South of Salem Unleash Explosive Sophomore Death Of The Party

Bournemouth Quintet South Of Salem exploded onto the scene in 2020 with their debut, The Sinner Takes It All. It was an album crammed with melodic, razor-sharp riffs and outrageously infectious hooks, demonstrating a songwriting acumen way ahead of their then level of experience. After three years of solid gigging with explosive live shows enhancing their reputation, this week sees the release of their eagerly anticipated sophomore album, Death Of The Party.

South Of Salem – Death Of The Party 

Release Date: 19 January 2024

Words: Sophie James

Last November saw South Of Salem undertake their sell-out debut UK headlining tour. Being near this release date, it naturally saw a handful of new compositions aired and very well received. MetalTalk’s review of their Wolverhampton show can be found here.  

South Of Salem - Death Of The Party. Out 19 January 2024.
South Of Salem explosive sophomore album, Death Of The Party, showcases melodic riffs and infectious hooks.

Album opener and current single, Vultures, commences with all guns blazing in a barrage of frantic riffery. We are immediately reassured that all the ingredients that made the debut so instantly appealing are not so much present and correct but in absolute abundance: Pounding drums, driving riffs, instantly addictive hooks and crystal-clear vocals. 

Hitting the chorus with “I see them circling like vultures,” the thought struck me: have South Of Salem ever written a chorus that fails to burrow then imbed itself under your skin?

Pre-solo, the underlying keyboard orchestration invoke an atmosphere reminiscent of a Hammer or other classic era horror movie, while the individual and harmony components of the solo section itself provide the proverbial cherry on the top.  

Hot on its heels comes the second single, Static. Another balls-out anthem with a hint of latter-day Iommi in the riff, an undulating chorus, and another perfectly complementary solo. “No regrets, no rewinds, you can’t turn back the time. Just be what you want to be.” Less a hedonistic rally cry than a celebration of living life to the full while remaining true to oneself.  

We then find the first of the newbies that was introduced and welcomed on the recent tour. “Show me the monsters under your bed. Show me all the secrets in your head.” By its title alone, Jet Black Eyes will instantly appeal to the ever-expanding fanbase.

And guess what? It’s the next single, released yesterday. Such is the strength in depth across the whole album that any inclusion presents a robust case for individual release. Add to that titular appeal, and this dark declaration of unconditional love has so many memorable, seductive, lyrical moments. “Don’t cover up your scars cos they make you who you are.”  

“This life will be the death of me.” Stitch The Wound commences with a thrash-style riff before settling into a GNR/Velvet Revolver-type groove accompanying the slightly raspier edge to Joey’s vocal. If aired live, it is the kind of song you can easily abandon yourself in and warble along with.

Another great solo. I would say that the structure and execution of them all is a noticeable advancement from the debut. The inherent rhythm is joyous, and not to be outdone, drummer James’ accompaniment is simply thunderous.  

“This place just feels like home as I made my way through Hell.” The lead single Left For Dead is a frenetic, undeviating blast, leaving one marvelling at their innate ability to construct one irresistible chorus after another.  

“You can try and take it all, but I’m unbreakable to the wolves you threw me to.” The quirky keyboard opening gives Hellbound Heart (great title!) a distinctively European Gothic Metal, albeit all Salemed up. Another potential single release, which, at this rate, makes the album more bountiful than Thriller. “Cos the hell you gave is gonna make me.” 

“I’ve a lot of filthy habits and I’m not done yet. You’re the only one I can’t quit.” The slow grinding start of Bad Habits (Die Hard), as I noted in the live review, is reminiscent of Cochise before settling into a loose careering groove with a rapid-fire vocal.  

South Of Salem - Stonedead Festival 2023
South Of Salem – Stonedead Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

“I don’t mind if I die, it’s been one hell of a ride.” The title track, Death Of The Party, is a pure foot-to-the-floor hedonistic romp gloriously complemented by the mass chants of the backing vocals.  

“I don’t want to live my life just a piece in the crowd with everybody just pulling me down.” The supremely buoyant A Life Worth Dying For could easily have concluded the album on such an aspirational note.  

“Good guys always finish last”. Instead, the distinction of closing this opus falls to Villain, quite possibly the standout for me and sees an incursion into Crows territory and go toe to toe. It is, at the very least, something of a departure from what has preceded.

South Of Salem - Stonedead Festival 2023
South Of Salem – Stonedead Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/Metaltalk

Does it represent a modest adjustment in direction, coming as it does as the finale, or is it indicative of their evolution and maturation as writers and performers? Either way, it must rank as one of the strongest cuts on the album.  

Death Of The Party is an assured, infinitely dynamic, and immensely infectious collection which should appeal to a host of music lovers from right across the rock spectrum.  

It is an indicator of its excellence that any of its contents could be seamlessly inserted into the setlist.  

South Of Salem - Stonedead Festival 2023
South Of Salem – Stonedead Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

While the titles and lyrics may frequently embrace the darkness, there is no doubt that the plethora of melodies and major chords throughout are not only elevating but punchy, anthemic and seriously addictive.  

It would be incredulous to consider that with the sound and appeal of this material they would be unable to step up to filling more capacious venues during this album cycle. 

With a support slot on the forthcoming Kris Barras tour already in the bag, as well as a place on the bill for Bloodstock 2024, then the foundations are certainly being laid for South Of Salem to increase their exposure and profile.  

Death Of The Party will be available via the band’s own Spider Party Records at https://southofsalem.myshopify.com and all major streaming platforms. South Of Salem also have a huge album release show at Bournemouth O2 Academy on 20 January 2024.

South of Salem

Vocals – Joey Draper
Guitar – Kodi Kasper
Guitar – Denis Sheriff
Bass – Darren Atwell
Drums – James Clarke

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

April

06apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | TorquayThe Foundary

12apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | SouthamptonEngine Rooms

13apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | WolverhamptonKK's Steel Mill

14apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | ManchesterAcademy

17apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | GlasgowThe Garage

18apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | NewcastleBoiler Shop

19apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | NottinghamRock City

20apr7:00 pmKris Barras Band | LondonIslington Assembly Hall

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