Warning Blast

Metal Blade
rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. Conquest for What?
02. For the Pain
03. Bulldozing Skulls
04. Born into Hate
05. Torture Lab
06. Uglification
07. Trapped and Blinded
08. Diatribe
09. Warning Blast
10. Mushroom Cloud Altar
11. Lost and Insane
12. Bleeding for the Cause
13. Escalation 'Til Extermination
14. Privileged Prick
15. Short Fuse
16. Violence in the Air
17. It Will Never Happen
18. The Cold Room
19. Servant of Nothing (bonus)
20. Mushroom Cloud Altar (bonus)

SIEGE OF POWER is what death-doom fanatics have wet dreams about. The international supergroup consists of vocalist Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY),guitarist Paul Baayens (ASPHYX, ex-HAIL OF BULLETS),bassist Theo van Eekelen (ex-HAIL OF BULLETS, ex-GRAND SUPREME BLOOD COURT),and drummer Bob Bagchus (ex-ASPHYX, ex-SOULBURN, INFIDEL REICH). A logical assumption would be that the ensemble's debut, "Warning Blast", would be a serving of classic death-doom. Fortunately for all, however, there is somewhat of a break with expectations.

Instead of churning out a release of tried and true death-doom ripe purely in the trappings of the highly niche subgenre, the all-star lineup has convened for a musical expression that also embraces the early eighties hardcore punk and crossover influences that are close to its heart. And, quite simply, it really is exactly just that. Imagine AUTOPSY—clearly surfacing on the demonic doom crawling intro and outro of "Bulldozing Skulls"—and ASPHYX trying to repurpose itself through the spirit of CARNIVORE or SOD. SIEGE OF POWER truly is the meeting point of death-doom and classic hardcore punk, thrash and crossover.

Nearly everything is enjoyable because the songs flow so naturally and just sound so appealing, if any of the aforementioned styles are one's cup of tea. However, every rose has its thorn. Whether or not this was the case, and there's absolutely no indication to assume a lack of sincerity and authenticity in artistic expression elsewhere, but "Torture Lab" sounds as though it was performed by old metal men attempting to sound relevant for a younger generation. Its staggered chugging falls somewhere between metallic hardcore, a la HATEBREED, and groove metal. Ultimately, SIEGE OF POWER falls flat on its face with this track, but within the overall scope of "Warning Blast", it's but a small blemish that shouldn't be overstated but does stand out like a puss-filled zit on what is otherwise a beautiful face.

In truth, a comparison of SIEGE OF POWER to a beautiful face is anything but apropos. The quartet can more accurately be likened to the hateful, raggedy old man sitting alone at the end of a dive bar. In other words, SIEGE OF POWER is hideous and gnarly, to say the least. The comparison to CARNIVORE makes itself abundantly clear on a loose, raging track like "Diatribe", also Reifert's almost conversational and extremely enunciated vocal delivery in the style of Peter Steele circa CARNIVORE. Reifert's voice is noticeably less gruff than he is typically known for on a considerable amount of "Warning Blast"'s material, but his reliable coarse death vomiting is obvious on the slower material that generally mirrors the music of his main project.

"Warning Blast" ultimately proves to be an enjoyable listen, but like many products of supergroups, it isn't anything spectacular nor essential. There's an apparent sense of youthful enthusiasm underpinning the proceedings. Obviously, this is a case of a bunch of friends coming together to explore their passions. With that said, based solely upon "Warning Blast", one can reasonably question whether or not SIEGE OF POWER should have become anything more than a garage band. Thumbs up, but just slightly.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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