in the solar plexus and that feeling then travels right up into your heart and almost becomes part of your living, breathing being.
Well that is exactly what Cold Day in Hell by Bournemouth rockers South of Salem did to me within a few bars of my first listening to it. I know that when I was a kid, back in the 80’s and was finding my musical feet so to speak, I used to get that feeling a lot.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NhQSBlpohM&w=560&h=315]
For me it started with Adam and the Ants in 1981, Iron Maiden and Big Country around 1983, Guns n Roses in 1987 and many other bands in between, but apart from a few bands now, as much as I am constantly exploring and finding new bands, there are very few that hit THAT spot, well I am more than happy to say, that this band and this track in particular have and I just cannot stop listening to them.
With The Sinner Takes It All, the bands debut album, due to be released on the 25th September, South of Salem have quenched the thirst of their music hungry fans by releasing Cold Day in Hell, their second single. The first, Let Us Prey was released earlier in 2020 and you can check that and its accompanying video out through one of the bands online sites (links below).
The track, along with the rest of the album, was recorded at Grindhouse Studios in Suffolk with acclaimed producer Scott Atkins, who has worked with acts such as Cradle of Filth, Amon Amarth and Behemoth and should appeal to fans of bands like Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu and The Murder Dolls.
Frontman Joey Draper says of the lyrics, “‘Cold Day In Hell’ is a twisted homage to the dark and ugly sides of relationships. The lyrics speak of gas lighting and how the worst abuse can come from those who are closest to us.
It deals with control and emotional abuse. The guilt and fear that can be bestowed upon them. Leading the victim to believe their only option is to stay proverbially chained to their captor.”
The package that South of Salem and their team have put together on this single, from the song itself, to the top quality production and captivating accompanying video really leads you to believe that this is a band that are well and truly on their way to a successful career with sustained success and years of honing their skills behind them. But unbelievably, they are not, they are a band just about to release their debut album with less than a handful of shows behind them.
There truly is something special about South of Salem’s sound. It got me from the moment the opening crunching guitar riffs came blasting out of my speakers and hasn’t let go since. The vocal performance by frontman Joey Draper is just outstanding, the guitar work from Fish and Kodi is just breath taking, then when you add in the chest destroying sound created by the rhythm section of Dee and Pip Sampson, South of Salem come alive and boy do they come alive in a big way.
Cold Day in Hell is an anthem of seismic proportions. Full of monstrous riffs, infectious hooks, fierce yet sumptuous guitar solos, a mammoth beat and some magnificent angst fuelled lyrics, it is surely destined to catapult the band to the forefront of every discerning hard rock fans mind.
What is clear from listening to this stupendously brilliant song is that with their song-writing skills and musical talents they should buckle up their seat belts as they should be on a fast track ride to some of the biggest stages in the UK and around the world.
As I said at the start of this review, on hearing South of Salem for the first time, it gave the 50 year old me, who has been a deeply passionate music fan for nigh on 40 years, the same buzz that I had as a 10 year old child.
That is not something that happens very often these days and I dare say I am not the only one who will feel like that when they give Cold Day in Hell a blast as it is without doubt one of the best things I have heard this year and I now cannot wait to get stuck into the album.
In the meantime, I shall leave you one final piece of advice, when gigs restart (and I mean properly, whenever that may be), buy yourself a ticket and go see South of Salem in a small sweaty club.
I don’t think they will be playing them for long and you may just end up with one of those “I was there” moments when in a few years, people are queuing up in their thousands to see them pack out arenas.
South of Salem Online
Sinner Takes It All pre-order
South of Salem’s debut album ‘The Sinner Takes It All’ is released 25th September 2020 and is currently available in a number of different bundles.
Pre-order it here: https://southofsalem.bigcartel.com
Review by Darren Smith for MPM