With a name like this it is incredibly hard to imagine a sound that isn’t doom or Sabbath inspired. The concept of the name was born from the idea that Lucifer himself began growing his own weed in Salem and strange things began to happen, witches returning from their graves screaming for vengeance and the smoke from Satan’s grass apparently waking the dead.
The opening of this record brings in atmospheric, synth sounds that are drawn out and eerie. I guess it is what is expected, this sound is quite an intriguing one as it opens the doorway for the light, down tempo drums to lumber in.
As the bass appears alongside the synth and drums, the riff crashes in like an unannounced fat man at an all you can eat buffet. The riff itself is what all doom and stoner bangers are based on it is also what they are judged on. Marijuana works beautifully with repetition and riffs like these, just listen to the Grateful Dead or Sleep not stoned and see if you can handle it.
Continuation of the riff here from Salem’s Pot as the vocals groan in, Sweden has given the world a few awesome things, Truckfighters, Nina from the Cardigans and frozen meatballs from IKEA…not to mention Dime bars. The vocals are drawn out in a way that makes your skin crawl. This is ultimately what the band probably desired when it was recorded.
Guitar solos in down tempo doom metal all seem to have the same minor pentatonic structure, Salem’s Pot are absolutely no exception to this. The minor pentatonic scale works very well in all cases from blues to metal and all sub-genres in between. Sorry to burst any guitarists bubble there but it has to be said. Learn a basic blues scale, turn it up and play it slow and you’re instantly in a doom band.
The Synth has a presence in the entirety of the first track here lurking in the background and occasionally coming fourth with no hesitation to be at the forefront like Mark Chapman with a Ringo Starr LP tucked under his arm. The way the track closes is identical to the beginning, drawing the synth out and leaving the listener bewildered.
Part two of the record, brings the same synth sound, I refer to the synth quite a bit here, let me tell you exactly what it sounds like, pitch-shifting, futuristic, digitalised, space-junk fed through a phaser and flanger, you’ll either love it or hate it. The drums follow in exactly the same way as previously heard, matching the beat almost identically.
Riff number two blasts in after slightly longer than the first part this is slightly more varied than the first offering sliding into a guitar solo reminiscent of Sons of Otis, minus the crushing fuzz sounds created by Ken Baluke. The track then quietens down to allow the stereotypical ‘low’ part that eventually picks back up and vocals swing in.
One thing that can’t be ignored with Salem’s Pot is the direct ‘reading from the Electric Wizard blueprint, the tempo, the vocal effect and the synth. I’m not sure whether or not making a repetitive track last for just over 14 minutes was ever a wise idea or following it up with another 20 minute epic which reads along the same lines works either.
I find with bands like Salem’s Pot, that it is almost too easy to copy Electric Wizard and pass it off as their own, using the devil and his growing of weed in a country that couldn’t be further away from your homeland seems like a cheap-shot.
Electric Wizard used the occult, horror movies that never saw the light of day, 70’s porn, weed, bongs, bikes and art that makes everyone think, ‘that’s cool’ Salem’s Pot have none of this as yet, forgiven as they seem to be a relatively new band but if you’re going to stand next to Dorset’s Doom giants, you need to have this type of thing sorted well in advance.
I do feel however that Salems Pot have quite a long way to go in order to fully root themselves as purveyors of classic stoner-doom but once they manage this it will be an obvious winner mainly due to the swedish influece in the vocals.
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Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Sam Orr