Salem’s Pot – “Pronounce This”
Every once in a great while I encounter an album which conveys a palpable sense of energy and enthusiasm; where as a listener, you can just tell that the band had a fucking amazing time during the recording process of that album.
“Sticky Fingers” by the Rolling Stones would be a perfect example. That same energy and enthusiasm on the part of the band, whether chemically induced or otherwise, can truly transfer itself to the listener. Music of this nature can have the power to lift our spirits and reduce our inhibitions, much like a fine bourbon. Albums which truly convey a good time like this can help us take an absolute shit sandwich of a day and turn it all around.
We as listeners are motivated to achieve a Sabbath in ‘72 level of baked, enjoy the tunes and put our worries on the back burner. “Pronounce This!”, the latest offering from Sweden’s Salem’s Pot not only achieves all the aforementioned qualities admirably, but also exhibits a nearly staggering level of progression for them as a band, both in production as well as musical composition. While I have always enjoyed their earlier material, there wasn’t much that was terribly remarkable about it, in my opinion. Their previous efforts had a rather dirty production which worked for their style at that point, as it made every nuance of their sound heavier. But, to be honest, there simply wasn’t anything about their overall sound that didn’t resemble something I already heard from some other stoner/doom band, just recycled.
“Pronounce This!” shows Salem’s Pot very much shedding the narrow confines of stoner/doom rock into a sound and style very much their own; a style perhaps more accurately described as 70’s rock continued.
Let’s break it down…
The album’s opener “Tranny Takes a Trip” begins with a bit of electronic weirdness before lurching into a pulsing, sexy groove. The electronic ambiance seems a bit aimless initially, before it gives way to an organ backed chorus. This track highlights some damn fine dual lead guitar work very reminiscent of early Iron Maiden.
My personal favorite track “Just for Kicks” follows with a sweet as hell mixture of southern rock, blues, and a dash of country. The slide guitar work in this song gets one into the total vibe, which is just plain catchy as hell.
Next up, we have a reboot of an older Salem’s Pot track, “Vampire Strikes Back”. The cleaner, more crisp production of this album makes this track sound better than ever. Plus, the addition of a second guitarist to their lineup lends this song a whole new level of depth.
“Coal Mind” takes us on a series of varying moods throughout its 12 minutes plus playing time. There seem to be four distinct phases which comprise the whole of the track. Each one bring its own charm and atmosphere without taking away from the continuity the entirety of the song.
Which brings us now to “So Gone, So Dead”, indeed a track which stands out from the rest of the album like an erection in sweat pants. There is no rock here folks; just a straight up old style country/western drinking anthem. I could seriously envision this track becoming quite popular with fans of both country music as well as hard liquor. This track speaks volumes of the level of skill the member of a band must possession to change musical style as well as genre, while remaining true to the remainder of the album. Which it does just fine, oddly enough.
The album’s closing track “Desire”, exhibits a much more sorrowful feel. The lyrics in conjunction with the depressing vibe of the music paint a rather bleak picture of frustration, regret, and an encompassing sense of impending doom. While still being an enjoyable song, it certainly brings the mood down considerably.
Overall, “Pronounce This!” is a massive step forward for Salem’s Pot. The production is crystal clear, yet heavy as hell. Unlike their earlier material, each moment of “Pronounce This!” is very distinct and quite memorable. This album absolutely rocks, from start to finish, with never a dull moment to be found. I feel that if “Pronounce This!” is any indication of what’s to come, Salem’s Pot certainly can become a major force to be reckoned with within the realms of popular music, and this album stands as absolute proof that they are well deserving of it.
Hailing from Franklin, Ohio, Grim has been writing reviews for Fuzz FM since April 12, 2017