Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain (Album Review)
The pure chaos of kinetic thrash has manifested.
While the metal community often likes to criticize less aggressive musical genres for lacking backbone, sometimes a band comes along that struggles so hard that it forces the audience to metaphorically leave themselves without one intact. But other than the hyperbolic imagery, it’s hard to truly describe the experience that accompanies an old-school thrash album so uncompromising and fierce that it enlivens an entire scene without noticing the exaggerated sense of exuberance it draws from its fans. Such is the disposition of Virginia Municipal wastea band that is often credited with providing a fair amount of the tension that threw America’s long comatose thrash metal scene in the early 2000s, by removing much of the progressive grease that accumulated in the early 90s and reminiscent of the concise crossover variant led by the icons of the 80s suicidal tendencies, DRI and Cro-Mags. Now over twenty years to date from their inception and loud self-titled debut EP, their seventh studio album “Electrified Brain” stands as both a fitting exercise in career self-description and also a solid culmination of the elements that made him a leading figure in the millennial thrash revival.
Although stylistic evolution is far from the top priority on this band’s agenda, there has been a gradual increase in the technical flash and flair that comes with the concise brand of neck ruin in which they have continued to care. Much the same as their previous studio foray “Slime and Punishment”, the continued presence of the lead guitarist Nick Pouloswho is basically still the new guy at this point, has seen a level of spice injected into these songs via recurring guitar solos that bring them much closer to the level of ambition that many of their aforementioned influences displayed in late 80s. His approach can best be described as having the melodic outline of Kirk Hammett and also the wandering quality of rocky george. To be clear, Municipal waste didn’t suddenly fall into the more nuanced territory occupied by albums like “How am I going to laugh tomorrow when I can’t even smile today” and “Best wishes,” but hearing the brief but gripping sequences that adorn longer aural kill sessions like “Paranormal Janitor” and “Crank The Heat”, it would become easy to confuse this with a full-fledged thrash album from the late 80s if it weren’t for this outfit’s general aversion to breaking the three-minute mark in a single song.
But aside from the technical gymnastics that unfold during the main breaks, there’s a polished, infectious character to the songwriting here that sees the band almost transcend their crossover tendencies. The highly developed and sometimes harmonically charged character of the riff work on beasts like “Demoralizer” and “Thermonuclear Protection”which also sits on the longer side of the songwriting equation at work on this album, is both intense and complex enough to average Killer Where Exaggerated the fan sits up and takes notice. And even when the short, sweet crossover high-jinks in sub-2 minute territory begin, as they do for standout grinders like “The bite”, “put errors” and “Blood Vessel/Boat Prison”, the heavily metallic character achieved by the dueling guitar work of Poulos and original ax man Joy of Richard “Ryan Waste”with the crazy racket provided by the batsman Dave Witte and the bulky bottom with occasional flair moments via bassist Philip “Earth Phil” Kyle let the punk’s ear guess and the metal head is sated. For his part, the singer Tony Foresta proves the only 100% predictable element in the mix, though it shows an almost godlike stamina given that all the years of screaming his head hasn’t made him mute, let alone seeing his voice remain as vicious as never .
As the old saying goes, don’t mess with perfection, and with an impressive slew of LPs, EPs and sellouts on the live circuit now under their belt, Municipal Waste have elevated the notion of sticking to his weapons to an art form. Nonetheless, the committed fan who has traced his career back to the beginning will notice that the formula has gotten a bit more elaborate lately, so much so that one could speculate that the creation of the crossover side project Reagan iron by Forest and Hall was in part to appease the band’s punk contingent who were roped in by their pre-2005 output. thrash which opts for the more flashy sonic chaos triggered by Exodus and Mugalthough this in no way excludes the administrators of Wehrmacht and Cryptic Slaughter who have been in tow from the start. If impact-based thrash and happy riffing is your poison, and you like your portions to feel like an appetizer-sized mix of dishes, “Electrified Brain” combines the concepts of fine dining and fast food in a way as iconic as when first explored in “Kingsman: The Secret Service”.
Produced by: Nuclear Explosion Records
Release date: July 1, 2022
Gender: Thrash Metal
“Electrified Brain” track list:
1. Electrified Brain
3. Last Explore
4. Grave Dive
5. The Bite
6. High Speed Steel
7. Thermonuclear Protection
8. Blood Vessel – Ship Prison
9. Turn up the heat
10. Restless and Wicked
11. Ten Cent Beer Party
12. Barred Rage
13. Put mistakes
14. Paranormal Janitor
Municipal waste is:
- Tony Foresta / main voice
- Joy of Richard “Ryan Waste” / Guitars
- Nick Poulos / Guitars
- Philip “Earth Phil” Kyle / Low
- Dave Witte / Drums
Order “Electrified Brain” HERE.
Continuing a great tradition of nonsense, straight for jugular thrash with a heavy edge to early 80s hardcore now 20+ years in a row, rabid, Richmond born, sonic rabble rousers Municipal Waste once again proves that success usually comes when you don’t play with perfection