|Review: Sieges Even - Life Cycle|
Year released: 1988
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: May 25, 2012
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
When you think of Sieges Even, it's probably not as a technical Thrash Metal band from the back end of the 80s, but that's where their origins lie. While there is no sign of the band that would record the sublime masterpiece that is The Art Of Navigating By The Stars, 1988's Life Cycle is a great album in its own right, despite the very different style played by the band, which kept its core line up of guitarist Markus Steffen and brothers Oliver and Alex Holzwarth from the act's inception to its dissolution a couple of years ago.
Considering the only other band that sounded like this back then was Watchtower, it's amazing to think this came out in a year like 1988, when so many of metal's greats unleashed commercial milestones. Unlike their later works, which maneuvered between Prog Rock and Progressive Metal, Life Cycle is pure technical Thrash, full of menacing riffs, bat-shit percussion, careening bass lines, and some of the strangest lyrics and vocal lines I've ever heard. Perhaps because of their geographic position, the music on this bizarre and frankly insane concoction is quite unlike anything else. There is no structure to the seven songs here, except for the acoustic "Arcane", which soothes the listener after the twelve-minute atom bomb that is the mighty "Straggler From Atlantis". Mechanical riffwork, mathematical double-bass, freaky time signatures, off the wall melodies and the helium-soaked vocals of Franz Herde; this is the basic formula for Life Cycle, and while it's certainly entertaining, it sucks every ounce of energy out of you. Even the most traditional cut, "Apocalyptic Disposition", is a complete head-fuck, what with its odd lyrics and strange syntax. There is much to enjoy, especially due to the production, which is pure 80s magic. But really, this is just the sound of a Thrash album malfunctioning, breaking down its core elements and then gluing them back together the wrong way.
Life Cycle is not quite the hidden classic it wants to be, but with its cult appeal and peculiar artwork, it's one worth tracking down if you can find it.
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