REVIEW: Salem Fires - Demo

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

If one were to take Sarah Brightman and Kate Bush, mix them up and then put the vocals with a goth band, it would undoubtedly sound something like Salem Fires. The band, like many others in the underground, has undergone some transitions with performers. The present lineup became a full incarnation in March 2002 though they have been around since 2000. The guitar driven and lyrical melodies are clearly rooted in dark roots of goth and may remind some of Mors Syphilitica, who initiated the hybrid of operatic female vocals layered over dark rock. On the European coast, however, Salem Fires has been compared to Scandinavian rock bands such as Nightwish because of their hard-hitting guitar licks and classical-style vocals.

Take Me opens with the smoldering goth rock chords that simply destine some tracks to the pinnacle of underground success. The lyrical lamentation is descriptive and bittersweet. Lost Inside brings us to the introspective parameter of seeking out more in our lives and finding that one is simply a "ghost moving in the motion of a daily life." Requiem Aeternum utilized Latin texts by Abbess Hildegard vonBingen (1141 AD) which was interspersed with the English lyrics. In spite of the morose leanings, the track is one of hope that better days are ahead.

Nightfall slows the pace down with a bit more structured orchestration at the intro. This is a track of washing away the past while succumbing to the seductive charms of a satyr-like lover. Fin de la Vie adds a bit of vinyl scratching to sound as though it is a recording that has been played continuously during one's mournful reverie. The booming sound then takes over where we are in the midst of one who is longing for the lost lover despite many others who have come and gone. There seems to be no respite from the grief while the heart mourns for the love one cannot have. Eden's Winter is lyrically interesting simply because it delves into a topic about a lover who seems emotionally shut down. One doesn't often find tracks of this nature in the underground, as many are first person centered on love and longing. This track, however, delves into the frustration of loving one who cannot seem to open up emotionally.

There is a lot of lyrical poetry within Salem Fires, along with soaring operatic vocals and tight guitar driven melodies. Fans of Mors Syphilitica will undoubtedly find this band yet another respite from the deep male vocals that have dominated the underground world. Even though this was a demo recording, it is not known if a full CD is forthcoming. Information and updates about the band can be found on their website.

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