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SIEKIERA- Atak 7″EP Bootleg (no label, Canada, ca. 2000)

When I was in Poland in 1991 to visit Auschwitz (Oswjecim, as the village is called in polish), I also met some local anarchists who were quick to invite me to stay at their place. Actually, it was one of the guy’s parents’ home, a tiny apartment in one of these horrible and iconic plattenbaus. Communication was not easy. The iron curtain had fallen not too long ago and people were extremely enthusiastic to meet travelers from foreign countries, such as me. Hardly anybody spoke english, you could get a full meal including wine for $3 and the air was so authentically eastern-block still, my white shirt had turned yellow by the next day.
The three people lived in one room, which was a very small living room and in order to make me feel comfortable, the parents who were in their 50s, moved their stuff into the bathroom and made the bathtub their bed. I insisted that I would sleep in the tub and it would be no problem at all, I tried to talk them out of this plan, with gestures and all, but they just smiled, brought me tea and mineral water and cookies what not. Later that night, the parents sleeping in the bathtub, the other guy (whose name I have forgotten) and I tried our best to find ways to communicate with each other, but it was not easy. At one point, he pulled out some cassettes, among them the SIEKIERA demo. I knew this band, as during the later 80s, polish hardcore bands such as Dezerter, Armia or Siekiera were quite popular in tape trader circuits and Dezerter had some vinyl available. I remember how we just sat there, in the boiling and somewhat poisoned heat of the polish night, played Siekiera and both made gestures of adoration and pleasure.

Sometimes, you would hear that SIEKIERA sounded like Siege, but that is not correct. To me, they sound like the concrete mixer version of south american bands like Ohlo Seco, Lixomania, Colera et al. There’s something deeply devastating about the sound of early SIEKIERA (they later morphed into more accessible post-punk, still totally awesome, like their classic first LP «Nova Aleksandria» from 1985). The early Hardcore tracks are of an incredible intensity, a very heavy existentialism and a rarely heard immediacy. Some will remember Mykel Board’s standard MRR-mantrum in the 80s: “How much punk rock do you hear in Russia?”. Well, I’m not so familiar with russian punk of the 80s, but I do hear a lot of “punk rock” in polish hardcore of the 80s.
When doing a little research on SIEKIERA, I found this incredible, amazing footage on youtube. The black and white pictures, the enthusiasm, the aggression leaves you speechless. In 1984, after years of confrontation between the workers and the Solidarnosc union and the state, Poland was on the brink of civil war or a soviet intervention. Keep this in mind when watching this footage and playing the songs from this bootleg compilation 7″, that features some of the best of Siekiera’s hardcore punk years (see scans for details). I have no idea what the song “Atak” is about, but it sounds like a declaration of war.

 Niosac wronieserca.mp3
Burekdobry pies.mp3
Atak.mp3
Fala.mp3
Siekiera.mp3
Zabity ty.mp3
Rana kklta.mp3
Woyowniku zabykh.mp3

20 Comments

  1. Rivethead

    AAAARRGHHHH!! fuckshitup-ism? FUCKSHITUP-ISM!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Mar-12 at 19:53 | Permalink
  2. Armando

    Totally awesome footage, I had only heard their new wave-ish stuff which I love. But this is far way better.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Mar-12 at 19:53 | Permalink
  3. Dewey Decimal

    Fantastic post. I had a similar experience in the summer of 1991–minus the awesome backdrop of Auschwitz and Polish anarchists. On the train from posh Stockholm headed to Berlin, we decided to get off in Rostock and spend the night. Scratching our chins about where to go, the two German kids who had been sitting across from us on the train invited us to stay at their flat. They spoke no English, we spoke no German. All we had was music and Russian vodka and the kindness of total strangers.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Mar-12 at 20:12 | Permalink
  4. Marcelo

    Great post Erich, just love polish bands very much and of course Siekiera and I must say I listen to it two times in the week at least, ask Dave! I will take a look on this video right now!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Mar-12 at 20:26 | Permalink
  5. Tomus

