SIEGE OF POWER
This Is Tomorrow
DEATH METAL: Formed as a side-project, featuring ex and current members of Hail of Bullets, Asphyx, Autopsy, Thanatos, and a pant load of others, Siege of Power emerged from the combined American and Dutch death metal scene with more death metal. Back in 2018—and five years before that as First Class Elite before a moniker switch—the quartet of Chris Reifert (vocals), Bob Bagchus (drums), Paul Baayens (guitar), and Theo van Eekelen (bass) hit the scene with Warning Blast, a serviceable slab of death metal throttle that, while decent, wasn’t what ear fatigued listeners would consider essential listening. That’s by no fault of their own. With everyone and their roommate’s sister having access to recording technology, everyone and their roommate’s sister can record and make their death metal masterpiece available to the public. So, anyone planning on adding to the already overwhelming scrap heap had better add something standout special.
An added pressure in the creation of potentially essential material is the music industry coming out of the pandemic with a choking plenitude of albums upon albums that were created during lockdowns. All of those recordings are now starving for attention, an increasingly difficult task now that schedules are back to normal and downtime has become more of a premium. The relevant question is whether Siege of Power’s second album has been able to make that leap forward to carve out a place and stand above the glut to create noise worthy of the public’s time, money, and energy. And This Is Tomorrow’s answer: kinda sorta.
“Force Fed Fear” and “Sinister Christians” burst out of the gate like the toxic and virulent side of Bay Area thrash tripping on classic mainland 90s European death metal and Day-Glo green Mohawks UK ’82 punk. Both are great songs with driving riffs/rhythms and smart phrasing that helps with sustained recall once the stop button is hit. The stripped-down structures of “Zero Containment” reference black metal’s chromatic rapidity, and along with Reifert’s vocals tapping into black metal’s caustic snarl and the annunciated clarity of early death metal, make this one a banger of vicious proportions. “Ghosts of Humanity’s” furious second half of near grind tempo thrash belies the achingly dull doom of its first half. “Scavenger,” on the other hand, trods along at a coruscating mid-pace reminiscent of Venom and Bolt Thrower comparing notes on how to gallop at their grimmest.
These are the album’s top loaded highlights after which there’s a misstep in the form of the pseudo ballad “As the World Crumbles,” which tinkers with an dull and spacious chord progression and Reifert trying to make his brash voice work around subdued minimalism. “Deeper Wounds” sounds like Venom and Immortal combining to see who could be more rudimentarily generic. There are also some curious songwriting decisions in spots, like “No Salvation” where the strongest Swedeath inspired riff of the song is relegated to the shadows in place of comparatively piss poor punk and doom sleepy fundamentals, and the title track, which, baring Reifert’s impassioned howl ‘n’ growl, closes the album out in a pedestrian attempt at haunting sludgy doom death.
The end result is that Time Is Tomorrow is an album whose B-side should see rare amounts of action and might have worked better as an EP or mini-LP. ~ Kevin Stewart-Panko