Siege: Lost Session 91

Don't know Siege?  Get out of here, go back to listening to Scum with the corrected track list.  Often billed as one of the first hardcore, grindcore bands, sometimes powerviolence bands, for genre snobs, Siege were way ahead of their time, regardless of your selection at the musical buffet.  Even today, listening to the awesome Relapse Records reissue of Drop Dead you can hear substance that no one had really heard of in the early 1980s.  Unfortunately, they had only a very small output, and other than a rehearsal recorded by a relative in a church you can find on Youtube, you can only hear their mastery on less releases than you can count on a two-finger hand.  Maybe a few more fingers, but still, there's not much left of their greatness, save what former members created, such as Robert Williams' genius project Nightstick, who we did an interview with last year.  So it's easy to say that Siege is/was defining.  It defines everything about the underground and will define you, the listener, as truly non-lame.  But really, all we have is that 1994 Relapse selection that includes pretty much everything you need from them, until now.  Patac Records, run by one of the guys in Fistula, finally got a hold of something long lost.  This review will be unique in that we can't completely judge this 7" by the music alone, we have to consider the historical importance as well.  Thus, please keep in mind, any scoring or criticism here is a combination of atypical things and not the usual snobbery.

 

The story of this release is pretty simple.  Daniel Harrington, of the above-mentioned band named after the worst thing that can happen to a human being, became friends with Robert Williams, the latter resurrecting Nightstick for a new album and tour.  While digging through some old tapes, they came across one labeled "SIEGE w-Seth Quincy" and, direct quote, "knew exactly what was on the tape."  Here's a quick picture of it on the right, too, for extra underground drool.  Recorded in Quincy, MA by a "college student" who probably got more out of this than his/her BA, the tape contained four unreleased Siege tracks with the original cast, minus Kevin Mahoney.  Instead, Seth Putnam, who you all know from A.C., took control of the vocals.  Seth moved on and Siege fell apart shortly thereafter, and later in 2010 Harrington tried to convince him to release the tracks, but he declined, expressing desire to release them as part of a collection to be called "The Best of Seth Putnam," which was obviously never released due to his death.  Afterwards, Harrington spoke with Williams and they decided to make this happen, even though, and please understand this, some people pretty much hated the recordings.  That's where the importance of this comes in, it's not a listen just for the music, it's for the experience and history.

Because, musically, this is every bit a demo.  If you've heard Pungent Stench's demo cuts on Praise the Names of the Musical Assassins, it's worse.  Luckily, for those of us who like it raw, you can pick out the gristle thanks to the awesome restoration done by David Eck.  Lost Session 91 consists of only four tracks, and the first 7" pressing even came in gold vinyl with a sweet patch, now lost to time sadly (many tears were shed here, trust us).  All great, but what about the music?  The surprising thing is it's easily recognizable as Siege.  Though often raw and sometimes overshadowed by vocals, you can hear that hardcore/punk/metal crossover craziness they were known for in their short career, minus the rattling teenage angst chatter of Mahoney.  One of the tracks, "New World Order," was actually redone later by Nightstick on their album Ultimatum under the title of "The Pentagon," so here you get to hear in Siege form.  But, both it and "Disregard" were originally first recorded by Nightstick, even though they're Siege songs, so keep that in mind.  Still, for a recording that came from an old cassette stored away for years, which could have been ruined from white mold, hearing all this material is awesome, and the quality/quantity issue is minor when you consider the importance.  Putnam blathers as he usually does, and if you didn't know it was Siege it would be easy to confuse it for A.C.  That's really the only problem with it, because honestly the guy's vocals are typically ass except in the context of something that's supposed to be moderately funny.  But in spite of Putnam's chubby-cheeks screaming, this one has a lot of bite.  It's not a refined bite, it lacks the bass and grind you'd really hope to hear through proper recording, but as a piece of history it deserves several listens so we can all wonder what could have happened, or where Siege could have went.

 

Siege Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Siege: Lost Session 91
Patac Records
4 / 5