17 years after they first released the epic album, Kaddish, Salem has returned with a reissue. This album was dedicated to all the survivors as well as to those were lost in the holocaust (including family of Salem's band members). For the grand reissue, Salem decided to hold a show in Israel, just a few days after Holocaust Remembrance day.
In case you have not been around for the past 25+ years around, Salem is the oldest metal band in Israel, and one of the world's pioneers of black metal! They are a magnificent symbol for the Jewish continuity, for the trials the band has struggled through, they always come back with a well deserved knock out. Following their immortal leader and screamer, Ze'ev Tananboim, and hooking up with some old friends and another big surprise on the stage, Salem has turned the "Reading 3" club in Tel Aviv to an alternative temple to remember the Holocaust.
Salem hit the stage around 22:30 while the crowd cheered endlessly. Following an opening sequence with African drums, which play a big role in Salem's latest album, Playing God, the band started playing all of the classic songs from Kaddish. The song "The Fading" is the reason they can claim to be the first (and possibly the only) Israeli metal band on M.T.V. When they started to play it was a slow and atmospheric opening. The crowd preparing for when the screams of sorrow came out of Tananboim's throat, the crowd exploded. 17 years since it was launched at the Headbangers Ball, "The Fading: is a timeless and captivating song in its own way. The following song was the album title. Kaddish was dedicated to Tananboims father's family whom were murdered in the Holocaust, as well as all that were lost.
A few songs down the road, and the main attraction of the evening was center stage. Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Guns N' Roses guitarist, and a metal guitar legend flew all the way to Israel to show his support to Israel and its metal community. The new and improved formation of Salem started with an instrumental piece and, though they had only had one rehearsal, "Bummblefoot" was fitting in pretty well. Among the songs they played together was the controversial "Haayara Boeeret". Salem wrote their own version of this old holocaust song in Hebrew in the mid 90's. This song caused a lot buzz and was even the main topic of a broadcasted debate on how the holocaust should be remembered. While playing the, it was substantial the Thal is all about the roots of his family. Even though he got a lot threatening messages from fans not to come to Israel, he did, and followed his own destiny. The last song that Salem played with Thal was their old favorite "Eyes to Match a Soul", and Tananboim, known for loving his crowd, walked right in to the mosh pit and sang from there.
For the second part of the show, Zeev left the stage while the band hosted old friends- Yishai Swearts from Raven Music label (the show promotor & the one who brought Bumblefoot to Israel and vocalist of Betrayer, Nail Within & Moonskin), Yuval Talmor "Molech" from the band Lehavoth and Idan Kupferberg from the legendary crazy 90's band, People. The two continued with some old wonders from Salem's history such as "A Moment of Silence", "Creating Our Sins" and "Broken Yet United". "Bumblefoot" and Tanaboim both returned for the last round of the evening, including a knock-out version of the Israeli national anthem "Hatikva" well executed by T'al.
What is really amazing to me is that, no matter where the show is or how many people come (unfortunately not a lot of people attended this venue), Salem will always be at their best. As the oldest band around Israel, Salem has the most experienced musicians you could ask for. Guitarists Lior Mizrachi and Nir Gutraiman, along with Michael Goldstein on bass lead the extreme death metal riffs (yeah, Salem doesn't play much black metal these days) that nearly cut your head off. Nir Nakav, has always known how to reinvent the bands music and drum section with extra intellectual skills, and he doesn't miss a thing, even during live shows. He is probably one of the best drummers in Israel and Europe. Salem has managed to recreate the old 90's material of Kaddish with the raw and technical machine they have become, and still deliver the concept of such a complex period in the Israeli calendar, when the entire country feels the grief of the holocaust. But at the end of it, if you came to see Salem, you will get the whole dish, even if it means that they have to come on stage laying on a stretcher!