The English seaside town of Bournemouth might seem like an unlikely place to spawn what might well be the next big thing in goth-tinged pop metal – unless said next big thing was comprised entirely of septuagenerians in Robert Smith-approved frightwigs – but these are undoubtedly strange times we’re living through… so step forward South of Salem – it’s nice to make your acquaintance…

At their best, on tracks like No Plague Like Home or Made To Be Mine, South of Salem marry the melodic superiority of Black Veil Brides to a very British earthiness with possibly world-dominating results. There really is a sense when you listen to this record that something very special is percolating indeed on England’s South Coast. Cold Day in Hell simulates what might happen if Avenged Sevenfold and W.A.S.P. were to be closeted together for an extended period (I think you’ll be pleased with the results), but for every comparison you can draw from the music you’ll be equally left with the feeling that South of Salem are very much their own men.

If there’s maybe one quibble it’s that producer Scott Atkins has made them just a little too slick; Sweden’s Sister, who you might imagine to be South of Salem’s big rivals at the top of the goth metal premier league should such a thing actually exist, are gut wrenchingly heavy in comparison, and though SoS are never less than compelling musically, a little bit of oil under the fingernails wouldn’t go amiss occasionally. But that’s probably just personal taste rather than critical acumen speaking.

Whatever, with the formula they’ve come up with South of Salem look to be sitting on something of a goldmine, even in these financially-straightened COVID times.I look forward to seeing them dominate arenas worldwide in the years to come!

The Sinner Takes It All releases on September 25th.