Siege Column – “Darkside Legions” CD / LP (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Battle Helm Rating
If you’re looking for a nice bit of demolition, then Siege Column are a veritable nuclear bomb! Adding to New Jersey’s famed legacy of underground metal bands, the duo of guitarist / vocalist / bassist Shawnslaught Skullkrusher (Burial Stone, DSS, Altar of Gore) and guitarist / vocalist / drummer Joe Aversario (Abazagorath, Altar of Gore, Blasphematory, Burial Stone, Damnation Lust, Death Fortress, DSS, Eternal Fuzz, Jaws of Hades, Malefaction, Massive Retaliation, Senobyte, ex-Dethroned Emperor, ex-Misanthropy Legion, ex-Angelcide, ex-Northern Myst, ex-Necrofog, ex-Softdov, ex-Stressed Out) definitely bring their collective talents to bear on the 9 visceral tracks here on “Darkside Legions”. Surfacing only in 2016, their debut full length “Inferno Deathpassion” was released a couple of years later with various splits issued along the way leading up to this second long-play. With a complete disregard for current metal trends, Siege Column have successfully rolled it right back to the 80s, where black, death, punk and metal viciously collided to form something special, especially if you had a talent – and these two do – to pull it off spectacularly, right down to the low tech production, amateur cover art and grainy promo photography!! So, this time around, rather than jumping to new studios and professional engineers, Skullkrusher and Aversario have concentrated on advancing their song writing and musicianship, not with the intention of being more appealing, but rather to deliver their intensity with even more savagery, albeit graced with notable finesse in catchy hooks, enthralling dark melodies, ball grabbing grooves and some very slick arrangements indeed. Blasting in on ‘Snakeskin Mask’ with screaming guitars, it doesn’t take long for the raw thrashing rhythm, guttural grunts, feedback and axe squeals to form a death n roll groove, primitive in its sound, but commendably alluring none the less and especially appealing through the use of tempo changes from mosh pit insanity to heavy headbanging ferocity. Through even more crunching guitars and wailing tremolos ‘In The Stolen Tomb’ drum hammers away amid hyperspeed whirring old school death guitars and again, it’s the slower ominous passages with bestial Cronos like roars that add to the grim atmosphere of torture and depravity exquisitely. With creepy synth keys ‘Funeral Fiend’ rocks in with punk rock n roll brilliantly, but not in a nice Misfits singalong way, but rather taking a murderous leaf from early Scandinavian black metal through its brutal blast beating and haunting demonic mutterings – superb. Rather like an 80s video nasty, “Darkside Legions” may have violated every industry standard and is anything but polished, but boy does it shock and with unashamed perversity, freeze itself into your trembling soul.