Horrible things will have to be done today, thousands will die as all true death metal lunatics arise in presentation of ‘Darkside Legions‘, the second full-length album from New Jersey-based ‘old school’ tormentors SIEGE COLUMN. Little can suffice in preparation as the duo’s impending weapon of 80’s extreme thrash, black and death metal purity storms into view. Without question they’ve carefully forged this second record to fruition over the last few years to ensure maximum impact, crafting a supreme run of songs that are undeniably worth repeating. If you know what these guys are all about, whip that mouse wheel down hard and scroll straight to the full stream. If you’d like some insight into the goals of the band’s sound, their vision for the band and where they’re at in terms of righteous ‘old school’ heavy metal mindset I’ve conducted an interview with the band to kick things off:
Φ Siege Column’s sound is raw by reputation and I’d naturally assumed that had been a stance in defiance as much as it was a stylistic preference. Have you consciously aimed for the reality of a live performance and/or the feeling of a classic demo tape on ‘Darkside Legions’?
(JOE) From a songwriting standpoint we do not have anything in mind except for writing the music we want to listen to. From a recording and engineering standpoint, the object with the sound on Darkside Legions was to have a recording that fit the songs themselves. Almost all of the music we are influenced by is from the past, so I guess our benchmark of sound is closer to the “classic demo tape” like you said. I think a lot of people see metal described as being “raw” and just assume that means it’s half-assed and with no effort. There was a lot of premeditation and effort put into making Darkside Legions sound the way it does.
(SSK) We handle all recording of the band and do so with minimal equipment which has led us naturally to a rawer sound like the bands that have influenced us. I agree with Joe’s sentiments on what raw really means, as we put a lot of effort and thought into songwriting and the way the final finished product comes out. Now that we have been playing out more regularly I believe some of that live raw intensity has influenced our process for Darkside Legions.
Φ Does an obsession with unrealistic (high) fidelity and glossy, polished death metal shit create the wrong sort of expectations for folks just getting into death metal?
(JOE) I think it’s always a question of preference, but if your only exposure to metal is the stuff that’s all been sound-replaced, re-amped and quantized – you are missing out on a lot. For people just getting into death metal I think it’s really important to hear everything that’s come before. The best death metal already happened and its only getting worse.
(SSK) The concept of spending thousands of dollars to have someone over produce you with triggers, reamping, or throwing layers of other fake shit on top just makes no sense to me. I’m sure to the uninitiated listening to a current bands studio record vs the Necrovore demo is going to be night in day but I think the people who truly worship death metal begin to understand the nuances of an unpolished recording and how the personality of the band and the vibe of the time can come through. I agree with Joe that for people getting into death metal in 2020, through whatever entry point they find, they should look back on the history of the genre and see what came first. We all like Obituary and Bolt thrower but digging deeper into the genre will open up new worlds of sick shit to check out.
Φ What do you think of the drop A-tuned moshcore they’re calling ‘caveman’ death metal today? Does it ever hold up or is it just another lazy canned trend?
(JOE) I actually like down-tuning quite a lot, but drop tuning is for 7th graders. I don’t totally understand what “caveman” is intended to relay. Do people think we are cavemen? I have no idea. I’m never sure if it’s a pejorative for poor performance or a compliment for intentionally basic guitar technique. In either case, if it’s a trend then it will not last. If any kind of extreme metal has become a trend, then it’s probably not extreme enough.
(SSK) I think someone adding a few blast parts to a bad metalcore song doesn’t do much for death metal but i see more of the “caveman” stuff as trying to pay homage to the bands before them than just downtuned garbage. Like all trends there are always a few bands that do it well and stand out and then a sea of utter garbage that crams the touring circuits, record stores, and the internet. The people and bands that get it will remain and the rest will be onto the next trend is for the world of metal to suck up.
Φ Who are the true pillars of 80’s death metal in your mind? The immortal stuff, not necessarily the important formative tapes.
