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SIREN- Iron Coffins Demo Tape (selfproduced, USA, 1985)

Siren_iron_coffins_DemoSiren_insert1Siren_insert2Siren_iron_coffins_cassetteSome bands are just better than others. Whatever it is – musicianship, talent, power, a good hand at composing – some bands will forever have something that others don’t. SIREN from Brandon / Florida was one of these bands.
If memory serves, I first heard about them from Thomas Schumacher, editor of one of the 80s best and most influential underground fanzines, “Metal Prophecy”. Thomas belonged to the rare species of free thinkers within the Metal underground and was a character of his own. When the Crossover – , Thrash – and Death Metal thing started to roll over the scene and seemed to create a wave of mediocre soundalikes, he had the idea of proving his assumption, that some fanzines would only too quickly jump on the bandwagon of the louder-faster-formula. He recorded DISCHARGE’s “Hear nothing” LP on 45 rpm onto blank tapes, made up a band name (which unfortunately I have forgotten), a demo cover and sent the cassette to some ‘zines, just to see what the reaction would be like. Well, more than one of these fanzines gave the “demo” a favorable review, much to Thomas’ bitter delight.

One of the bands he totally adored was SIREN. And no wonder he did! So I didn’t hesitate and ordered this demo tape and a stack of the band’s vinyl debut, the formidable «Metro Mercenary» 7″, from singer Doug Lee. The kind of music SIREN played had and has something rather eccentric to it. In the 80s, especially in the Metal underground, you’d find a lot of musical deviance from the norm. A new wind that was initiated by the worldwide success of the NWOBHM, inspired a lot of bands to coin their own musical style – in fact, when I look back, it sometimes would seem to me that almost every band with a release had a sound of its own back then. There were little norms, studios weren’t specialised in creating a Metal sound and a lot of important steps like sound production were still in the hands of either studio owners (many of them coming from the 70s and with a wide musical background) or the bands themselves. Regional traditions or specialities played an important role too: People were close, shared musicians or rehearsal spaces, the scene was sealed off from the rest of the music business and from the rest of the world especially.

These were all factors that were responsible for a band like SIREN to come up with a style so unique. I can’t say where they drew their influences from or what their perspective or goal was with their music, but it certainly wasn’t bound to be commercially successful. Maybe that’s easy to say from the outside and looking back, but the band’s slow fall into oblivion proves this right. The title song “Iron Coffins” opens up with the sound of an underwater radar and as soon as the melancholic riffing and the almost apathetic singing of Doug comes in, the walls seem to close around me. What a perfect song! How claustrophic and tense! And “Shadow of a future Past” just goes on from there. There’s still a bit of a naivety shining through – no, this is not “perfect” and that’s just what makes it so irrestibly grandiose. Ambitious yet accessible, with a good drummer and some highly memorable lead guitar harmonies, while Doug is somewhere out in space singing. “Before the Storm” is maybe a bit more traditional sounding, with a strong NWOBHM influence and a good rock feeling. “Over the Rainbow”, the final song, again is a complete smasher, drawing much of its tension from the two poles the singer and the guitarist are spanning.
Some bands are just better than others.

If you had mp3 files of this on your computer already, delete them now. You will not have heard the demo in this quality offered here.

Iron Coffins.mp3
Shadow of a future Past.mp3
Before the Storm.mp3

Over the Rainbow.mp3

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39 Comments

  1. charles

    I – LOVE – YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is some of the most emotionally touching metal I have heard in a long long time.

    [Reply]

    Rockerwitch Reply:

    I know this is a few years old,but Siren is planning a come back…their doing it right now and they sound real good. So look out ….Siren is back!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Aug-09 at 20:27 | Permalink
  2. Very nice! I’ve had the “Metro Mercenery” 7″ since the eighties, but for some reason never knew about this tape.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 05:11 | Permalink
  3. Rivethead

    finally you gave this demo the gbm-treatment in sound 😀 one if not thee best demo from the u.s. metal scene. I used to have a siren logo shirt and wore it until it literally fell apart.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 09:07 | Permalink
  4. chano

    The music isn’t bad but the vocals suck.

