Thrash metal/crossover band Municipal Waste from Virginia is a well-known bunch of motherfuckers with pure desire to revive good old days, when metalheads were skinny and with fluffy hairdos, and the era of CDs was still in its prime. And of course, in those ancient days, almost every heavy band possessed punk attitude, riotousness and tangible political statements. This band is more than twenty years old now, and although they like to shout about corrupted political standards, to sell their records, and their looks are pretty metal-approved; their music is absolutely pertinent to the present day. Every song still has hymn-like catchiness and sarcastic statements about everything, so, it doesn’t matter which generation they belong to, Municipal Waste is one of those bands that always can sound relevant, it’s like they are creeping over towards classic trend.
So, on the first day of July, Nuclear Blast Records have released their seventh full-length album Electrified Brain, presenting classical thrash attitude in a modern packing. No one wants crazy surprises from such bands, crossover thrash is very flexible genre regarding semantic meaning – you can sing about the beauty of your girlfriend’s vomit or you can make fun of the president’s pink panties, you have tons of options here, almost absolute freedom. But in a musical sense, there are so many restrictions; crossover thrash is quite a limited genre, when you are blindly maneuvering between solid thrash metal and hardcore punk. Municipal Waste is, without questions, a solid example of crossover thrash, and even their lyrics on this album are much more serious, without an overdosed level of snarky mockery. So, are the times of constant partying over for them? Definitely not, they are just as crazy and jolly on stage, so, no reason to reflect about a maturity, Municipal Waste is just Municipal Waste, just as fun, just as loud, and just as fiery.
It’s not like this genre of music is too popular, there aren’t so many bands formed in the new millennium, who preach the same ideas as in the dirty 1980s. This music is hundred percent American, even if we forget about the politics; it still reeks of American culture just like all those classical monsters (like S.O.D. or Suicidal Tendencies, bands with golden reputation but bad manners). Municipal Waste isn’t an exception, and it’s not good or bad, just this stylistic phenomenon was formed and developed in the States, and other bands (from Europe mostly) adopted this music’s spirit without a second thought. Municipal Waste started to play music without big competition, and they were accepted globally after a couple of LPs, when their insatiable vitality, black humor, acute straightforwardness and playful compositions were fully appreciated.
Actually, this album has some groove/modern vibes, just a little bit more than usually, but these contemporary hints didn’t change the general conception of their trademark ideas. Now this band isn’t as productive as it was in their early days, five-year gap between the albums is plenty of time to forget about them, especially now, when metal scene is overcrowded with old and new names and genres. And that’s why the fans wouldn’t accept it, if they’ve decided to cut corners and fight dirty, it’s just they haven’t a choice, but to keep the bar of high standards.
Electrified Brain is a half an hour long record with short and primitive songs, insane speed (very common for this genre) and furious spirit. Everything here is aggressive, traditional, speedy and emotionally exaggerated, this album sounds almost alive with all this freaking violence that actually doesn’t sound destructive or depressive. The fastest compositions are created for slam and moshing (“Blood Vessel / Boat Jail” or “Putting on Errors”), infecting us with anger issues and letting out our inner animals. Not all the songs are performed in crazy pace, giving some break from headbanging. Slow but still fierce “Grave Dive” and more heavy/thrash-based “High Speed Steel” equalizes the tempo for some kind of balance. Meanwhile “Thermonuclear Protection” hits more toward hardcore/groove direction, while “The Bite” sinks deeper into primal punk domain, and “Last Crawl” marries the southern drive. No melancholy, no mysteriousness, no progressivity, just blunt and raw energy without twists and turns. Thrash metal sometimes has very unique voices, just so unique, that sometimes that’s enough for you, like with Overkill or Exodus (sorry guys, you are perfect anyway), so, it’s just as simple, the voice of Tony Foresta, it’s an acquired taste. But it perfectly fits to hardcore/thrash, therefore, how the fuck can we imagine Municipal Waste with another singer?
To summarize, Electrified Brain is a bit controversy record, stuck between the hairy 1980s and our ‘moderncore’ days, full of thrash clichés and current socio-political problems, but it is surprisingly holistic. The sound of this record is also a bit old school, just a little wink to nostalgic moments, hailing back 30+ years back. And let’s not forget about their love for sardonic gestures and forthright sarcasm, the artwork even without symbolical allusions hits with them to the full extent. Yeah, Electrified Brain turned out to be a worthy continuation of their latest works, maybe musically it’s not a masterpiece, but with their adventurous spark and swashbuckling temper, this music will always touch the hearts of numerous fans.
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