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SIEGE- Drop Dead 7″EP (Bootleg, Switzerland, 1989)

The escalation in terms of speed and aggression in both Hardcore and Metal had led to a totally new sound in the late 70s and especially the early 80s: Never before in the annals of music had there been such a wild, uncompromising and highly (un-)talented bunch of thousands of bands and individuals worldwide, who in a true firestorm ripped from continent to continent an just overthrew most of what the canon had tried to conserve as “art” or “music”. Sure, it’s trivial to mention all the epxerimental and avantgardist music of the 20th century, but we’re talking about something completely different here.  But whom am I telling this; you’re probably here because at one point or another in these roughly said 30 years of storming the bastions of what used to be music and its ugly aftermath since the 90s, you had become infected too. The fact that since a couple of years, Hardcore and extreme Metal have found their way into the midst of the entertainment business and thus society, sometimes leaves the pioneering days seem like one big unstructered scheme. Music enthusiasts become archeologists, sometimes for the good, sometimes what they come up with is so bizarre it leaves one speechless (check this “Grind your Mind – The history of Grindcore” CD here; some real experts were at work with this, obviously).

SIEGE weren’t the fastest, nor the most aggressive – they just were better than most other bands. The synkopic drumming especially on the three songs on “Cleanse the Bacteria”, the vocals, the heavy sounding guitars and the incredible riffing (which on the contrary wasn’t heavy at all) created a sound that was, well maybe it was not new, but it sounded new. No matter what you say, all the preceding bands (and you know how much I love them) – SIEGE took things to a new level and, in the long run even more importantly so, they influenced a whole new generation. The core members of what was becoming the second generation of Death Metal (a.k.a. Grindcore) were all influenced by SIEGE, whether they knew it or they didn’t.
Long before CDs and internet, the two SIEGE demos made their way through the network of activists like heavy steamrollers. This caused some weird effects: For one, there were a few people who handled SIEGE like their own. They wouldn’t freely copy the demo to everybody for instance. Maybe some of them will read this here and remember it and tell a bit about this. Then, the “Drop Dead” demo was altered twice: First change was by simply cutting off the annoying “Grim Reaper” track. Second was initiated by a guy who is now one of the big bosses in international Metal (chief executive of one of the biggest labels), who added weird sounds and stuff to the song “Drop Dead” and claimed it was some kind of a special mix, so he could climb up some ranks in the trader community, haha. Weird, yeah, but that’s how things were before the internet levelled everything with all good and bad aspects of it.

Well, in 1987 I thought it was time to release a vinyl bootleg of “Drop Dead”, but it had taken until early 1989 until it was finally out. As the fundings were very short at this time, only 300 copies were made, 100 each on green, blue and red vinyl (a handful of brown vinyl copies and very few testpressing too). I’ve always had mixed feelings about bootlegs. When I was a teenager and a total Heavy Metal fan and the first vinyl bootlegs were released, they were the ultimate collector pieces. They sounded like shit in most cases and were poorly packaged – but dude, they were just it. The greatest thing to have! I always felt they wouldn’t do the bands harm, au contraire, they helped to make them become more popular. Still, it can’t be denied that nobody but the bands should have the right to decide all things concerning their music – a dilemma when it comes to mp3-blogging still. I was in short two letter contact with Kurt from SIEGE just about the time the band dissolved, so all in all, I thought it would be okay to bootleg the demo, especially in such a minimal press run. Thomas with whom I had run the label Off The Disk back then claimed he had sent 10% of the pressing to the band and the band members had given their okay and it always made me feel comfortable to believe his stories. Nowadays, I doubt this was the truth as he was one treacherous bastard who ripped off so many along the way.
Anyway, it came how it had to come with the SIEGE boot: A lot of people got upset by it for various reasons. I received a few letters saying it was wrong to make this popular (“selling out the history of Hardcore” and other nonsense), others complained the small press run, others the immediate rise of the prices the boots were sold for (we sold them at basically a non-profit price). Well, looking back, I think I did the right thing. It helped to dramatically increase the popularity of the band, at least in Europe, nobody really lost or gained much with it. I still like the bootleggish flavor it has: The crappy cover, the colored wax, the hand stamped labels (by the way, the same stamps were were also used to stamp the concert tickets of the first two Celtic Frost gigs ever, haha). The lads from Active Minds re-booted “Drop Dead” in 1990 or 91 on their well known label “Revoltation”, but that one had such a shitty sound it didn’t do the band justice. Then, said Thomas decided to press another 200 copies of my version, on yellow vinyl with a different sleeve. Of course, like so many times before and after, he “forgot” to tell me about the actions of him, but in the end, he was generous enough to spare me two copies of it. Couldn’t complain, could I.

I have never heard the Deep Six reissue of “Drop Dead”, but I guess they used the incredible job of Lost & Found Records who had spent a lot of money in frshing up the sound with what was state of the art computer technology in the mid 90s. This rip here (minus the crackling from bad storage, dumbo me) reflects how the demo sounded. I guess those of you who don’t own neither the Lost & Found bootleg nor the (legitimate?) Deep Six reissue better get these.

I thought I had to put down the history behind this 7″ one day (at least in a real sketchy form) and well, here we go. Hope you enjoyed reading a bit and now please tell everybody your own thoughts, corrections or whatever crosses your mind (if you still have one).

Drop Dead.mp3
Life of Hate.mp3
Grim Reaper.mp3

«It had to be done.» And with greetings to Kurt from Erich Megawimp.

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