One of the darkest and weirdest records of the year, King Night by Salem is like a druggy Halloween screw in a graveyard, full of destroyed synths, evil beats and out of it vocals. The Michigan trio of John Holland, Heather Marlatt and Jack Donoghue have created something close to a witch house masterpiece – a horror show of eerie soundtracks that the word headfuck was invented for.
This is creepy listening that surpasses expectations for a band that first appeared on a wave of underground hype. It’s experimental modern goth, treated with heavy slices of beats, bass and sinister shadows. From the moment that an Omen choir and distorted electronica pulverise your speakers on the opening title track, you can be sure that King Night is going to be as far away from radio friendly as you can imagine – the only time Fearne Cotton will be playing this on BBC Radio 1 is when she’s turned into a zombie-corpse with maggots poking through her eye sockets.
Yet despite the blackness of King Night there’s something here that is in places quite celebratory– be it the ethereal ghost vocals and haunted-noise synths on Frost or the way that Sick sounds like a pitchshifted séance slo-mo hip hop jam. Imagine Fever Ray and Sleigh Bells getting intimate under a black duvet to create a soundtrack to a new haunted house film where the geekily intelligent sexy-cute American girl who would normally solve the mystery gets her head sliced off in the first five minutes. It’s an album that certainly isn’t ever going to appeal to the mainstream, but for those who like to spend a little time in dark, spacey, mind altering places King Night is highly recommended.