SHINY OBJECTS: Siege Of Power - «This Is Tomorrow»
Dutch death metal royalty + Chris Reifert. Are you sure you need a review?
SIEGE OF POWER
’This Is Tomorrow’
Metal Blade Records
No, of course you don’t need some rando with a goat on his site’s logo to tell you that you need to give this record a listen. There’s Paul Baayens, Theo van Eekelen and Bob Bagchus making a racket and there’s Chris Reifert doing his throaty things - and then some! - on top of it. In case you’ve only become a metalhead in the last twenty minutes, that means Siege Of Power’s pedigree includes Asphyx, Thanatos, Hail Of Bullets and fucking Autopsy, just to mention the highlights of a very long list these four gentlemen generate with the combined weight of their CVs. Even if you are super distracted, this isn’t even Siege Of Power’s first album - ‘Warning Blast’ came out in 2018, but to be honest, compared with the metal excellence that oozes from ‘This Is Tomorrow’, that album title never felt so appropriate. It was really just a warning, a little intro to what these people could still do together.
Not that it doesn’t hold up still as a really cool record, it does, and do give it a spin if you missed it. One of the coolest things about it was that it wasn’t really what you’d expect from this combo, it wasn’t a sludgy, groovy, fat riff death metal extravaganza like what your brain probably conjured up when you first read that line-up. No, it was mostly a punked-up (they’re named after a Napalm Death song, after all), thrashy no-bullshit barrage of mostly 2-something minute songs that ripped shit up and left only destruction in their wake. It felt like the kind of spontaneous record that took like a week to write, record, mix, master and forget. And spontaneity is all well and cool, especially when it comes to a “supergroup” (sorry, first and last time I use the dreaded term, promise), but one couldn’t help but wish they had maybe fine-tuned the songs a little more, add a little catchiness to the rage, leave behind a few memories of riffs among the rubble. Well, that’s what ‘This Is Tomorrow’ does.
Much more varied than the debut - which only really switched gears with the dragged out doom of its last song ‘The Cold Room’ -, it gives you thrashing-all-around speed (like that perfect opener ‘Force Fed Fear‘ or the unstoppable ‘Oblivion’), sinister mid-paced stompers (the Slayeresque ‘Scavengers’ and the surprisingly, creepily sparse centrepiece combo that is ‘Ghosts Of Humanity’/’As The World Crumbles’), and yes, for sure, that punked up energy of the debut, like for instance with the two pre-closing songs, ‘The Devil’s Grasp’ and ‘No Salvation’. The actual closer is the title-track itself, where Chris gurgles and howls like a dying cacodaemon trying to emulate the vocal track on a scratched Autopsy record. It’s the sort of song that you imagine playing in your head when you’re battling an ungodly gigantic boss on Elden Ring, or one of those moments in good old Doom if you’re a former gamer who needs an older reference to get the magnitude of it all. Speaking of Chris’ vocals, by the way, this might well be one of the man’s most complete performances, which, I know, is a fucking huge thing to say. But even if he is one of extreme metal’s finest purveyors of ugly vocals in many a different style, rarely have we heard him adapt to the particular vibe of each song like this. I’m such a Reifert fanboy that the mere presence of that death grunt he lets loose eight seconds into ‘The Devil’s Grasp’ would warrant full marks from me already, but he really does go above and beyond here.
So, it’s chock-full of awesome songs, which helps, but a bunch of awesome songs sometimes an awesome album do not make. Fortunately, it also plays like a proper album, with evident thought being given to the tracklist, full of peaks and valleys, strong fast ragers coming after the heavy crawlers, flowing wonderfully from beginning to end without ever compromising the individual personality of each song. The aforementioned Slayer are indeed a reference point, perhaps the most frequent, throughout the record, but Paul Baayens, reportedly the main supplier of ideas for the album, also mentions Venom, Bathory and even Black Sabbath on a statement included with the press release. It makes sense - just about any good, long-lasting classic name of (mostly) 80s extreme metal could be thrown at this, even if for atmosphere alone, and it’d fit somehow. That, in 2023, my friends, is the mark of a great metal record. Cherish it!
Out on February 17th via Metal Blade Records. Find Siege Of Power on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.
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