    [Reply]

    Rockerwitch Reply:

    how could you say that …. are you retarded??? He totally rocks!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 10:53 | Permalink
  5. Chano, mate – what’s wrong with you these days?! 😀 All these bitter comments.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 10:59 | Permalink
  6. Nikolas

    I’m just about to cry with these sounds man…
    Thank you for all this music man……
    I wish i had a credit card to donate some cash…
    I never had a credit card….shit….
    This is far the best music in the internet, you rule man… THANK YOU FOR ALL THESE POSTS MAN..
    NIK, GREECE…….. HEY YOU ALL PUNKMETALHEADS, give this holy man some cash……
    THANKS AGAIN……… I’m stuck in your post Bloodstar… I wish you could post one more from them…….

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 12:14 | Permalink
  7. Dave G

    Thanks Erich, it’s nice to have these songs back in my collection.

    You also nailed it in the following phrase. You somehow took my feelings and put them right there on the page…good job !

    “in fact, when I look back, it sometimes would seem to me that almost every band with a release had a sound of its own back then. There were little norms, studios weren’t specialised in creating a Metal sound and a lot of important steps like sound production were still in the hands of either studio owners (many of them coming from the 70s and with a wide musical background) or the bands themselves. Regional traditions or specialities played an important role too: People were close, shared musicians or rehearsal spaces, the scene was sealed off from the rest of the music business and from the rest of the world especially.”

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 16:12 | Permalink
  8. Rivethead

    Nikolas: I thought the same thing! This is so PERFECT I could cry when hearing these songs!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Aug-09 at 19:38 | Permalink
  9. dewey.decimal

    fuckshitupism is the best word I’ve ever heard.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Aug-09 at 04:21 | Permalink
  10. Nikolas

    Rivethead my friend, these songs took us back at these times that music was foul of soul, emotions power and anger. That’s music is all about i think…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Aug-09 at 11:35 | Permalink
  11. chano

    Nothing’s wrong, Erich. I just don’t like the vocals… 😉

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Aug-09 at 08:17 | Permalink
  12. Jay Thurston

    Internet rumor: Erich is getting married?? True or false?? : )

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Aug-09 at 16:31 | Permalink
  13. Fucker

    its okeeeeeee for metal. pretty depressinh
    g which I like.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Aug-09 at 17:58 | Permalink
  14. ian

    Just want to comment on yr comments re: ‘day the country died’ DVD – you’ve hit the nail on the head – I thought it was pretty embarrasing as well…I don’t need to see a photo gallery of mohawks & cartoon punks…seems nothing has changed since the days of UKDK! Shame, cos it coulda been so much better…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Aug-09 at 01:13 | Permalink
  15. fart panda

    i’m new on your blog, i was wondering if there is a special way to download mp3s. when i download/save link as – i get a file the size of 1kb. help!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Aug-09 at 20:28 | Permalink
  16. @ Fart Panda: No idea what the problem is. Maybe some of the readers will help.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Aug-09 at 21:21 | Permalink
  17. What's the Truth?

    Fart Panda: This happens to me occasionally, too. I just tested it, and it happened, but with repetition I succeeded. If you keep doing it, eventually it works. Unfortunately, I’m not exactly sure why it happens or how to fix it properly, but I do know that if you can eventually save it as an mp3 (when you click “save link as” and get taken to the window where you can choose where and under what name to save it, you can also see whether it saves as an html file, which will be the 1kb thing, or as an mp3.)

    Erich: I missed donations this year and haven’t been around much lately; my apologies. I promise you my firstborn child if I don’t donate next year (or can I donate now for next year?)

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Aug-09 at 01:29 | Permalink
  18. Conrad

    *impatiently awaiting a new post*

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Aug-09 at 09:43 | Permalink
  19. @ WTF: I take the child, if you don’t mind!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Aug-09 at 10:00 | Permalink
  20. Thank you, Erich. Shame the ‘Metro Mercenary’ tracks aren’t downloadable at the moment.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Aug-09 at 19:22 | Permalink
  21. I shall be re-ripping the tracks in improved quality soon and make a notice when they’re ready!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Aug-09 at 19:26 | Permalink
  22. Truth Be Told

    It is important to note that any information provided by Douglas Lee on the Brandon based band “Siren” is to be regarded as fabrication of a delusional metal fan. All subject matter provided by Mr. Lee should be viewed as highly suspect and self serving but definitely not as fact. One case and point; where are the many photos of the rest of the band. Like the various individuals who actually formed “Siren” and wrote the songs Douglas is taking all the credit for. The vocals should be referred to as the “ten year old girl squealings of Douglas Lee”, but never as singing. Dig deeper metal fans and you’ll find the reality of this band and its legacy. Trust me, in no way did it ever begin and continue with Mr. Douglas Lee at the helm.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 02-Sep-09 at 18:46 | Permalink
  23. Rhonda

