Salem interview (10/2005)

With: Ze'ev Tananboim [Vocals]
Conducted by: Undercraft
Published: 20.10.2005

Band profile:


1. Hello and welcome! For all the people that doesn't know about Salem, please introduce yourself!

Salem started in the middle of the 80's as one of the world's pioneers in extreme black/death metal act, at the end of the decade I made a line up chance, which led the band to more professional form reflected in the debut album "Creating Our Sins" released in 92 by the German label Morbid Records.
In 94 the second album "Kaddish" was released by Morbid as well, followed by a limited edition 7ep picture dis "Dying Embers" to promote the album, at the same year the band appeared on MTV's "Headbangers Ball" and chosen by Kerrang Mag as one of the world's most promising bands in metal.
In 1997 the band recorded the third album "A Moment Of Silence" produced and mixed by Colin Richardson (Machine Head, Fear Factory, Cradle Of Filth and more).
After the recording, a deal was supposed to be signed between the Israeli label BNE which released the album in israel to Noise Records (nowdays Sanctuary) but the deal failed because of conflict between us and BNE.
The album was released only in Israel in 1998 and hardly distributed worldwide, done with a budget of 100,000dollars as highly standard release.
After 3 years of struggling with BNE, we finally released ourselves from the contract and in 2001 we signed a deal with System Shock Germany (Vader) and released "Collective Demise" the same year.
In 2004 we released a DVD "Live Demise" and in 2005 we released the album "Strings Attached".
The band members are:
Lior Mizrahi (Guitars), Nir Nakav (Drums), Michael Goldstein (Bass), Nir Gutrayman (Guitars) and me, Zeev Tananboim (Vocals).
For more details

2. Most of your lyrics deal with the struggle of Jewish people, how do you manage to approach those subjects without sounding too political?

It is very important to us to reflect and deliver the domestic situation here to our listeners, but we just show the situation as it is from our side.
As for the subjects about the World War 2, we show the tragic things that happened and I hope it will never happen again, same for the terror.

3. You include folk elements in your songs, but never overdo it, have you planned doing something more Folk-oriented later on your career? (Something like Orphaned Land or Melechesh).

Salem, since "Creating Our Sins" we used middle eastern patterns, we made it 13 years ago without overdo it, I am glad that bands took it further with the time, but I was never been attracted doing it more extreme as I will take the band to places which I don't really want to go.

4. You keep switching genres with each album and you experiment with genres such as Death, Black and Doom Metal, Why do you change so much?

When we write the music we don't plan what will happen, our life here progress us and make it more natural with the years, also in the albums themselves you can find different songs, for example "The Fading" and "Winters Tear" which are different, or in "A Moment Of Silence" you can find "Symbiosis" and "An Unwanted Guest" which are different, but they all even if different in the musical approach, have the Salem colour and our own motives, as artists we try not to repeat ourselves.

5. You've been around for a while now, and after 20 years of being a band, which genre is the one you feel more comfortable?

The years progressed me and both the band, we try to find the best in every style, and in every genre I find different highlights, but Black and Death metal are my favourites.

6. How do you see the Israel Metal scene nowadays?

The scene is in great shape, I feel it all the time when we play live, more then 1000 people come to see us, the crowd is great and into the music, growing all the time, and there are a lot of new promising bands as Moonskin, Arallu, Bartolomeus Night, Eternal Gray, Hangman, Betzefer, Leahvoth, Orphaned Land, Spawn Of Evil, Abed, Solitary, Matricide, Nail Within, Azazel and I am sorry if forgot someone but there are a lot of good bands.

7. Which bands you could say are your influences? Have you listened anything lately worth mentioning here?

During the years we came to point when we don't try to be influenced but to come with our own thing, the bands I like listen to are: Behemoth, Mayhem, Slipknot, Satyricon, but after all, I always find myself prefer the old stuff as Kreator, Death, old Sepultura, Sodom, Destruction, Bathory and more.

8. How does the idea of doing Strings Attached comes to life? How did you came with the idea of releasing a revamped compilation of your songs?

The idea came from offer we got from Oron from Metalist Prod to do a gig with strings quartet, after a band meeting we decided to record songs like this, the arrangements made by Nir Nakav our drummer, we thought it will be the best and interesting to do this instead of releasing a best of cd, I think that as an artist I want to interest the fans all the time and by changing the songs and take them to another dimension we kind of created a "new album" sounds like.

9. I must say, the string quartet brings a whole new perspective to Salem music, and to be frankly I loved every second of it. The string arrangements is going to be a regular thing on Salem's music from now on? Or is only for this album?

Thank you very much for the compliment, it is hard to say what the future will bring, but I can tell you that things change a lot in the studio, as for now it is hard for me to say how the next album will sound like.

10. I have to be honest with all of you, I was never fan of Salem's cover arts, but now for Strings Attached you delivered a awesome cover art and inlay design! What was different this time when choosing the artist/cover art?

Thanks for your honest opinion, the art made by Nir Gutrayman our guitarist, we really worked hard on this one and had more time, this time we made the cover from the start of the working process instead of doing it after the recording so he had a lot of time to try things.

11. What are the plans now? Are you going to the studio soon? Or you're going to rest a while? What can we expect from the new material of Salem? Is been a while since any new material is out.

Now days we are in the studio again, recording a special project of the band, we also finish the pre production for a new studio album, which we will hopefully record around a couple of months, the new material is different from "Collective Demise".

12. Thank you very much for your time, and best of lucks!

Thank you Kike for the interview and you support in Salem.


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