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1aeuuOpYpw&feature=related

    check out this link to a Moskwa demo from 84.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Mar-12 at 05:07 | Permalink
  6. Tomus

    Trybuna Brudu from 86-87

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSUPaSKH-nw&feature=related

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Mar-12 at 05:09 | Permalink
  7. Tomus

    Karcer demo 87

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cgm-mbzD4Q

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Mar-12 at 05:10 | Permalink
  8. Tomus

    Dezerter from 1982

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i27IoDMqqE&feature=related

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Mar-12 at 05:16 | Permalink
  9. Jack

    There is a Polish band I heard years ago that sounded kinda like late 80s Voivod or maybe Killing Joke and I can’t remember their name for the life of me. I think it started with an A.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Mar-12 at 07:01 | Permalink
  10. howardx

    aah good to see you back admin

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Mar-12 at 15:23 | Permalink
  11. Peter

    Killer post! Packe of RT/Pusrad was at that festival in 84 if my memory serves me. I think it was him and Goran, singer of Swedens S.O.D. that went there.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Would be great if Packe could share some memories!

    [Reply]

    Peter Reply:

    Yeah I wish so too but I doubt it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Mar-12 at 23:13 | Permalink
  12. GBMused2begooderrbad

    Dude I can’t believe you haven’t posted the Vyllies yet. Is your usual retardation getting worse or what?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 03-Apr-12 at 23:05 | Permalink
  13. Do you like their post-punk stuff Erich?

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    “Nowa Aleksandria” is very good, but tends to get a bit boring.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Apr-12 at 22:54 | Permalink
  14. d

    Great blog! If I contribute some $ for the cause, can I request Apocalypse’s “Abandon Hope”? Don’t mean to sound rude to request, just wondering!

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Why don’t you contribute your $ to High Roller Records, who released that LP / CD?

    [Reply]

    d Reply:

    Thanks for the reply! I wish I did, but I don’t have a turntable and I haven’t been able to find any existence of the cd online. But thank you so much for all these gems you post here! A true service to this music.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Apr-12 at 00:36 | Permalink
  15. jacek

    Siekiera, legend of polish hc/punk, band from town Pulawy…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Apr-12 at 19:00 | Permalink
  16. roman

    hi! excellent post. one of the fiercest most brutal punk bands ever. siege comparison doesn’t seem valid to me. maybe the bands are similar in terms of sheer intensity. your feeling about ‘atak’ is right: ‘the attack is coming. get out to the street. attack!!!’. thanx for posting this masterpiece!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Apr-12 at 17:00 | Permalink
  17. howardx

    no need to actually post this comment admin, i just wanted you to see this

    http://gawker.com/5901772/adorable-kids-cover-a-rammstein-song-about-overdosing-on-drugs

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    this is AWESOME!!!!

    [Reply]

    howardx Reply:

    i thought you might like it!

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Posted it on facebook; it’s spreading like wildfire (small wildfire, but still).

    [Reply]

    howardx Reply:

    did you go to their youtube page? great “heart full of soul” cover

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Apr-12 at 20:07 | Permalink
  18. Great stuff! They’re new to me, but I think I’m going to have to spend some money now. On a personal note, when you stayed over, I’m glad that my parents had enough room so that nobody had to sleep in the tub.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 29-Apr-12 at 20:02 | Permalink
  19. B.C. Miller

