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Ear to the Ground: Salem’s Pot’s “Creep Purple”

While plenty of metal bands emulate occult acts of yesteryear, Swedish quartet Salem’s Pot puts an epic, elongated twist on an obscure formula.

The last few years have seen a resurgence in metal that’s largely informed by occult bands of the 1970s like Coven, Witchfinder General, Bedemon, and Pagan Altar. Today it’s not uncommon for groups like Ghost, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Purson, and Orchid to lace their lyrics with witchy, shadowy, and sometimes downright satanic lyrics.

Swedish four-piece Salem’s Pot is among those that infuse heavy doom into their take on occult metal. Their new EP, … Lurar Ut Dig På Prärien (“… Fooling You Out on the Prairie”) may at first appear short with only three tracks, but the first song, “Creep Purple,” clocks in at more than 14 minutes. It begins with the spooky kind of analog keyboard noises that are synonymous with Goblin’s soundtracks for vintage Dario Argento films, but then slogging juggernaut riffs come in and reward anyone who ever identified with Sleep’s Jerusalem—a 73-minute song that got Matt Pike and his bandmates kicked off the London Records label in the late ’90s.

Throughout the head-nodding tempos of “Creep Purple,” frontman Mentor Mike sings through a distorted, warbling effect similar to Ozzy’s performance in “Planet Caravan,” though the Sabbath worship here is very minimal. When the song picks up halfway through, guitarist Nateonomicon’s gargantuan fuzz makes Tony Iommi’s modded Dallas Rangemaster sound like a high-school electronics project.