Review Summary: Everyone's favourite US Thrashers provide us with another short, fast and predicatable affair.
If you're a fan of Hardcore and/or Thrash Metal, you would no doubt have heard of the USA's latest Thrash sensation, Municipal Waste. Since their 2003 debut Waste 'Em All
, the Waste have been consistently churning out "Crossover" in the vein of Nuclear Assault and Wehrmacht for legions of old-school Thrash fans who are always on the lookout for albums which hark back to the glory days of the mid '80s. 2005 even saw them sign to one of the Metal's biggest labels, Earache Records, and release their sophomore album Hazardous Mutation
, which is quite an achievement considering most of their peers are usually left toiling in their underground scenes. Hazardous Mutation
saw them leave behind the raw, 50 second bursts and present us a polished album containing 2:38 epics such as "Bang Over".
And now, after two years of what has seemed like non-stop touring, the band spent late last year and the early months of '07 writing and recording their third album, the appropriately named The Art of Partying
. It sees Municipal Waste picking up exactly where they left off with Hazardous Mutation
, where sharp and fast Thrash songs lasting no more than two-and-a-half minutes are the order of the day.
See, while Hazardous Mutation
was not without its flaws, the real strength of the album was it's ability to mesh together fast sometimes melodic riffs, with vocal hooks and frantic drumming all while keeping things somewhat fresh throughout the duration. The Art of Partying
, however, sets the pace with the title track, then keeps it there for the remaining 28 minutes. Hazardous Mutation
suffered from this too, but it's so much more obvious on The Art of Partying
that it’s difficult to turn a blind eye. There's no "Abusement Park" to keep the hooks coming in the middle, and there's no "Mind Eraser" to mix up the formula a little toward the end. The Art of Partying
begins and ends on a great note, but the majority of the material is really unremarkable. Sure, there's a few hooks scattered in there and a couple of great half-time sections, but I struggle to recall what part belongs to which song, and I’ve given it more than enough listens in reviewing the album. Survive
, this is not.
Instrumentally the album holds up well enough, with Dave Witte's manic drumming in particular being a highlight. The guitar work is solid, textbook Thrash playing, with simple powerchord riffs and rampant e string abuse abound, the vocals courtesy of Tony Foresta are his usual frantic shout and the Bass pretty much goes wherever the Guitar does. While the band aren't virtuosos by any means, they are pretty tight and it's quite obvious that given the simple nature of their music, they would be more than able to present an extremely fun live show while not sounding like crap.
Despite The Art of Partying
's flaws, when it's good, it's some of the best fun you can have with a Metal album. The title track and "Headbanger Face Rip" are able to fill you with youthful energy after a mere 30 seconds, and would surely be great to experience to see live, with the band playing in a small room with fans bouncing off the walls. The re-recorded and extended version of Born To Party is fantastic too, with the infectious "Municipal Waste is gonna FU
CK YOU UP!" section demanding many rewinds. Sadly, these moments just aren't as frequent as they should be. "Born To Party" originally appeared on Municipal Waste's split with Crucial Unit way back in 2002, and is definitely the highlight of the album. Coincidence" I think not.
In the end, Municipal Waste has predictably provided us with another solid Thrash release. If you're looking for a band evolving and expanding on their previous releases, look elsewhere, but if you're a die hard fan of Municipal Waste or Thrash in general you'll probably find it caters to your needs quite nicely.