Review Summary: The result of Asphyx and Autopsy members is every bit as predictable as you'd expect.
I don't think anyone was expecting a collaboration between members of Asphyx and Autopsy, but it's not exactly a surprising formation either. We're talking about two bands here that have consistently spearheaded the extreme metal underground throughout their respective careers, and that's perhaps why Siege of Power is regarded as a supergroup rather than a mere side project. Considering that the subject matter of Siege of Power's debut, Warning Blast
isn't exactly uplifting (Post-Apocalypse, warfare, death, torture, etc.), you'll be right to suspect that the members making up this group are really doing business as usual, rather than attempting something truly groundbreaking in a sub-genre already riddled with monotony.
Unfortunately, much of Warning Blast
is an inconsistent mess. I say that in the most blasé way possible, but there's really no other way to describe an album full of sluggish, slightly above-average death metal songs which last no more than a couple of minutes. Sure, there's enough here for you to bang your head (if that's your intention before even playing this album), but not much in the way of memorable songwriting or indeed impressive musicianship. Most of the songs seem to rely on groove-inflected chugs and for that reason Warning Blast
takes a while before the good stuff actually rears its head. See, here's a hint: The second half is so much more enjoyable than the first. Normally an opening song is initially intended to kick-start the record and set the standard for everything else, but "Conquest for What"" spends more time building into a non-existent climax than it does speeding into a frenzied chaos of thrashy riff work. "Bulldozing Skulls" is so sluggish it inspires its listeners to fall asleep. "Torture Lab" sees a clearly uncomfortable Chris Reifert attempt what can only be described as pained barks and despite the surrounding musicianship being pretty decent, the whole result is something of an uninspired mess.
I could go on, but it's necessary to talk about how Warning Blast
contains good moments to almost overthrow the aforementioned bad ones. Most of these, as stated above, are rammed into the second half. Whereas the first half features "Uglification" (an ugly title) as a bit of a saving grace, the second half is helped by this sudden boost in motivation tenfold. "Escalation 'Til Extermination" has such an ominous, oppressive intro you'll likely want to put it on repeat whilst watching 80s Post-apocalypse film Threads
, "Privileged Prick" details an attempt at Discharge-inspired hardcore punk and "Violence in the Air" simply has the catchiest riff of the whole album galloping towards an abrupt albeit satisfying finish. Elsewhere, "Short Fuse" speeds along with real menace and this time actually keeps things heavy rather than streamlining a main riff and consequently beating a dead horse (I'm looking at you "Trapped and Blinded") and "Diatribe" seems to have been the injection Reifert needs to make his vocals convincingly aggressive once again. A final point can be made about how the final and longest song of the album, the four-minute "The Cold Room" sounds so detached from the rest of Warning Blast
that it's pretty strange. Here you have a doomy finish which oddly enough features cleaner production and Reifert attempting on-point guttural roars, almost shaking the stereo for all the earth-moving presence this aspect allows.
Honestly, Siege of Power isn't a very surprising supergroup, or indeed an exciting one (depending on your penchant for this sub-genre), and debut effort Warning Blast
isn't even the kickstart to a musical career most had in mind. It's a real messy and inconsistent effort, but at least it has certain positive moments that can almost overthrow the obvious filler material scattered around. If you're after another version of Napalm Death's From Enslavement to Obliteration
, then look no further. If you seek a more complex sound, skip it altogether.