What’s wrong with being nineteen forever? If Municipal Waste’s new album The Fatal Feast answered that question, it would probably screech, “Not a god damn thing!”, give you the finger, run into a glass screen door, break its nose, stagger up from the floor, and point with a bloody finger to the liquor cabinet and ask for a shot of your stepdad’s gin. Depending on who you are, this is good clean fun or the worst night ever.

Maybe the most recognizable face of neo-thrash, Richmond’s second or third  finest is back with little deviation from their template, delivering another sesh of furiously galloping thrashterpieces, thrashulated direct from the thrashle of Count Thrashula. Also, this album thrashes.

It’s a hell of a task to take up the mantle of an iconic genre, especially after twenty years of massive creative expansion within metal. I think that’s why, while I don’t spend time cursing the existence of bands like Evile, Mantic Ritual, Warbringer, or Violator, I don’t make much time to listen to them either. Thrash broke with tradition by combining metal and hardcore, while neo-thrash seems to worship it. Why care?

But Municipal Waste are so drunk, dumb, and fun, that it’s really hard to worry about the why.

As with every album they’ve written, The Fatal Feast has Municipal Waste playing crossover thrash in the DRI vein, with a shot of Suicidal Tendencies’ aggro self-helplessness. The total number of tough dude breakdowns, where you imagine some massive human tat walking around Brooklyn being angry, might be slightly lower on this release than the Art of Partying or Hazardous Mutation, but I don’t think that fact will either lose or gain Municipal Waste any fans.

The performances are eminently unfuckwithable. The axis of drummer David Witte and guitarist Ryan Waste put in frighteningly locked-in performances. Singer Tony “Guardrail” Foresta manages not to gum up the works of the glistening machinery behind him, accentuating the hooks of each mini anthem, whether he shouts about zombie hunger (“New Dead Masters”), getting drunk (“Covered in Sick-The Barfer,” “You’re Cut Off,”), or The Man (“Authority Complex”).  And it’s sort of besides the point that he lifts the vocal cadence of “Raining Blood”  in “Idiot Check,” because the pacing on the album is too frantic to worry about. The affect of this album in sequence is a sort of thrash vaudeville show on adderall, where the skits are happening so fast, and the lights are so bright, that you only have the slightest notion that you’ve heard all the jokes before. It’s important here to remember that people of the olden times didn’t go to the theater to think, they went to be entertained. The same is true of Municipal Waste.

Although their critical influences were not known for the perfection of their musicianship, the recordings and performances on The Fatal Feast are mercilessly professional. The polish of these songs — and there’s not a greasy hair out of place on any of them — creates a version of thrash that’s almost idealized. Municipal Waste aren’t just recreating, they’re messing with their own remembrance, and in this way they’re a perversely sentimental band. It’s like when you grab a towel for that drunk kid with the broken nose to bleed, and he says this is the best party ever. Here’s to dreaming of nineteen, drunk, dumb, and fun.


(3 1/2 out of 5 horns)


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