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Saturday, June 06, 2009

CD Review: Nihilitia - Nihilist Militia

Nihilitia - Nihilist Militia
2009 Keya Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Honestly, a band calling themselves Nihilitia is wont to summon impressions they are a death or black metal band. There's just something grossly sinister about the moniker Nihilitia that summons up imagery of intestine-pulling, snickering goat heads, nuclear clouds and the usual ho-hum flaming pentagrams, Hail Satan, whatever, yadda yadda, blah blah blah...

Instead, stripped artwork featuring skullduggery circumventing a celestial pirate ship is what Nihilitia serves up and what you get from this experimental Washington, DC unit is festooned sludge and psychedelic metal ala Kylesa, Made Out of Babies, Farflung and to certain latitudes, Electric Wizard. Nihilitia's music is less interested in profiling demonic sodomites and more in creating a beyond-fucked soundscape for the sicko flies buzzing around their opening cut "Shithouse" from their debut album Nihilist Militia.

Thank God, because this is far more interesting stuff even with Nihilitia's occasional lack of discipline, which is meant in a complimentary manner. Nihilist Militia is a rowdy and frequently trippy jump into the cosmic tar pits of outer space with a lot of ear-tickling fuzz from bassist/vocalist Sara Hussain and skritchy ersatz peeled in increments from guitarist Chris Thomas' jumpy pick.

Hussain's low-end riffs are Melvins-blessed and her sometimes discordant, ticked-off vocals are enough to make you buy her drinks lest she stomp your sac to pieces. Meanwhile, Thomas inventively shifts his licks from accommodating heavy strums to dizzying lunar spelunks from one edge of the fretboard to the other. Thomas responds to his two partners (drummer Brad Sheppard being the third member of Nihilitia) both tunefully and abstractly on "The One" before elevating subsequent weightless bars and then dropping his hammers again. Even Sara Hussain cascades her vocals in relation to "The One's" anti-grav textures.

While Brad Sheppard smacks out Nihilitia's careening templates for mayhem, Chris Thomas goes berserk on his pedals on the opening segments of "Lebanese Butcher" with Hussain laying down riotous chum racket behind him. The boisterous and menacing feel of this song is like a lost Voivod demo as it builds atop its cyberpunk crust and outlandish soloing, realizing its motive with joyously brackish results.

While there's not a heck of a lot raging from the nation's capital as there used to be during the days of Minor Threat, Government Issue and Dag Nasty, when something does sneak into the radar from DC, you'd usually do well to pay close attention. Such is the case here with a developing force in the sludge market. This is a rather impressive debut performance swirled from the trash heaps Nihilitia professes an affinity for, the fuck-you spirit of "Suppressant" and "Murdervan" being prime embodiments.

Hardly garbage, however, Nihilist Militia is a must-grab if you're a fan of distorto-doom with more than a few extra nifties to offer.

Rating: ****


JP said...

Hah! This sounds like one for me. :)

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

indeed, my friend, it has you specifically written in mind!

JP said...

Heard this - very interesting. I like the odd bit of jagged jazzy guitar slicing through the mid-tempo thud. Worth a careful listen, thanks for the heads-up!

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

right on

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