posted on 8/2009 By:
Municipal Waste: pioneers of the next age of thrash or overrated D.R.I. knock-offs? Both are true to an extent, but in a genre as inherently one-dimensional as thrash, I’ll happily side with this band’s ability to write great, memorable songs over their ability to move their respective genre forward. There’s no doubt that this Virginia foursome is armed to the teeth with musical talent and bodacious attitude, but their third album The Art of Partying saw the Waste disappointingly exploiting their drunk-punk image with corny songs like “Headbanger Face Rip” and “Beer Pressure” at the expense of some of the wicked crossover riffage they crafted so effortlessly on the masterful Hazardous Mutation. I have no objection to Municipal Waste’s reputation as a fun “party” band, but I was still satisfied to hear that Ryan Waste and co. have re-streamlined their attack, toned down the gimmicks, and delivered a more intense and focused effort in Massive Aggressive.
Municipal Waste’s sound has undergone little evolution since their jump from the lightning-fast punk of their debut Waste ‘Em All to the more technical and developed crossover of Hazardous Mutation. The D.R.I. meets Vio-lence formula is still potent, energizing, and heavy as hell, with the relentless riff tandem of Ryan Waste and bassist Land Phil laying the groundwork for Tony Foresta’s constant, highly infectious lyrical rants. Massive Aggressive does see the outfit expanding the melodic elements of their attack, even throwing in some catchy Iron Maiden-style leads in “Masked By Delirium” and “Wolves of Chernobyl”, but the majority of this material is markedly similar to the last two LPs. Depending on where you stand regarding this band’s merit, this could be a good or bad thing, but either way its plenty clear that these guys aren’t going to be running out of quality riffs or lyrics anytime soon, and Dave White is still rock-fucking-solid behind the drumkit.
Perhaps its due to the increased emphasis on mid-paced chugging tempos, as heard on “Divine Blasphemer” and the incredibly catchy title track, but this album definitely sounds somewhat more, for lack of a better word, “mature” than the band’s previous releases. Obviously with song titles like “The Wrath of the Severed Head” and “Horny For Blood” we don’t have to worry about the boys in Waste delving into epic progressive metal, but the more intricate bass and drum playing adds a surprising amount of depth to the ripping thrash base (check out the wicked bass solos in songs like “Relentless Threat”). And while there is absolutely no restraint in this album’s pacing or delivery (anything more would be a sin by this band’s standards), more attention has been paid to transitions and timing, resulting in songs slightly less spontaneous but more stable than the out-of-control feel of Waste ‘Em All and Hazardous. This is hardly a criticism, however, and there’s still more than enough outrageous speed for the band’s punk influences to shine through; “Upside Down Church” and “Media Skeptic” in particular are two of the most merciless tracks the band has penned thus far, and sound even more frenetic contrasted against the album’s groovier songs. Above all, it’s just great to hear these guys sticking to the metal this time; aside from another Phantasm sample, there’s not a second of filler to be found on Massive Aggressive. No voice samples, no overused choruses… just twenty-eight minutes of extremely catchy and well-played thrash guaranteed to put an ache in your neck and a smile on your face.
Several years into the thrash revival, the band that arguably spearheaded the entire movement is still doing it better than anyone else. The fact that the crotchety old fans of the original thrash explosion will never get past Municipal Waste’s obvious homage to older bands doesn’t change the fact that these guys are one of the most electrifying bands to achieve popularity in modern metal, and they show no signs of slowing down in their ever-lasting quest to mosh, party, and write kickass tunes. Hazardous Mutation is still this band’s definitive effort, but Massive Aggressive makes an admirable stab at that esteemed title, and definitely sits comfortably at the number two spot in the band’s discography. Those who go into this album wanting to hate it will hate it; for everyone else, grab your denim jackets, polish off your Boogie boards, and prepare for a hell of a ride.
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The Fatal Feast
4/10/2012 Municipal Waste
The Art Of Partying
7/31/2007 Municipal Waste