(JOE) To me death metal was a genre built on pushing thrash metal even harder and faster, so the “pillars” for me aren’t necessary “death metal” by modern convention. Everything I like in extreme metal goes back to Bathory. The others would be Slayer, Celtic Frost, Sepultura, Venom and Repulsion. There are so many others but its probably not valuable to just list every band we listen to.
(SSK) Yeah, Hellhammer/Celtic frost essentially nailed the tone and riffs of everything that would become cool in metal and punk for the rest of time. Bands who took what was currently happening and pushed it to the extremes like Slayer, Bathory, Blasphemy, Sarcófago are what I care about. These are obvious classics but there is something genuine in these early records and how they pushed the boundaries of what people thought was extreme to insane places. Think about the first time you heard ‘Fallen Angel of Doom’ or ‘Show No Mercy’? That shit twisted my dick tip back.
Φ I’ve always gotten the impression that Death Strike is an important influence for your aesthetic and sound, does that hold any water?
(JOE) I’ve never actually listened to Death Strike. Maybe I should? I know they are related to Master. If we’re just talking about extreme bands active in the mid-80s, I don’t think anything could be heavier than Bathory and Vulcano.
(SSK) The Master unreleased ’85 LP is a fucking bulldozer. I like Speckman’s work overall but I’m not sure Death Strike has a real direct influence on the band but the man’s career as a whole does.
Φ Am I hallucinating or does ‘Darkside Legions’ work in more speed metal influence in terms of rhythm this time around?
(JOE) I don’t think you’re hallucinating. We are big speed metal fans.
(SSK) We love speed and death.
Φ Without any tours likely in the near future, what is the best way to show support for Siege Column?
(JOE) The best way to show support is to get a record or tape and listen to the entire album all the way through. For all of you in need of new mosh-armor, we’ll be printing some new shirts soon as well.
(SSK) Like Joe said, grab the record and actually listen to it in its entirety more than once to understand the Darkside legions. We will have new shirts when the record is released as well if you want to show the world that you are a sick fuck who supports evil metal.
Φ Can we expect a third, fourth, fifth album in the coming years? More Altar of Gore or Death Fortress in the works? Do you always have things brewing as inspiration comes, or take it on one thing at a time?
(JOE) I will keep making this stuff as long as I have the inspiration. SIEGE COLUMN is still moving at full velocity and there will definitely be more material in the future. There are a lot of new things in the pipeline right now to keep an eye out for in 2020.
(SSK) The inspiration to channel the old ways is always there and we will continue to produce extreme evil metal. There are many releases on the way from the N.V.N.M. cult that will be out soon, check the new NJ METAL ATTACK Compilation [Vol. 5] for a taste.
Φ Thank you!
Thanks goes to Nuclear War Now! Productions, the band, and their representatives for the opportunity to present an early glance at the riff-and-roar of it all, which officially arrives on all formats this Saturday August 15th via Bandcamp, the Nuclear War Now! Productions store, and if you’re in Europe Iron Bonehead is your best option alongside the usual distribution channels. Make sure and pick up the LP, bug ’em for shirts, and support all manner of earnest underground bands/musicians like Siege Column who are keeping the true spirit of extreme metal alive via fuckin’ death!
Per the press release:
NWN! demons Siege Column return with their second long-play, Darkside Legions. Instead of jumping to new studios and engineers, the band continues to use simple equipment and production tools as they have in the past. If you are looking for something polished, advanced, or otherwise consistent with industry standards, prepare to be disappointed.
What you have here, instead, is advanced songwriting, better vocal delivery, and savage energy across the board. Siege Column focused on solely making a great metal album that balances being unique and remaining familiar. That balance, combined with the band’s complete disregard for what their peers are doing, resulted in a unique record that is totally unlike what you hear in the “overground” metal world.
Siege Column represent evil metal before subgenres put every style into a box and the period before there were clear lines of what extreme thrash could sound like. One listen of Darkside Legions will make you understand that this is the kind of album you can put on and accidentally crash your car to.
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