2012 Nuclear Blast Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.
Most of us in the metal community were weaned on eighties thrash and hardcore and ultimately the combination of the two. You were either a supporter of crossover or you condemned it. There wasn't much of a gray area to it all back then, unless you stage dove at a Suicidal Tendencies show while wearing a Warrant tee.
Of all those blistering metal-punk crossover acts such as COC (sorry, Corrosion of Conformity will always be known as COC to me, get over it), MDC, DRI, Crumbusckers, Suicidal and Broken Bones, the one band which always seems to be modeled and mimicked these days (outside of Fistful of Metal era Anthrax) is Nuclear Assault. Richmond, Virginia's Municpal Waste at this point (along with Skeletonwitch) might be the best representative to plant the crossover flag down into the retro-thrash battle front. Lineage is certainly the operative word as Municipal Waste could be considered this generation's Nuclear Assault, as well as Tankard and Gang Green. Party thrash they've been called, and certainly there's been a thrash 'n crash motif to their throwback blaze. You're pussy if you haven't pounded at least two pints within one of Municipal Waste's rambunctious two-minute drills, so get chugging, wanker.
All clowning aside, Municipal Waste hasn't so much refined crossover and classic thrash as they've perfected what was once there. Sure, Sodom, Destruction and DRI are still kicking, Tankard and Grave Digger too. Somehow, though, Municipal Waste makes it feel as if moshing never went away; it just took a powder while the genre reinvented itself. There's no proto-math-grind-prog at work in Municipal Waste, just unapologetic speed and a vocalist who throws down the most convincing John Connelly out there. If you're old school, this is gnarly fun if nothing inventive. For newcomers, Municipal Waste is one of the fastest bunch of mofos on the planet.
On their latest album The Fatal Feast, Municipal Waste continues their trend of suds 'n slam, only this time they throw their gonzo act onto the promenade of an alien ship where getting shitfaced isn't how the hosts entertain themselves. Dipshit humans have been swept off of Mother Earth to be served as the main course, and really, that's all you need to know concept-wise about The Fatal Feast.
The rest is a reckless speed zone with moments of hilarity where alien abductors do our planet a favor (in Municipal Waste's eyes) by ridding us of wasteoids, lamewads and "Jesus freaks." Of course, the latter category gets its own tune on The Fatal Feast. If you grew up in the eighties, there's an undeniable hail to the days of Jerry Falwell and hypocritical televangelists ripped up by the likes of Nuclear Assault and Suicidal Tendencies, amongst other speed demons of the day.
In some ways, Municipal Waste pokes fun at themselves and their reputation by having the aliens attempt intervention steps before goring their victims...or so it would seem with "12 Step Program," "Covered in Sick/The Barfer" and "You're Cut Off." Or maybe we shouldn't read into it so deep. The Fatal Feast is about as serious as Wendy O. Williams' Maggots: The Record only without narration and sound effects. Cannibal Corpse is far more brutal in sound and lyric, but Municipal Waste are hardly the slackers they'd purport themselves to be.
The main point is The Fatal Feast has less to do with inebriation and tomfoolery and more to do with flawlessly-processed thrash performed in the old style. Crossover is hardly controversial today as it was in the late eighties since modern punkers and metalheads have very little common ground with which to unite. At least our generation realized we were cut from the same cloth and did something to bridge the sanctions together. Municipal Waste plays their cards as if they stepped out of an Adreanlin OD album and took a sharp right into the noisesome acres of Nuclear Assault's Game Over.
Works for me.