During last week’s review of the latest Toxic Holocaust record, I got to thinking a lot about the newest wave of thrash bands that came out around the same time. They all share some characteristics. There’s a heavy emphasis on feeling and no fear about getting a little silly with their music. These bands absolutely drip with attitude and are more than willing to get very belligerent if necessary. They know how to pick up the pace and to breakdown a good jam. Most importantly, they are students of history and incorporate those sounds into their own creations while expanding the palette with other ideas. Municipal Waste made sure to bring the ruckus to the early 00s thrash party.
Call it party metal if you want, but you know that Municipal Waste still hits hard. The Richmond, VA quintet has been quite a busy crew lately. Each member has several projects outside of the band that keeps them all quite busy, like Iron Reagan, Cannabis Corpse, and Deny the Cross. They have become a solid crew of extremely talented, experienced, and prolific musicians. As a result, they know exactly what they’re doing when it’s time to write some new songs and execute with perfection.
Their latest EP, The Last Rager, is no different. The 4-track EP is exactly what you want out of a Municipal Waste record. It’s high energy crossover thrash with a lot of drinking and metal puns (if not both at once). It’s a lot of mega fast riffage from Ryan Waste and Nick Poulos, precise drumming from Dave Witte; seriously grooving bass lines from Phil Hall; and everything accompanying Tony Foresta’s singular shout. It’s straightforward good thrashing that everybody can get on board with.
Some readers probably want to deride Municipal Waste and bands like them as “party metal”. They want it to seem somehow lesser than anything else. Much like the accusation of “selling out” in the 90s, this is simply in bad faith. The special thing about Municipal Waste is the fact that they have created this sound and reputation where they can sound really razor sharp while also having a fun sense of humor. It’s silly puns with tongue in cheek ideas played with music that can seem simple on its face. However, I would defend the band and this EP with having a developed sound and vision. This music is so much more about the attitude behind it. That expression of aggression is what makes this art and a vital part of understanding the human experience. Perhaps a lofty thought for a band with a song called “Rum For Your Life,” but I defy you to listen to the opening track and not feel like taking on the world.
For those of you hurling around the “party thrash” insult, this record wouldn’t be something you want anyway. This is a record for people who know that not everything has to be uptight and serious and translate some deep philosophical meaning of life through song. Sometimes you just need some levity. Even things with rough edges can inspire mirth, and Municipal Waste is that thing. The Last Rager is an excellent addition to their discography and will whet the appetites of those waiting on the next full-length record. Enjoy the party.
The Last Rager is available Oct. 11 via Nuclear Blast.