Review Summary: Seminal violence.
Most genres have a band or two that, for one reason or another, unintentionally made strides in creating new subgenres. By taking a slower, heavy approach to bluesy heavy metal, Black Sabbath and Pentagram paved the way for doom metal acolytes, such as Candlemass and Saint Vitus. Slayer’s aggressive, break-neck thrash metal proved influential to what would become death metal, with Hell Awaits
’ influence being felt in early works by Possessed and Death. In a similar manner, by actively attempting play faster than any other contemporary hardcore group, Siege created a intense, noisy onslaught of speedy hardcore that would go on to inspire countless powerviolence, a subgenre of punk commonly attributed to Siege and Infest, and grindcore bands, including Napalm Death, grind’s most mainstream group. While not the genres’ sole influencers, the songs featured on the seminal Drop Dead
tape, released in 1984, are some of the earliest examples of vicious grind.
To boil this tape down to solely it's influence is a disservice to the quality of the music, as every second of this ferocious discord is just as lively and crushing as ever. The spirit of punk shines through infectious chaos, especially on “Life of Hate” and the blistering title track. It's a glorious flurry of cacophonous sounds that slap the listener’s eardrums. All of these furious slabs of auditory violence flies forward at a speed, only slowing down for the beginning of “Conform” and the morbid closer, “Grim Reaper,” the latter of which makes use of distorted saxophone and sludgy riffs. On the rest of the record, the slashing guitars hit like a furious lightning strike, similarly to the thunderous drums and screams. This sound lends itself well to the band’s rough playing style, which is authentically punk and undeniably razor-like, especially on the fiery “Armageddon.”
Fiery is one of the best ways to describe Drop Dead
. In just 12 minutes and 41 seconds, Siege melds speed and fury in ways that, at the time, we’re unheard of. Its extensive influence on powerviolence and grind is still felt today, with bands still find inspiration in ideas popularized during the band’s sole works. Beyond this, the release has aged remarkably well, feeling as fresh and vigorous as ever.