Salem’s Pot: Pronounce This

What does it take for a heavy, Swedish rock or metal or doom band stand out from all the other Swedish rock or metal or doom bands? –A sweet horror flick gimmick and song writing that harkens back to the hayday of Sabbath and the likes. Salem’s Pot is a doom band playing rock ‘n’ roll with a passion and their latest album, Pronounce This, is an ode to horror in the best way possible. Packed with heavy guitar lines and percussion, the album makes for a solid listen.

Pronounce This is the zombie resurrection rock needed. With panty-dropping guitar licks and horror-flick keys that jam alongside heavy, thematic, and spine-chillingly good melodies –Salem’s Pot is the poltergeist you have been wanting to haunt your speakers.

Straight from the start Salem’s Pot delivers. The opening track, “Tranny Takes a Trip,” is heavy, starting with a metal meltdown of effect pedals over guitars and pounding drums. It’s a rhythmic assault as the repetitive riffs push the song along. Several times the song transforms, adopting a variety of key-based build ups, crazy guitar licks, and a dazzling amount of effects. “Tranny Takes a Trip” sets the bar for the rest of Pronounce This and most songs seem to deliver in a similar manner.

Salem’s Pot often focuses on classic rock ‘n’ roll riffs that are reminiscent of Black Sabbath, ACDC, and an eclectic mix of other rock gems. The only difference is that Pronounce This pushes the songs to their limit –each instrumental voice gets their time to shine and the jams that result are flashy and powerful.

The ‘aha!’ moment that really won me over, that made Pronounce This seem that much more spectacular, arrived around track three, “The Vampire Strikes Back.” It’s as if the band really came together, each instrumental voice blending together, working with the vocals. About a third of the way through, the band begins to work together, building the song slowly into a brief eruption and then another slew of vocal lines paired with rapid guitar licks. It’s quick and it’s fun, an overall great listen.

Admittedly, as much as I loved Pronounce This, the album came across as stale. Salem’s Pot may have resurrected rock ‘n’ roll straight from the dead –but its still falling apart. Pronounce This is a nearly fifty minute slew of redundant tracks. It all sounds familiar, basic, ‘done before.’ On top of that, Salem’s Pot has a terrible habit of playing ennui-inducing interludes. What initially comes off as an atmospheric and otherwise very heavy build quickly begins to sound like lazy filler.  At times, Pronounce This acts as if it wishes it were post-rock. It’s sad to say, but the speed and intensity that Salem’s Pot can often deliver is sacrificed to other pursuits.

In defense of Pronounce This; Salem’s Pot does rock very well, but their stylistic choices robbed them of the chance to implant something new and refreshing into the rock ‘n ‘ roll world. Song for song, however, Salem’s Pot rarely fails to impress. If you excuse the long transitions, often times songs reward you with that perfect moment that actually leaves you begging for more.

Pronounce This is music for full moons, vampires, ghouls, and goblins. If you’re into heavy, if you’re into horror, if you like your rock ‘n’ roll with a side of slasher flick, Salem’s Pot has something special prepared for you. Pronounce This will hypnotize you with an onslaught of guitar licks and heavy percussion.

Rating: 7.5/10