    Sir,

    Search for “Zagover – Soviet punk compilation 1986” and you will find an excellent sampler of genuine punk – recorded on tape in secret by bands who were trailed and sometimes disappeared by KGB – mostly based in Omsk around the band Grazbda skaya Obordono (Civil Defense) – who sound to me like raw street punk (like the Last Resort, say) with the eerie atmosphere like the Fall’s “Dragnet” and incredible tape-saturated guitar sounds. (Most of the other bands are side projects of his, but others are Moscow bands). The other main punk is Yanka, a woman who recently drowned mysteriously…her music is like the first two Velvets albums with Nico singing all (but sober and with a Russian accent, she is less Schopenhouer, more the girl who comforts the killer in Crime and Punishment. (Even punks tend to have highbrow angst in Russia…but you won’t be disappointed. It isn’t like Dezerter, but it is punk, not wave…it’s a little like the early Cleveland bands like Electric Eels…these Russians played at apartment parties and toured very cautiously. The leader of Civil Defense got the infamous Soviet diagnosis “inevitable Schizophrenia” and was hospitalized and tortured. The music and voice are enough but if you know some Russian, or find a translation, you’ll see why these are very popular songs of alienation and protest. (Youtube also has some clips of them onstage…not the girl bass player is not Yanka…they look like sisters. In the last few years their reels have been pressed, going back to 1982, and Civil Defense alone must have thirty albums to try. I have all of Yankas and ten of Civil Defense. (I don’t know if their sideprojects are available, but this download has a sample of everything.)

    Anyway forgive me…I was raised by my father who travelled internationally selling hospital equipment. He went Moscow many times for his job starting in the late ’70s and twice he brought me along – his side of my family are Russian Jews.

    I brought tapes and denim pants to trade with the kids my age who seemed like very smart kids robbed of all their hopes. In ’86 there was a double album of four band from outside Moscow that sounds like Devo perhaps. Of course nobody I asked had heard of it, which seemed mysterious when I was 10, but I guess the government wanted cash and PR dollars. Either that or the bands were thought to have “collaborated”. (My dad said Michael Jackson tapes were the only good ones to trade because they had universal value.)

    In ’89 I heard a Moscow band was recording with Eno…nobody seemed to care although there were metal albums in the cash store – where the citizens couldn’t buy things. (Also the McDonalds was open and the lines were hours long but there were literally no restaurants with waiters and we weren’t supposed to buy groceries. Somehow the young people were dressing cool, I guess it would be like Raggare in Sweden? I got albums by Aria and now I have a few others (one of the popular thrash bands are Nazi-symps.) Anyway by ’89 I was into punk but the Eno produced band Zlatki something was very quirky. So “how much punk do you hear in Russia” was a good statement against the college boy commies who shared the Anarchist center in PDX.

    Later my relatives there came over and hadn’t heard of punk…I met my great friend who grew up in Moscow and was sprung from an orphanage when Reagan negotiated his parents release…they’d been sentenced to death for “publishing while Jewish”…a Soviet version of arrested for “driving while black.” He collected Warsaw Pakt records and had a book on Czech rock but we considered that punk wouldn’t make sense in a country where normal r’n’r needs police chaperone. I hoped at least there would be expatriate record like The Dragons with two Chinese members…I love that record. And while I like NWOBHM type metal a lot of the Russian metal was either cheesy or unpleasant (yes, I am scared of death metal. Except I.N.R.I.) But of course there were at least two separate groups who started punk in Russia…before them, an Estonian group called Propeller made an album in 1980 that some say was on vinyl even then. (There is also a lot of Russian rock that sounds sometimes like New Wave, sometimes like folky Van Der Graaf or early Genesis. State label Meloydia picked players from ethnic minorities to sing operatic progressive folk cycles – I’ve got at a few I like – but for ex-Soviets it is probably hard to hear what everyone knew was rubbish since Stalin was alive. Like apartheid rock in S.A. – a lot of bubblegum it would seem to someone who wasn’t allowed to hear it, much less sing.

    Thanks for reading, double thanks anyone who tries these Soviet punks…I wish I could support Chinese musicians or Persian musicians like I failed to help these lonely punks while they still sang. my email for anyone who wants to talk about the music or just enjoys my terseness: magmagoblin@gmail.com

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-May-12 at 09:22 | Permalink
  20. pawel

    some more SIEKIERA’S footage, hidden for many years….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO38CcBreS0

    pawel7769@tlen.pl

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Jun-12 at 17:46 | Permalink

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