King Night - Salem
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Throughout all of King Night, the feeling of a séance being held or a spell being cast is palpable, but Salem's ability to be affecting and menacing at the same time is pure alchemy.
  2. Dec 14, 2010
    50
    It's been a hella long time coming and may, ultimately, be about as soul curdling as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but Salem's first blood King Night is still an enjoyably daft crypt kicker.
  3. King Night, accordingly, finds Salem pushing their sound far enough to create artistic distance from the rest of the pack.
  4. 80
    Played loud, King Night is a widescreen hallucinogen. [Oct 2010, p.104]
  5. Exhilarating end-of-days from the US trio. [Oct. 2010, p. 113]
  6. With a backstory that includes gas-station hooking and heroin addiction, Michigan electro-extremists Salem are spooky straightaway. Then their quicksand sound sucks you down.
  7. Dec 21, 2010
    50
    The rest of King Night is, for the most part, similarly forgettable.
  8. King Night is sick. Not just in the sense that it's outstandingly good but in the fact that it seems extremely unwell.
  9. 40
    Seedy, feel-bad music. Half-dead, sometimes gorgeous, and willfully dumb beyond repair. Call it alienation porn. Sound awful? Well, it is kind of awful--and rivetingly so.
  10. By creating a world so comic-book vivid, each track stands and walks in its own desolate, saturnine world. But it's a world where the dead want to be alive and the alive would rather be dead. The creation of warped minds, Salem just made a monster.
  11. Salem deal in fragments and ambiguities; their music is unmistakably dark, in all the senses above and more, and saps power from the tension they set up between reality and dream. But there's light and beauty there too.
  12. As the Chicagoan trio defines it on their debut album King Night, witch-house is a curious blend of aesthetics.
  13. Oct 26, 2010
    80
    Whether or not you think antipathy and self-destruction are legitimate themes for music, or you feel that even the pretty remote handling of rap that Salem has done as three white kids is too much, you can't dismiss what started all this hub-bub in the first place: the fact that the trio has crafted a sound that still doesn't really sound like anything else. Whatever else it does, King Night stays true to that.
  14. Mar 17, 2011
    80
    They might be unreliable performers, but their studio work is forward-thinking and beautiful in an oddly satisfying, downtrodden way.
  15. This is not a one-hit wonder situation, or even an album with only one good song. With King Night, Salem exhausts all its resources in a singular moment, which leaves the rest of the record to suffer through its own paralysis and mediocrity.
  16. For all the calculated horror show element, much of King Night is very pretty and nuanced, trading in shivering beauty rather than infernal fury, with an aching world weariness running Marlatt and Holland's more lucid vocal turns. It's just a shame Donoghue has to dopily blunder in there every now and again, the dimwit henchman to his evil scientist colleagues.
  17. Oct 22, 2010
    82
    With less vocals, more warp and looser production, it's a witchier, Midwestern answer to its London, dub-driven predecessors.
  18. Salem evokes the seismic thrill of a good Gucci drop alongside all of Nico's ghostly beauty within the very framework and timbre of their productions. The result is no less than one of 2010's most exciting debuts.
  19. The songs on this debut album are lethargic, syrupy, and sinister, with the rough-edged peaks of a maxed-out mix.
  20. Rave horns echo like WW2 sirens being played on a fucked-up ghetto blaster while the cast of House Of 1000 Corpses do their best Gucci Mane impressions--an interesting, if perhaps slightly contrived, oddity.
  21. Dec 22, 2010
    80
    Their debut album King Night defies genre tagging and, for once, lives up to the drooling media accolades already smeared on it. [Dec 2010, p.54]
  22. Jan 11, 2011
    80
    In the end, the album proves that it is the night that is the king of the dark.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Oct 10, 2010
    9
    For me the album of the year in an exceptional year, because of a whole raft of reasons. It sounds obvious but the range of influences is so contemporary and original. Seems a blur of Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Crystal Castles, wigged out dubstep, hiphop, JJ, electro, Gary Newman and even the Cocteau Twins. Like MIA's Kala it seems to the years most "now" release. Ive been flogging this album and How to Dress Well's debut to death and am surprised by Pitchforks low score for this - it will always be divisive - theyre both great albums but Salem shade How to Dress Well, it must be one of the most glaring omissions from Pitchforks 'best new music' tag this year. Really interesting outfit, even the ugly stupid rap parts seem to add to the idiosyncrasy. I don't think this is getting the kudos for the consistency of the tracks, all are worthwhile and most very good to excellent, def one of the top ten releases of a stellar year. Full Review »
  2. Oct 2, 2011
    10
    Prepare yourself for one of the gloomiest albums youâ
  3. Nov 7, 2010
    7
    Overall its good. There are a few songs that sound too similar to each other and a few that sound cheesy. Hound and Redlights are the only songs that really stand out. Full Review »