Siege were an unknown hardcore band from outside of Boston who only recorded one demo in their existence. The demo, however, went on to change a lot of minds over the years.
The music was uncompromising and fast as hell, faster than D.R.I. and early Gang Green. Few bands could match their speed (Deep Wound, with young J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Lärm come to mind). Siege, however, had a secret weapon in the form of vocalist Kevin Mahoney, who screamed and growled in a way few had tried before — it was frantic and incomprehensible for the most part. They just seemed heavier and balls-out crazier than your average thrasher.
The demo was recorded February 1984, produced by Lou Giordano, who manned the board for Hüsker Dü and Goo Goo Dolls but also recorded Boston Crew stalwarts SSD and Negative FX, yielding six songs of masterful destruction. In October of the same year, they went back to Giordano’s studio to tape three more for the very influential Cleanse the Bacteria compilation, put together by graphic artist and Septic Death main man Pushead. The band broke up the following year but briefly reunited in the early 90s with recently deceased Anal Cunt frontman Seth Putnam. That was the last we have heard of them.
Siege might not have single-handily started grindcore, power violence, and what-have-you, but their story is one of the most impressive in rock history: a band recording a demo without being part of a particular scene or touring relentlessly, yet becoming one of the most influential bands in the world. Napalm Death covered one of their songs, S.O.B. sang their praises, Carcass’ original singer used to write “Siege”on his hand, Dropdead even named themselves after the demo and it still influences bands who want to play in fast, short and intense bursts. All of this, from one demo and three songs in a compilation.
RIP Kevin Mahoney.