If you want to get a true taste of the 'British' in the early New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, then look to Hull's own Salem, and this archival recording of demos In the Beginning. The band was formed following the split of another early NWOBHM band Ethel The Frog who was featured on the Metal for Muthas compilations alongside the likes of Iron Maiden, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Praying Mantis and Samson. Salem's tour of duty lasted from 1980 to 1983, but have subsequently become local legends and popular references for heavy metal historians as evidence of the early metal movement. Yet, they have reformed for a "one-off" gig in their hometown in autumn 2010, and my be doing some European festivals in 2011.
In the Beginning is representative of early NWOBHM sound and Salem specifically. They easily blended the melodic sensibility of hard rock with heavier arrangements of soaring vocals and stinging guitar over a steady rhythm. Mild compared to much of today's harsh metal standards, Salem blurred the lines between true melodic rock and heavy metal. At times, as on Make the Grade, Salem sounds like a heavy metal/hard rock version of 70's British pop. Then on Reach to Eternity they reach for a speed metal motif. The best piece, and most representative of that era, is the lengthy epic metal of The Keeper of the Keys.
There's a bit of redundancy here as several songs are covered twice having been on more than one demo. Also, sometimes the mix is choppy, with sound falling in and out. Otherwise, for an archival recording, Salem's In the Beginning is better than average and a must have for the NWOBHM fan or heavy metal collector. Recommended.