    Ok,Truth Be Told! First of all I am not a fabrication of a delusional metal fan.I’m the real thing and I know metal. First off Doug Lee formed Siren,I happen to know Doug and every other member that is or ever was in the band.It did start with Mr. Lee.And he is an awesome song writer and he did write those songs.As far as his vocal ability it’s plain to see you have some sort of hearing problem or you simply have no taste and you surely don’t know what true metal is.So I suggest you keep your mouth shut about anything that has to do with metal or Siren!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Sep-09 at 03:52 | Permalink
  24. What’s going on here?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Sep-09 at 09:41 | Permalink
  25. Slice of Hate

    I’ll TELL YOU what’s going on here friend and it’s WAR!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Oct-09 at 02:06 | Permalink
  26. Keep It True

    Don’t believe me, contact the copyright office. This is not a matter of opinion only, but legality, reality and the continued fraudulent practices of Douglas coming to a much welcome end. Karma is a cruel mistress, eh Doug? The hostility that misguided fans generate is an exercise in futility when there are attorney’s to protect those who rightfully own and created the material of Siren. So if anyone has any further questions, please do not hesitate to post them and I will be more than happy to post the answers.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-09 at 20:56 | Permalink
  27. Here’s one question: What’s the problem between you & Doug Lee?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-09 at 21:01 | Permalink
  28. Keep It True

    Oops! Wrong name. Must have been a Freudian slip.
    Don’t believe me, contact the copyright office. This is not a matter of opinion only, but legality, reality and the continued fraudulent practices of Mr. Lee coming to a much welcome end. Karma is a cruel mistress, eh Doug? The hostility that misguided fans generate is an exercise in futility when there are attorney’s to protect those who rightfully own and created the material of Siren. So if anyone has any further questions, please do not hesitate to post them and I will be more than happy to post the answers. Hating is such a waste of time and energy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-09 at 21:05 | Permalink
  29. Truth Be Told

    Truth be told is “Keeiping It True” that is!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-09 at 21:06 | Permalink
  30. Truth Be Told

    There is no problem what so ever. He is not telling the fans the truth and he is trying to portray himself as something he is not. This band still exists and is a legal entity. He is obviously not aware, but will be soon enough.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-09 at 21:10 | Permalink
  31. Pär

    Please continue this discussion in private so we don´t have to read this crap.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Oct-09 at 08:13 | Permalink
  32. Truth Be Told

    This is America. Land of the free, this includes freedom of speech. My suggestion would be to grow a pair and change the topic. That is, to something of your preference of course. Hey! This might be fun, how about talking about music and the person who ACTUALLY created and performed it! No ill will directed at you “Slice of Cake” or Doug as everyone else knows you as.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Oct-09 at 22:57 | Permalink
  33. Nope, this is not America. This is the internet and within this particular cluster of the internet, I’m some sort of a super-Obama. If you continue to make use of the comments field as platform for the same accusations over and over again, I will have to delete further comments of this kind.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Oct-09 at 23:12 | Permalink
  34. elliott

    who cares. this band rocks. i don’t care who wrote the music or anything. this guy is a good vocalist.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Oct-09 at 02:14 | Permalink
  35. All Powerful Oz

    Doug Lee *is* Siren. Period. End of story. And I was there.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 29-Oct-09 at 16:11 | Permalink
  36. Truth Be Told

    Hey Admin. I love you!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Dec-09 at 20:42 | Permalink
  37. Corey

    Wow, that got interesting for a minute! – lol. Back in “the day,” I dod a fanzine called Metaletter and featured Siren from their first demo onward….I ALWAYS only talked with/communicated with Doug, so I’m not sure what the animosity is/was/will be…always thought his vocals were incredibly unique (almost apathetic is a dead-on description.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Dec-09 at 18:58 | Permalink
  38. Nathan G

    The story about the Discharge scam was the funniest thing I have read for quite some time – thank you!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-May-11 at 19:49 | Permalink
  39. philip

    the band thomas schumacher ‘created’ by recording discharge on 45 was civil disobedience

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-Mar-12 at 00:48 | Permalink

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