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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Metal Militia

Perpetual State of Aggression

Review by Mike Korn

Milwaukee Metalfest is the annual gathering of head bangers that some have likened to a heavy metal cattle drive, with thousands of lowing fans plodding continuously in front of mostly unknown and unlauded bands. The upside of this is that occasionally one finds a true stud bull amongst all the lesser steers. This year it was Metal Militia from South Florida who took that honor, delivering an incredible set of old-school thrash that quickly gathered a crowd of headbanging admirers. I was so impressed by their sweaty live gig that I immediately tracked down their independent album "Perpetual State of Aggression".

It was no disappointment. This band of kids (the oldest being 19) have come up with an album that defines the entire thrash genre. There's a youthful energy and naivete to their approach that makes listening to them a pleasure. Hearing "Perpetual State" thrust me back 15 years in time, to the age when thrash metal was the most exciting new force in music. Metal Militia, judging by their name, are clearly inspired by early Metallica but they are no mere clones. They inject their own rugged identity into their material, focusing on the repetition of classic riffs and an advanced skill in songwriting that makes sure each track sticks in your head. This ability is something Metallica forgot long ago. Lead singer/bassist Paolo Gregoletto looks like his Mom still picks him up after soccer games, but his raspy voice has just the right angry quality to it. Chris Reiser's soloing is BRILLIANT and summons up images of Kirk Hammett in his youth. The solos on this album just ROCK and that's all there is to it. The drumming of Nick Phares is thunderous and adds another layer of power to the attack.

It's scary to think of what Metal Militia might accomplish in the future. This band should be signed QUICK! For anyone who thinks the glory days of Metallica, Slayer and Exodus have passed forever, pick up "Perpetual State of Aggression" and think again!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Darkest Days
The first track opens your eyes (and ears) to M.M.'s old school style right away. A killer cut alternating fast and medium riffs right out of the old Metallica songbook. Great soloing and catchy vocal hooks make this a perfect opener.
Arbitrary
A bit more of the Slayer influence is noticeable here. And I'm talking Slayer back in their "Evil Has No Boundaries" days, not the nu-metal tinged stuff they are doing now. The song's extremely fast and aggressive, with a cool slower feel on the chorus. "Victory will come with ease/All power I shall seize".
Perpetual State of Aggression
The title track smokes along with a menacing feel to it, featuring more of a crawling thrash riff. It's ominous and aggressive (of course!) and demonstrates some murderous soloing from Chris Reiser.
Sick of It All
This is the only spot where the album stumbles a bit. A low key ballad that's a bit too close to Metallica's "One" and "Sanitarium" for comfort, the mellow parts are average and when the track speeds up at the end, it lacks the bite of the other thrashy cuts. The band's youth is betrayed by some pretty weak and childish lyrics.
Six String Suicide
Another solid thrasher featuring some more sizzling leads, as the title indicates. It's catchy in an Exodus kind of way.
Slave of Darkness
The tumbling guitar arpeggio that starts this off reminds one of Slayer right away. It's more Bay Area thrash delivered in convincing fashion.
The Feeder
Now this is a really killer tune and for a change, it is not easily comparable to any one band, though it still retains that old school feel. I really dig that surging main riff, which is repeated enough to drive it into your subconscious mind but not so much that you get sick of it. A great, subtle metal track, one of the best on the album.Another tremendously appealing chorus makes this a memorable cut. The alternation between K's distorted vocals and Lucia's clear singing is really cool! "Whip up a frenzy/keep them suspended/Don't let 'em know/Their liberty has ended"
Omnicide
Old school all the way, this kicks off with some classic power hooks and then hits Slayer speed for one of the record's faster cuts. I'm really impressed with how the band masters catchy vocal patterns as well as guitar hooks and Paolo handles the chorus very well. Watch out for more great guitar histrionics!
Machines of War
The record's best and most memorable cut. The opening riff on this one is so completely classic, so unforgettable that the track is propelled immediately into the ranks of great metal anthems. On the verse, there's a kind of Metallica "No Remorse" feel that works well with the triumphant sounding chorus. Yet more shredding guitar and a final burst of speed cap off a track that can only be described as pure metal bliss.
The Impending Holocaust
The record wraps up with this raging scorcher, which begins with the fastest picking on the record. There's some out-of-left-field tempo changes and an almost groovy feel to some of it before it hits the gas again.
 
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