Wednesday 14 September 2022

Municipal Waste - Electrified Brain (2022)

Country: USA
Style: Crossover
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 1 Jul 2022
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Municipal Waste have never been the most prolific thrash band in the scene, but their every other year album release schedule slipped to every three years and it's now every five, with this coming five years after Slime and Punishment and that five after The Fatal Feast. What's increasing is the average ratings at Metal Archives, because each album released after Massive Aggressive in 2009 has garnered a higher rating. I'm not sure I can agree with that because Municipal Waste's brand of crossover thrash is ultra-reliable but also relatively predicatable. This is done well, because all of their music is done well, but it's hard to compare its merits.

For anyone not aware of what they do, the openers quickly establish their modus operandi and it's not one that they vary much at all as the album continues. Electrified Brain highlights how frantic their approach to thrash is, a speed metal assault with hardcore punk vocals that's over and done in fewer than three minutes, even with an intro, an outro and a set of swapped guitar solos in the middle. Demoralizer is a bit more metal, with even more Iron Maiden-esque guitarwork, but it's a song with a similar impact otherwise. Last Crawl is back to pure crossover, the vocals taking a lead over the guitars, and on we go.

I should comment on the lengths of these tracks, because they make those on yesterday's Soulfly album look positively epic. Only Thermonuclear Protection makes it to the three minute mark and Putting On Errors only reaches half that, with The Bite only a blip longer. There are fourteen songs on offer here and yet the album still only clocks in at thirty-four minutes even. It can't ever be said that Municipal Waste hang around.

The comparisons to draw are to the original crossover bands, so I won't even bother to list them, as they wouldn't surprise anyone. I got a lot of Suicidal Tendencies on The Bite though, with a dash of Overkill, a band that kept cropping in my mind from the thrash side of things. The most overt punk side is Tony Foresta's lead vocal and his voice defines the band's sound even more than the guitars of Ryan Waste and Nick Polous. Talking of Waste, he and Land Phil both contribute vocals here too, combining most effectively on Ten Cent Beer Night, deepening an already catchy chorus.

That song has a neat nod to the Scorpions at the end and I couldn't fail to catch a German bite in a prowling Accept vein on songs like High Speed Steel and especially Thermonuclear Protection. The latter may well be my favourite song here, even if Restless and Wicked comes as close to textbook as anything here, a two and a half minute blitz with rough vocals over tight riffs, the combination of punk voice and metal guitars apparently effortless but utterly effective.

And there's not much more for me to say, because Municipal Waste aren't one of those bands who might grow on you with further listens. They're utterly transparent about what they do and that's on offer on the first song, the last song and everything in between. If you like one of them, you're pretty much guaranteed to like all of them. Conversely, if you don't like the first one you hear, the rest of the album isn't going to change your mind. This is another short blitzkrieg of an album that will clean your clock in the best possible ways. If you're into that, check it and them out.

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