Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review #238: Siege - Drop Dead (1993)


Year: 1993
Hardcore Punk/Grindcore
Lost and Found Records
Length: 16 Minutes
My Rating:

Siege was a Boston hardcore band that existed from 1983 to 1985... they are said by many to have been the first grindcore band ever. The band's music definitely was different -- really fast, really angry, with some of the most brutal recorded vocals ever for the time. Similar to Napalm Death, who would further define the genre, the band touches upon lyrical themes such as starvation in 3rd-world countries, social barriers, and injustices perpetuated through capitalism. The band's main line-up was Kevin Mahoney (vocals/saxophone), Kurt Habelt (guitar), Henry McNamee (bass guitar), and Rob Williams (drums).

Siege never saw release on an actual record of their own while they existed aside from an appearance on the compilation, "Cleanse the Bacteria" on Pusmort Records. The songs on this record were recorded in 1984 at Radiobeat Studios (same place where Deep Wound recorded their songs!). As far as I know, these are either all or almost all of the songs recorded by Siege in the studio, taken from two different sessions. Now LISTEN!

1. Drop Dead
Extremely fast! The vocals scream with a corrosive fucking shattering force! They remind me a bit of the early Meat Puppets vocal style... about as furious as it gets! Almost doesn't sound human, and it's pissed-off without sounding canned or contrived like a lot of more "extreme" bands today.

2. Conform
"Monkey see, monkey do, monkey has low I.Q." -- great!!! The verse section is slow and the chorus is really fast. The lyrics are about people who try to dress and even act like others in their social group/society/whatever they belong to just so they can be accepted... after all, being different is SCARY! FUCK YOU!!

3. Life of Hate
Awesome!! FAST, FURIOUS, FURIOUS, FAST!! The lyrics describe all those fucking bigots who direct their anger towards anyone of a different race/sexual orientation.

4. Starvation
Fast but not grindcore fast. The song describes the plight of those who are starving in the truest sense -- struggling to find a grain of rice to eat with bloated stomachs protruding from their skeletal bodies! According to the song, a big reason that these people cannot eat is because their leaders waste the money they could be using to help on buying more fucking weapons.

5. Armageddon
More extremity in speed. The lyrics of this song reveal how pointless and self-defeating the entire concept of war, especially a world war is. Don't buy into that shit. If you have the choice and any self-respect, don't join the military. I know a lot of people are wanting to do that right now because a lot of people feel they don't have options, but I really hope if you have any other options that you would not choose that one.

6. Walls
Another great... violent guitar riff and beat... the vocals are rough. Despite the aggression, this song has a positive (at least for most) message. It describes the ages-old borders between people, nations... social barriers suck. The song encourages the listener to help tear these walls down.

7. Cold War
It gets even more grinding and chock-full of fury. As you might guess, it's very fast, the guitar riff is great. There's even a real good guitar solo in the middle of the song. It describes the power exercised by the two nations who fought the Cold War and their obvious thirst/blindness for blood spilt.

8. Sad But True
This song recommends that we "disarm every bomb and unload every gun". Kevin also screams of the hypocritical supporters of "peace" who shed blood and participate in violence in order to spread their influence.

9. Grim Reaper
This is a very long song compared with the others. Slow, also. Feel that heavy vibration from the bass guitar. It doesn't sound so happy, does it? This song is more experimental than the others, with a lot of weird guitar noise shit going on in the background and a lot of saxophone-playing as well. Kevin's screams echo and bounce back and forth across the walls. The song's lyrics describe a man who is dying of lung cancer due to a mistake made by a doctor at the hospital, and his fear and eventual encounter with death, which is personified by a skull-faced grim reaper who cuts off his head... "OH GOD, I WANT TO LIVE!!" The song trudges on with Kevin shouting and ranting at the taker of life. Towards the end, the song collapses into an unstable explosion of musical chaos.

According to Discogs.Com (I do not know how reliable this info is so take it with a grain of salt), but Kevin and Rob from the band are now in a new band called the Spoils. Also, even though Kevin was the singer, Rob Williams actually wrote most of the songs for Siege. Also, in 1991, Seth Putnam (R.I.P.) from Anal Cunt became the vocalist for a briefly-reformed Siege. This version of the band only has one released song called "Cameras", which was featured on a compilation that came out 13 years later called "13 Bands Who Think You're Gay". So yes, if you like grindcore OR hardcore then Siege is a pretty under-rated and important band... they really pushed the limit musically and they still kick ass. I'm a young person, I should know!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Drop Dead
2. Walls

3. Cold War


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