Nihilitia - Nihilist Militia
Keya Records
Avant-Garde Rock
7 songs (31'38")
Release year: 2009
Nihilitia, Keya Records
Reviewed by Adam
Surprise of the month
Though I may not have made it abundantly clear throughout my time spent with Metal Reviews, I have a soft spot for indie rock bands. It takes me back to my carefree high school days, when most of my CD collection was made up of the likes of Fugazi and Shellac. It is for this reason that the opening chaotic barrage of Shithouse, the first track on the debut album by D.C. born Nihilitia brought a big smile to my face. This excellent track is punctuated by oddly timed riffs with even odder structures, and overall it feels much more frenetic than it probably should. Though it sounds a bit different than the aforementioned bands, it shares some commonalities.

Let’s get the comparison out of the way first. I’m sure the band will get tired of hearing this (if they haven’t already), but they do bear a pretty strong resemblance to Made Out of Babies. Then again, wouldn’t any avant-garde rock outfit with a powerful female vocalist? Needless to say if you’re a fan of Julie Christmas and the boys, this will be right up your alley. Vocalist/bassist Sara Hussain suits the music perfectly with vocals that range from smooth to abrasive with power and emotion to match either style. Producer Joel Hamilton, who coincidently also produces the aforementioned Made Out of Babies, does an excellent job, as the guitars and drums both really pop. In particular, drummer Brad Sheppard capitalizes on this to give a standout performance. Hard to believe the guy was looking for work to the point of answering Hussain’s Craigslist ad for a drummer. In addition to Shithouse, the debut album Nihilist Militia (the two words used to form the band’s name) contains some excellent tracks. The One contains the best guitar work on the album with some excellent leads, and Sara’s vocals are at their most restrained and soothing. The opening of Suppressant, with its supercharged bass line, sounds like it came straight from the catalog of The Jesus Lizard, which is another trip down memory lane for me. Instrumental track Fortnight is all over the place, even sprinkling in some tremolo, black metal style riffing towards the end. Though it sounds a little too directionless at times, I wouldn’t call it skip worthy either. The closing track Lightyear is the most expansive and easygoing song on the album, with highly distorted guitars that wash over you as Sara’s angry clean vocals set a somber tone.

Female fronted avant-garde rock is obviously a niche genre, and Nihilitia is surely not for everyone. However, if you enjoy indie rock or Made Out of Babies, this is a very cool album in which you will find a lot to like. If Nihilist Militia is any indication, this is a band you’ll be wise to keep your eye on.
Killing Songs :
Shithouse, The One, Lightyear
Adam quoted 76 / 100
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