We love hearing from bands in countries we’ve not covered before, so when Abdulla from Motör Militia got in touch we just had to feature them. Bringing thrash metal to the Middle East (and then some), here’s some more about them…
We are from Bahrain. I am half Dutch / half Bahraini and John is from Australia.
How did you meet?
Well the band has been around since 2001 when I was in high school. Hisham joined the band on guitar in 2007 as I had known him when he played with another band around 2003-2004. I met Ahmed in a side project band in 2013 and he joined MM on guitar in 2014. John had just moved to Bahrain in 2015 and was attracting attention at local jam nights and a friend recommended we check him out which we did and he joined as our vocalist in 2016. Mohammed is our latest recruit joining on bass in 2017; I’ve known him since he was just 15 playing in bands.
How long have you been playing as a band?
The band was formed in 2001 and adopted the name in 2003. This line-up has come together very recently as just me and Hisham are still here from the last album released in 2011. The current line-up is without a doubt the best we have ever had, just check out our new album. The proof is in the pudding!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Hahaha, not this again…! Well for two years the band had not settled on a name anyone was happy with. While trying to come up with something I was listening to Kill ‘Em All and we were toying with the idea of calling the band Motör this or that… once Metal Militia came on it just clicked: “Motör Militia” like an army of speed. That really represented us as a young thrash band and wearing our influences of Motörhead and Metallica on our sleeve was very fitting.
What are your influences?
When you listen to the band’s music the most apparent influences are Slayer, Testament, Overkill, Pantera, Anthrax, Metallica, Sepultura, Shadows Fall, Exodus, Kreator, At The Gates and other great thrash or thrash-influenced bands. But the range of influences is really wide to be honest. Most of us listen to a broad range of music and that’s always going to influence us as individuals and as a band.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I think we have done well to carve out our own slice of thrash. We sound like a modern metal band, but with an old school thrash song writing ethos to really do all we can to serve the songs with our parts. I think a lot of that cool song writing focus is lost on a lot of the newer bands these days. Maybe I’m just getting old!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Definitely! This album, World in Flames, is an apocalyptical saga that starts from around the 6th century BC and traces the roots of evil and destruction in the world right up to the culmination of end times in the future! The tale is crafted from a mix of influences from scripture, history and conspiracy theories. It’s a story with a genuine Middle Eastern flavour, leaning heavily on our legends, tales, myths, history, language and culture.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Our shows are a full on in your face thrash assault! With John fronting the band we have only played a handful of shows up till now as the focus has been very much on finishing the album. Now that that’s done and the launch is coming up in April we will be looking to play extensively and hopefully get some new opportunities to play outside of Bahrain. We are hungry to get back to playing regularly!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Wildest thing I’ve seen at a live show… would have to be a singer use a can of deodorant and a lighter as DIY pyro! The wildest thing I’ve ever done was probably when I agreed to sing a track for another band at a show in 2004 and I went full David Lee Roth – splits and all! I’d probably throw out my back if I tried that now!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Well I’m the drummer and I have been a loyal Vater drumstick artist for close to 15 years now. I have also been playing Sabian cymbals and Evans drumheads for close to 15 years. For drums and hardware, I switched over to DW drums and hardware about 4 years ago and it’s been awe inspiring to play their stuff! I’m a real gear head and I have a nice collection of snare drums in particular, from the likes of Canopus, Noble and Cooley, Dunnett, DW, Ludwig, GMS and Sonor. The Sonor snare with Cherry Hill Custom Drums hoops is my MM secret weapon.
John uses Shure mics, specifically the Beta 58 on stage. Always wired! Hisham just got a new Schecter guitar and he is loving it! Ahmed has been rocking his Washburn Parallaxe for a couple of years now. Mohammed has a BC Rich Warlock bass. That thing is literally a weapon! With maple neck thru and MM5CS EMG pickups the thing slays every other bass it is compared with for our kind of sound. For amps we love the 6505’s and 5150’s the album was tracked with a 6534+ through a Mesa Recto 412 and it is brutal!
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Well our new album World in Flames, which will drop on April 13th 2018! It will be available for pre-order as early as March 16th but that will vary from platform to platform. For us this new line-up and new album we really believe we are on to something great that will enable us to take Motör Militia further than we’ve ever taken it before!
What are your plans for 2018?
Take over the world!
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Well at the moment I’d have to say Overkill as the headliner! Jason Bittner behind the kit and their new album is just killer! Metal Church very close second! As opening act, I would do all for our Bahraini bands: Smouldering In Forgotten, Bloodshel, Hellionight, Lunacyst, MUST, Rain in Hell… we have a really cool close knit scene with a great DIY ethos and all the bands help each other. So the band that was available would get the slot, as I can’t choose to be honest. All great guys and great bands!
From previous Band of the Day Westmoor: Out of all the things you could have chosen to do, why do you play music?
Only way to live, everything else is just boring compared to music, whether it’s live or being creative or working in the studio… when things come together is magic!
From another BotD, Hey Charlie: What is your dream venue to play?
John’s ambition is to play to 20,000+ people in a stadium and I’d have to say that it would be awesome when we get there!
And from Requiem Laus: What’s the metal scene like in your country?
The scene is very small like the country… there is a cool mix of bands from tech death to traditional heavy metal to blackened death to thrash… we are currently struggling for venues but it’ll just be another challenge we will overcome like we have done so many times before!