Militia – Fiend of Misery

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Reviewed: October 2010
Released: 2010, Stormspell Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

The Bay Area is a true gold mine for thrash in general, and also for some yet-undiscovered thrash, too. Militia are 5-piece Bay Area powerhouse formed in 1986, who released 2 demos (a 4-track 1989 demo and a 2-track 1990 demo) when they were still sharing stages together with such acts as Testament, Death Angel, Fates Warning, Metal Church and so on, and have made their comeback. The original line-up of the band is currently working on their full-length album, to be released later on Stormspell Records – and after getting familiar with this band for the first time in my life, I can only say: \”Cannot fuckin´ wait to hear it.\”

Before we can all sink our teeth into that release, there´s nothing like recommending people to check out the band´s re-mastered 2 demos on this 5-track EP, titled FIEND OF MISERY, that they put out over 2 decades ago. I would describe their music as progressive power-thrash, whatever wild visions that particular description may produce in one´s brain. Imagine mixing bands like Helstar, Forbidden, Agent Steel and Fates Warning – some of their musical sides together, and I think we might be pretty close to how Militia sound like on this brilliant EP. Militia´s technical and progressive power-thrash is just as appealing sounding as you can clearly imagine it to sound like: it just takes a grip on you and keeps you in it, and only lets you go when the EP has come to its end.

Not only does vocalist Matt Ulricksen have a similar vocal range to James Rivera of Helstar, but there´s also some other elements in common with Helstar. I guess a song called \”Suspended Animation\” speaks for itself, nicely misleading people to think of a band like Helstar, while \”Blind Breeding the Blind\” has a strong Forbidden/Vio-lence vibe in it mainly due to the main emphasis being on guitars´ dominating role in this song. The other 3 songs have also stood the test of time beautifully, ripping through the air with all cylinders burning hot – and delivering the goods the way they should in the first place. I mean, if you have always wanted your thrash to be progressive, technical, melodic, aggressive and just powerful, then you are gonna love Militia – no doubt about that. Militia has it all in the same package, and I feel kinda privileged to know this talented US power-thrash bunch now – after being totally unaware of them for more than 20 long years (just wondering what other gems are still coming on my way that I have never even heard of thus far?). Better late than never then, I guess.

Check out FIEND OF MISERY if quality power-thrash means anything at all to you. I did – and I hardly regret doing so.


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Track Listing:
01. The Awakening*
02. Fiend of Misery*
03. Blind Breeding the Blind**
04. Suspended Animation**
05. Accursed Winter*

* taken from 1989 demo
* taken from 1990 demo

Matt Ulricksen – Vocals
Dave Confer – Guitar
Scott Fraser – Guitar
Thayik Hughey – Bass
Tony Fletcher – Drums