posted on 8/2005 By:
It would contradict the spirit of this release to beat around the bush with wordy introductions, so I’m gonna come right out and say it: this album slays. Municipal Waste, for all of their youth and inexperience, have generated a formidable buzz since Waste ‘Em All; their infamy was sufficient to draw the talents of grinder-at-large virtuoso Dave Witte along with a sizable fanbase. Hazardous Mutation is nothing if not a confirmation of the band’s worthiness. This is the kind of album that got me into metal in the first place: fast, concise, and stocked with incredibly infectious riffs.
Municipal Waste has publicly aligned themselves with the long-gone 80’s hardcore/thrash crossover movement, which isn’t a totally inaccurate categorization, but musically this stuff isn’t as punkish as one might think. What this really sounds like is classic thrash aggro channeled through hardcore’s savage brevity and pun-heavy sense of humor. Punk-scorning metalheads need not worry; Hazardous Mutation’s power lies in the riffing, and great goddamn can these boys pen a lick. From the introductory chromatic picking of “Death Ripper” to the album’s closing notes, there isn’t a sour chord or lukewarm guitar line to be had. The songs here are terse and relentlessly fast, so that the riffs come and go without settling in too much. Fortunately, just when you’re aggravated by the premature departure of one headbanging moment, there comes another one. And then another. And—yes, ladies and gents—another. The band more or less continues in this vein for the duration of the album, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold. Municipal Waste are extremely tight musically, and the unforgivingly ultra-crisp thrash production doesn’t reveal a lot of errors. If they would stretch their super-compact songs out into lengthier classic-thrash territory, thus allowing their gorgeously crafted riffs to breathe and expand, they’d be the undisputed masters of their genre. As it is, these songs will still be stuck in your head for days on end, guaranteed.
And how about ol’ Mr. Witte? The self-proclaimed Ultra Whirlwind Holocaust Attack’s presence will be the focal point of many listeners, but truth be told, he isn’t the main attraction here. It seems to me that Dave Witte has been gradually slowing down since the early days of Burnt By the Sun. Not that his abilities have lessened any, mind; it just seems that the old blastmaster has lost some of his patience for endless speed and high-end technicality. Hazardous Mutation sees Witte just having fun with the boys, and though his trademark one-footed blasting makes an appearance on the title track, Witte for the most part just thrashes along and lets the brilliant riffs flow. His performance is talented and strong without dominating the music, which is just what this album needs.
I’m not sure what else to say in this album’s favor. Hazardous Mutation pulses with vitality, energy, and creativity, and lets not forget that it’s smothered in great songwriting. There isn’t an ounce of pretension or musical flab here; only speed, anger, and riffs, riffs, riffs. There needs to be more metal like this. Buy this album.
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