Municipal Waste

Massive Aggressive

Written by: EW on 23/09/2009 16:51:58

Do you remember a time when Municipal Waste were to many a breath of fresh air into a stagnant thrash metal world? A world which, following it's collapse in the late 80's against the duel battering rams of extreme metal and grunge, never found the ability to reinvent itself in a manner wholly conducive to a continuation of it's life cycle? Well sometime around the Waste's 2005 Earache debut "Hazardous Mutation" it seemed the Virginian's had reignited the fire in the belly of thrashers the world over, and the result has been beyond the wildest dreams of any thrash aficionado with new bands cropping up weekly imitating the looks, sounds and smells of their 80's heroes, desperate to jump on the bandwagon of 80's throwback that apparently has spread far beyond the reaches of heavy metal in recent months.

Fast forward to 2009 though and well, it seems you can definitely have too much of a good thing. Of all the many 'neo-thrash' albums I have reviewed, and many more heard, the stagnation in innovation and sense of increasing boredom is growing with every release. Whence it seemed 'cool' to rip-off all the obvious 80's names, the act now appears tired at best, pure plagiarism at worst. For all Municipal Waste's deficiencies in varied song-writing these days, at least they sound like themselves, an accusation many currently in their field could not stand up to. The album's best track by some distance, "Wrong Answer", is ironically just that because it sounds most similar to the many greats found on "Hazardous Mutation", when the band's songwriting felt fresh, energised, powerful and also fun.

Sadly though we have reached a stage with "Massive Aggressive" where for the rest of the album's duration Municipal Waste are simply recreating their past successes, and as is always the case when a band is seemingly out of original ideas, attempts to rehash past glories are never as good as the original. During songs like "Relentless Threat" the vacant space where the Waste were once an aggressive threat appears like a cavernous expanse, situated somewhere between the toothless guitar sound of Ryan Waste and the sound of near identical vocal patterns from Tony Foresta that try as hard as I may, are verging on 'annoying' after repeated listens. Selecting highlights is almost impossible as the similarity in tempos and feel right across the album is incredible; riff after riff failing to send my excitement levels into the red where once the next moment of exuberance could be guaranteed to be just round the corner.

When one considers that many 'neo-thrash' bands are as musically bankrupt as the Waste are here yet don't even have their own identity to fall back on, it paints a very bleak picture for the future of this style. Yes "Massive Aggressive" brings you crossover thrash that will still continue to be most excellent live, but with this release Municipal Waste are signalling the sign of things to come, much as they did 4 summers ago with "Hazardous Mutation".

Download: Wrong Answer
For The Fans Of: DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, Nuclear Assault
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.08.2009
Earache Records

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