Militia - Fiend Of Misery (Stormspell) 2010

1. The Awakening (7:04)
2. Fiend Of Misery (6:43)
3. Blind Breeding The Blind (8:03)
4. Suspended Animation (5:17)8
5. Accursed Winter (2:40)

Not to be confused with the Texas band Militia, this Militia was formed in 1986 in Castro Valley, California USA by drummer Tony Fletcher and guitarist Dave Confer. The style is slightly progressive, speed metal with soaring vocals, speedy licks and razor sharp riffs, not unlike Agent Steel or Laaz Rockit. In other words, metal born out of the heart of the 1980-'s Bay Area thrash scene. "Friend of Misery" compiles the band's two demos, tracks 1, 2 and 5 are from the band's 1989 demo, while tracks 3 and 4 are from their 1990 demo. I'm not sure how Stormspell Records manages to find these rare gems, but that is exactly what they have here; a real gem. The five songs here clock in at just over half an hour, making this EP nearly as long as some full length albums from the 80's. The songwriting is fairly complex, with a touch of Fates Warning, but not over-blown so that the songs are completely inaccessible to the average thrash metal fan. This is the style of metal that a lot of modern, retro-thrash bands wish they could create. It still amazes me how many incredible bands came out of that 80's thrash metal scene. It's even more amazing to me how many never got beyond the demo stage despite being so accomplished. Miltia are definitely a gem from that era.

The 2010 Stormspell compilation is completely remastered, though some of the limitations of the source material are still present. Despite this, the sound is actually better than some officially released thrash albums from the time. There is also a 12-page booklet crammed with band bio info, lyrics, tons of photos and incredible cover artwork.

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