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Album Review : South of Salem – Death of the Party

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

South of Salem are one of the most exciting new British bands and with this their sophomore release the Bournemouth quintet have pulled out the stops and laid down a heavy assed masterpiece.

Following on from the instant success of their debut album and some outstanding festival appearances as well as support slots with W.A.S.P and Wednesday 13 their name is already getting out there and they are being the band not to miss live as they put on an incredible show.

On Death of the party you will find a multitude of influences with a love of sleaze, horror themes and balls out rock. The album opens with “Vultures” and it kicks like a mule from the off. The drums of James Clarke is heavy in the mix and it is a powerhouse that drives the whole album.

If you mix that with the excellent guitars and the heavy HIM vibe you have a cracking start which slithers right into “Static” which reminded me of Stone Broken’s last album. This is another solid rocker that is as catchy as a dose of Covid.

“Jet Black Eyes” settles in as one of the tracks of the album. This is earworm of the dead, little slithering maggots feeding on a corpse that has the tune bouncing around your brain for days. Mix that with Joey Draper’s vocals and some beautiful blood dripped lyrics and you have a magical modern horror story.

On “Stitch the Wound” we have the drums and bass firing a barrage of sound at you as the guitars cut through the song with staccato brutality but all tied together with melodic rock brilliance. The production on the album shines and melds these songs into 10 tracks of dark stories told with precision and perfection.

The sonic attack continues on “Left for Dead”. The music is like a blanket of noise and with Joey singing through a distorted mic the track takes on a feeling of urgency, panic and fear. Like all of the songs on Death of the Party these are very well sculptured numbers and the musicianship is as tight as a pair of budgie smugglers. The difference from the debut is extremely noticeable and all those gigs are paying off.

Atmospheric keys set up “Hellbound Heart” and you get a real 90/2000s feel. Again this reminded me of HIM and also a lot of those dual vocal bands that sprang up and set the genre on fire. This is another killer.

The opening of “Bad Habits (Die Hard)’ kick off like a 2000 Alice Cooper track. Think Brutal Planet and this song drives onwards with a furious pace that seems as if it is going to head straight off the cliff as it cannot stop.

The title track comes in at different times, different pacing and leaves you a bit disorganised before it settles and fires through what is becoming an full album sound. Those drums, bass and guitars refuse to slow down or reduce velocity and makes for a powerful number. The guitar work is outstanding and the solos are definitely summoning someone’s inner Zakk(That would be you Denis).

Yeeeehaw, we have some opening cowbell on “A Life Worth Dying for” and we all know it is a physical impossibility to have a bad song with cowbell so this is put down as a winner from the first second. I have to repeat that I am loving James Clarke’s drum work on this album. It is the first time in a good while where I have heard drums pop so much on an album and hey, it just makes me smile throughout.

The album closes with “Villain” and an army on the march feel and James fills again get the corner of my mouth stretching. The intro to this song is a killer piece and the song itself is a perfect way to bow out, beautifully structured, perfectly produced and well written.

Death of the Party is South of Salem at their best and this will open so many doors for the boys. They should be extremely proud of what is meant to be the difficult second album. SOS trajectory is about to go through the roof so get on board now…buy this album and get your ticket to one of the live shows later this year as I am telling you now this will be a sold out tour.

Tracklisting: Death Of The Party 

1: Vultures 
2: Static 
3: Jet Black Eyes 
4: Stitch The Wound 
5: Left For Dead
6: Hellbound Heart          
7: Bad Habits (Die Hard) 
8: Death Of The Party 
9: A Life Worth Dying For 
10: Villain

https://instagram.com/southofsalemofficial/
https://facebook.com/southofsalemofficial/
https://tiktok.com/@south.of.salem
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5hJLHVZ83c7qJlPkf8SMw6
https://southofsalem.com

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