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Date Formed 1985

Categories: Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal


Current Members

Past Members


An Israeli Black Doom Metal band that trace their history back to the very roots of Black Metal in the mid 80's, releasing an official live tape 'Destruction Till Death' in 1988. Initially the band had gone by the title AXE METAL upon formation in Giv'ataim during 1985. A trio of co-founders, guitarist Beny Robinov, bassist Beny Cohen and drummer Danny Mondani, all exited in 1988. Yair Benjy duly took over the drum position, but would exit in 1990. That same year SALEM inducted new guitar player Giora Hirsch.

Frontman Ze'eb Tanaboim was in correspondence with the late MAYHEM mentor Euronymous in regards to releasing a SALEM record on his Deathlike Silence label. Tanaboim was also in communication with Euronymous's arch rival and eventual murderer Varg Vikernes of BURZUM although on less salubrious terms. Allegedly, Vikernes posted a nail bomb to Tanaboim after the SALEM man had offered to shoot him for derogatory comments against Jews.

The corpse paint bedecked SALEM, with new drummer Amir Neubach, emerged once more with the 1992 demo 'Millions Slaughtered'. Other members at that juncture included Tanaboim, guitarists Lior Mizrach and Giora Hirsch with bass player Mikael Goldstein. These tapes were included as part of the band's first release for Morbid Records 'Creating Our Sins'. Hirsch exited in 1996.

SALEM's third release, the 1998 Colin Richardson produced 'A Moment Of Silence', saw a drift into Gothic territory and the loss of Hirsch and Neubach. The album included an ambitious version of PINK FLOYD's 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun'. New drummer was Nir Nakov of LEHAVOTH. In December 2001 SALEM signed a three album deal with the German label KMG/ System Shock, the band's fourth album 'Collective Demise' arriving in September of 2002. Subsequently LEHAVOTH's Nir Gutraiman enrolled on guitar.

SALEM issued their first DVD in 2003, 'Live Demise', comprising a full concert performance plus seven promotional clips. The band achieved a number of firsts in 2004. On the 1st April SALEM, with over 1,000 fans in attendance, became the first band to be officially clocked at having performed a two and a half hour set of extreme Metal. They would be joined by special guest Nergal of Polish Black Metal band BEHEMOTH during their Israeli independence day gig at the City Hall club in Haifa on 24th May, this set comprising both SALEM and BEHEMOTH songs.

SALEM's 2005 project 'Strings Attached' proved the band had an ambition beyond their allotted genre as past repertoire would be interpreted by an all female string quartet. Bonus material would include a re-work of Max Roach's 1969 Jazz standard 'The Drums Also Waltzes' whilst the track 'Old Wounds' would be performed by lead vocalists from ARALLU, BARTHOLOMEUS NIGHT, MOONSKIN, LEHAVOTH, MATRICIDE, SPAWN OF EVIL, SOLITARY and HANGMAN. Ze'eb Tananboim also acted as guest vocalist on ARALLU's 2005 album 'The Demon From The Ancient World'. SALEM's 27th December Tel Aviv Theater Club gig notably saw inclusion of guest vocalist Attila Csihar of TORMENTOR, ABORYM and MAYHEM repute.

In December 2006 SALEM signed the album 'Necessary Evil' to French label Season Of Mist to issue the album 'Necessary Evil' in June the following year. The concert DVD 'Salem Underground' saw release in June 2008.

The band performed at the 'Anthem Metal' festival held on August 14th 2008 at Hangar 11 on the shores of Tel Aviv, Israel, alongside SATYRICON, MESHUGGAH, OPETH, DARK TRANQUILLITY, THE HAUNTED, NEVERMORE plus fellow Israeli bands BETZEFER, DISTORTED, THEY:SWARM and THE FADING.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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