MILITIA - FIEND OF MISERY (Stormspell Records)
(Review by Officer Nice)
The label that keeps on digging old US Metal bands and keeps on supporting new bands - with an eighties sound - surprised me with this release. What a great EP! No, this isn’t Militia from Texas, this is Militia from California. I’ve been searching more information about this band, discovering that this band was overlooked two decades ago.
Tony Fletchera (drums) and Dave Confer (guitar) formed Militia in 1986. Scott Fraser (guitar), Matt Ulricksen (vocals) and Thayik Hughey (bass guitar) joined them soon after to form – what I can say now – this mighty band! Talking about the fact Militia was overlooked – no matter how strong they sound and how talented they were - isn’t a form of blasphemy. Realize that Heavy Metal was at its top in those days, especially Bay Area Thrash Metal. Internet didn’t exist, making it much more difficult to discover the US Metal underground scène. There were only a few European magazines that supported these bands in those days and so it is understandable that for the common Metal fans many Heavy Metal gems kept their secretly character, even nowadays… It was a time when there was no MySpace nor e-mail to write to a band; can the youngsters amongst us even imagine this?
At least it can’t stop me worshipping this release right now and maybe it’s better to discover this forgotten pearl right now! Plenty of my favorite bands are crossing my mind when I listen to this EP. Helstar (the ultimate US Power Metal gods), Flotsam & Jetsam (first two releases),Hades, Watchtower, Sanctuary, good old Testament or Metal Church, Realm, Ritual, Heathen, Oracle, Deadly Blessing, Mystic Force, Toxik … Reading how many forces were available at the end of the Eighties it isn’t that surprising Militia was ignored without an official release by their hand. It was even a mission impossible to hook up with the rest without a record. This EP also fits perfectly in the row of the earlier Stormspell Records releases (think Held Under, Fatal Violence, Target,…).
Impossible to say what’s the best track on this release but from out of the list of bands I’ve mentioned before you will easily understand Militia plays technical US Power/Thrash. Five outstanding songs are heading your way, proving how talented this band really was… even still is but let me tell you more about it later on. “The awakening” is a fast – yet varied – song on a higher tempo. The guitar duo are offering the listener razor sharp and ripping riffs, playing one after another screaming and fast played guitar solo. Another ear catching fact are those incredible and spectacular technical played drums. Tony Fletchera seems to be a pure ‘Metal beast’ behind his drum kit and believe me if I say he delivers more than impressive percussions!
The title track is another awesome Thrash Metal song which will easily blow you away. Next to the inconceivable musical performances you will hear the first class vocals of Matt Ulrickses. On this particular song he reminds me strongly to James Rivera, blended with the mighty vocal sound from Alan Tecchio (Hades, Watchtower, Non Fiction, Seven Witches), Joel DuBay (Powermad) and William Wren (Oracle, Mystic Force). Extremely powerful and clear, high-pitched – yet aggressive -vocals, that’s what this man is standing for! In “Fiend of misery” you will find out more about the fantastic guitar players!
The production of this EP is pretty good – could have been a bit more clear – and makes Militia sound aggressive and technical at the one hand, catchy and song oriented on the other. The chemistry between this band and me worked right away! The use of my headphone damages my ears, but I don’t mind at all because Militia gives me the perfect kick! This is the kind of Metal you want to play along, a typical band to perform at the Keep It True or Headbangers Open Air festival! These last words aren’t really hollow because I’ve noticed the band is active again, is even working on a new album! Welcome back guys and surprise us with the new release! Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/militia89 or order this EP at http://www.stormspell.com.
My Points: 86 / 100