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Siege Of Power

What do you get when a couple of Dutch musicians of bands such as Asphyx, Hail Of Bullets, Thanatos and Grand Supreme Blood Court hook up with Autopsy main man Chris Reifert? Not death metal in this case. Siege Of Power is about crossover. A mix of hardcore and punk with plenty of metal elements. Recorded without any expectations, but mainly because it is a fun thing to do. Now the album ‘Warning Blast’ has been released, we asked drummer Bob Bagchus some questions how everything worked out. Of course we start at the beginning with the band preceding it all; First Class Elite.

By: Pim B. | Archive under speed / thrash metal

Let’s start at the beginning as Siege Of Power could be considered as a continuation of First Class Elite. Why did that act stop in the first place?
Indeed. We stopped because our original vocalist did quit and we all were busy with our other bands too and those things took more time as well.

First Class Elite did record five songs as a sort of demo. If I’m correct this ended up on a split CD with Dirty Mike & The Boys and Violation Wound that was released by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions in 2014. How did that one come together?
Yes, we recorded those songs in the basement studio of Atak in Enschede and later they got released on the split CD you just mentioned. I think it was the idea of Chris of doing this split with the three bands, which was a great idea since Chris, Mike and I go back since 1987 and doing a split CD with our bands would be a cool thing to kind of honour our past history. Music wise the bands fitted too.

I think you were supposed to do a full-length on Vic Records, which obviously never happened. Vic Records did release a promotional video of a song called ‘It’s Time’. So did you have a lot of material ready back then?
Vic Records did one promo track for YouTube but in the end our music did not quite fit the concept of Vic Records, which we understand since Vic is more of an old school death/thrash metal label and our band was a bit more crossover. At that time we had thirteen tracks and five of them were later on released by Horror Pain Gore Death Productions as a split cd.

In 2017 you more or less reformed as Siege Of Power with a new line-up. Can you tell is what instigated this reformation and how did you get the line-up together? Did the fact you got Chris Reifert in the band had anything to do with the aforementioned split on which Chris’ band Violation Wound is also present?
After our original singer left Paul and I already had recorded eight new tracks at a studio from a friend of ours. But we had no vocalist at that time anymore so we focussed on our other bands that also are active live. So, we put First Class Elite on ice. Last year Paul called me and said it was a pity we just did nothing with our songs anymore and he also had some new songs in mind as well. Still we had to search for a singer and so we asked Chris and after he had heard our songs he said yes since he enjoyed them a lot. He has a similar band, Violation Wound, and ever since we added more crust and death to it both bands would not sound the same anyway. And we all are big fans of his voice since he can do everything from punky and crusty stuff to death metal, of course.

The promotional info states that the album ‘Warning Blast’ was recorded in a couple of hours and most music was written on the spot. But did you also use any of the left-over First Class Elite material?
Yeah well, it did take us about five years to get it all together but we recorded it in three sessions in three different studios and we never truly rehearsed for it, except for one or two songs with our old singer in the very beginning. For the rest we just booked the studio and made the songs right there since Paul already had the riffs and structures (if any) in his head and it was all just for fun so there was no proper rehearsing beforehand. Drums and guide guitar only took about five hours in total and since Paul has a studio at home he could do the rest of the guitars there and Theo did his bass parts there too. We did use the five old First Class Elite songs but changed them a bit.

I can assume most material was written by the Dutchies in the band, but what about the lyrics? Are the lyrics different in approach compared to the original idea for First Class Elite?
Yes, Paul did all the writing and Chris did all the lyrics. The lyrics have pretty much the same approach as when we first started out in 2013. They deal with social matters, things we see around us on a daily base but also there is some gore and horror in it too. There is so much happening, so there is a lot to write about as well.

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Besides the album there’s also a 7”EP that contains two non-album tracks. Can we conclude you recorded a total of twenty songs? Will those two non-album tracks be available as bonus songs in any form on ‘Warning Blast’?
Yeah I think so, nineteen or twenty tracks including those old First Class Elite tracks. Only ‘The Cold Room’ is featured on the ‘Warning Blast’ album while ‘Mushroom Cloud Altar’ has the slower version only on the 7”. ‘Servant of Nothing’ is only on the 7”. The reason ‘Mushroom Cloud Altar’ has two versions is because we recorded a fast one and a mid-tempo one and we could not make up our minds which one we liked the most so we used the mid-tempo one for the 7”.

Seeing you guys all have background in death metal, why did you decide to play this form of crossover? I hear quite a lot of hardcore riffs so what bands did influence you?
Because we wanted to do this and we like punk, crust or crossover hardcore just as much as doom, death, black, heavy, thrash and speed metal. Siege Of Power is just for fun and we do not want to be the next “big thing” or anything. Not at all by any means. We know some people had high expectations by seeing the line up or something and the bands or past bands we are and were featured in, but we only are doing this band for our own fun. Put our minds to zero minus zero and just jam and record stuff. We all love bands like SOD, Carnivore, Discharge, Amebix and Disabuse a lot as well so it are these bands who are the biggest influence of us for sure. Even Edwin Woerdman (ex-Disabuse) did some guest solos on our album.

What inspired you to use the moniker Siege Of Power? Has that anything to do with the Napalm Death song?
It has everything to do with the Napalm Death song for sure. When our old vocalist left we had to find a new band name too and when we were talking about that last year I was spinning Napalm Death’s ‘Scum’ at the very moment and when Siege Of Power started playing I asked the guys if they liked that as a band name and yes, we had a name. Besides it does fit our music quite well too.

I think Chris recorded his vocals at the Earhammer Studio in Oakland. Where did you record the instruments and can you tell some more about the complete recording process?
Yes he did indeed. We recorded drums and guide guitar in 1) Atak/Enschede, 2) Frank Klein Douwel Studio Enschede and 3) Tom Meier Recordingstudio Enschede. They all are very cheap studios which we needed since we had to finance it ourselves in the first place. We had no record deal to back us up so we did it the cheapest way we could with the help of some good friends. The Tom Meier Studio, however, is a very professional recording studio but since Paul and me just needed two hours for recording seven songs it only cost us something like € 170,- or so. The recordings were more like short jam sessions. Paul had the riffs and order in his head, he explained it to me, we jammed and recorded it right after. Maybe we could have done more proper rehearsing and think things over once more but that would have made it all cleaner and less spontaneous after all. We just put it all in a non-musical blender and just waited how it would all turn out. We never gave it too much thought.

Do we have to consider Siege Of Power as a studio project or is there any change you might perform live as well?
It is a studio project for now but we did get some very cool offers for live shows already. But we just have to see about that since Chris is living 20000 km from here and we have to do at least three shows to make it worthwhile for us.

I think that’s it from my side. Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanx for doing this interview with us. If people are into some old school crossover/punk/crust/death you might check out Siege Of Power. If you like state of the art death metal just stay away from it, haha!

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