SEIGE COLUMN is a seemingly brand new entity out of New Brunswick, New Jersey, that expelled its first utterance early last month. Fifty hand-dubbed copies of NOCTURNAL ATTACK FORMATION have been made, and we’d better get busy on ‘em, because once the metal underground catches wind of this band they will not be on the shelves for long.
The tape opens with its self-titled track, a heavy breath of dungeon synths and incomprehensible rasps that drop into a virulent black metal assault. Guitars and bass unite into one staggering mass shrouded in reverb, and the lo-fi, bucket-kick, washed-out cymbal drum tone makes for a band that sounds like it’s echoing up from an underground cave. Vocals are one hundred percent old-school, pained, powerful, and just as ferocious as the rest of the instrumentation. FIRE FROM THE PENTAGRAM keeps things going with an instant-classic anthem, and within three minutes, the demo has proved itself far catchier and more memorable than most music in its class.
Siege Column are damn good songwriters, knowing when to switch beats, when to experiment, and when to juxtapose genres, and it’s from this perfect structuring that the tape gets its infectiousness: the jump from two-step hardcore riffs to subterranean death metal at the end of LONE WOLF WARRIOR is quite possibly the standout moment of the album. DUNGEON WITH NO END picks up seamlessly where the former left off, bringing us back up to speed and providing another barrage of snare rolls, headbanging passages, and thrash solos. VIOLENCE AND STEEL closes out the demo without slowing pace for a second, the final passage being perhaps the most angular, imposing riff we’ve yet been offered. The attack ends all too soon, leaving the listener hoping for a larger, full-length assault in the future…
When I hear criticism of stuff like this, it’s usually something to the effect of “Oh, all those underground demos sound the same,” and while it’s true that the band isn’t breaking any new ground here, that’s about the only grievance someone could air against them. FORMATION doesn’t contain a flaw or dull moment to speak of, and Siege Column executes their craft with a level of skill and sense of character that makes them far more ‘classic’ than ‘cliché.’
I could take the time to bullshit around about the exact style and influences of this tape, but NOCTURNAL ATTACK FORMATION sounds like it crawled directly out of the age when ‘old school death metal’ was just called ‘death metal,’ and it brings all the unrestrained, genre-clusterfucking abandon of that time with it. The band’s self-diagnosed “evil metal” is really all you need to know, and it pretty accurately describes the sonic butchery that occurs here. Bandcamp tags be damned, regardless of whether you’re a thrasher or a raw BM devotee this is the best demo you’ll hear all day. Turn up the volume, grab your bong and/or beer, and join the ranks.