Still cutting their teeth on the local live circuit, MILITIA have only less than a handful of gig to their name. As their name and t-shirts’ suggest, they aim to have an early Metallica tinged metal.
Militia have a quite a following and in fact many of those who came to see these young uns leave before the headliners get up. This obvious support and good demand for more gigs means that next time we see them, they’ll be well improved because at the moment, there’s some tweaking needs doing.
Militia are not (yet) a thrash band; hey lean much more towards Speed Metal while Punk definitely looms heavy. They start off brilliantly with a version of The Misfits’ Last Caress, followed by the first of three original songs. Mankind’s Sorrow is very old-school Metallica mixed with a raw splash of early Motorhead and it comes off well. It’s when they launch into Iron Maiden’s Wicker Man that the flaws appear. The band are perfectly able to, with practise, play anything they want; although the few guitar solos there are, are a little rough around the edges. On top of that, vocalist Lee does not play to his strengths. Lee’s vocal range is far from suited to hit the notes that Bruce Dickinson does and his Dave Mustain impression fails to hit the mark on Symphony of Destruction (though I’ve always hated Mustain’s voice). However, Lee has time to find his voice and that will come with more gigs, but in the meantime, we’ll have to put up with the force faux-American banter and Hetfield vocal ticks.
They do have all of the right ingredients though and it surprisingly shows on their second original song which “is the most thrashiest song they’ve wrote.” It’s second half shows their true potential with its Pantera like breakdown; as does their cover of Metallica’s Four Horsemen.
The set ends with a Ramones medley they’ve titled I Wanna Blitzkrieg and an encore of Anti-Nowhere League’s So What and its here they are at their best.
Lee says towards the end of the set that his voice is shot; which shows he’s pushing it to do things it shouldn’t. If they wanna do Iron Maiden, any track from their first album would suit much better. If they want to be a Thrash band, maybe they can in time, but until they can get those notes, they should stick to their strengths, because when they are good, they are very good.
…and none of this is to be taken as a negative. I actually really like these guys and really enjoyed their set last night regardless. Back in February when I saw Beyond Driven for the first time; they too were a little rough around the edges; with the images of high tops and skinny jeans having just as much presence as the tunes, but just look at hpw they turned out.
In just two months, BEYOND DRIVEN have paid they dues and are strong enough to headline any stage. When singer Ryan hits the stage to introduce the band, he does so in a fake death metal voice and with a big smirk on his face. And that is the difference between the two bands. BD have the abilities to take the piss out of themselves.
One of the most of obvious things about their set is that fucking sheet metal symbol! At first unsure whether or not it is meant to be there, it takes some time to get used to it, but once you do, it add a new dimension to their drum sound; coming across like Shawn Crahan’s bin lid percussion on Slipknot’s Duality. Another great thing is the rest of the bands’ willingness to supply great backing vocals; something which now I think Militia lacked.
Younger, Lighter, Tighter has fantastic disjointed rhythms which they pull off with ease but a cover of Smoke On The Water is a stranger move. Although their thrash take on the classic is played note perfect, it’s the odd one out in their set. Although I think it was meant to come across as funny, I think maybe some old Queen may have worked better, such as Brighton Rock or Stone Cold Crazy.
At times you can hear elements of Machine Head, Metallic’s That Was Just Your Life and their original song Chaos Reigns is indeed built around a fantastic ‘fucking dumbass riff this c**t wrote.’ Brilliant.
Ending their set with a perfect version of The Trooper (this is how you should tackle Iron Maiden) and a hilarious version of Paranoid. Ryan doesn’t know the lyrics but it doesn’t stop them playing it with sick panache.
I would happily see BD again and would definitely recommend them. Give these guys a year and they can take on the world.
BEYOND DRIVEN 8.5/10