Album Review: Municipal Waste - "The Fatal Feast"

There are no secrets here. Not that anyone expected there to be. Municipal Waste is an awful lot of things as a band, but subtle just plain isn’t one of them.

Their new album, “The Fatal Feast,” is sixteen cuts of punk-heavy thrash, and there are no other adjectives that can feasibly be used to describe the style of music. It is those things and nothing more or less.

The only thing that seems new on this effort by Municipal Waste is that they sound old; allow me to explain. Their previous full-length, the lukewarm “Massive Aggressive,” was a throttled down, decelerated punk affair that saw the band fail to push the envelope. By extension, “The Fatal Feast” features a prominent return to form, embracing not only the band’s roots in thrash, but the roots that began the entire genre from seed in the early ‘80s.

Taking a hefty load of cues from comedy thrash legends Stormtroopers of Death (if anyone from camp SOD is reading, please do another tour!) Municipal Waste produced a thin and crunchy but rhythmic and catchy compendium that keeps the message short and doesn’t extend the boundaries into unnecessary wandering. Rather, with songs this short, the defining characteristic of “The Fatal Feast” is not the change within songs, but rather is the transition between tracks and how they are grouped.

The back half of this album is the stronger half, beginning with the gleefully punchy “Authority Complex” and continuing through two similar songs, “Standards and Practices” and “Crushing Chest Wound.”

With song titles like that, it should come as no surprise what the subject matter of this album is. No less an authority than Wikipedia proclaims that the band’s “lyrical topics have to do with alcoholism, mutants, or thrash metal.” There’s not a single word that I would change about that synopsis and every ounce of it holds perfectly true for “The Fatal Feast.” The only change here is that we seemed to have left behind the mutants who will eat our flesh after rising from the sewers and replaced them with the mutants who will eat our flesh after arriving from space. These are the subtle, skillful thematic variances that Municipal Waste employs.

The title track, to that end, is a really catchy affair, as are many of the songs that come after it. There’s not much to it other than chords and a simple riff, but thrash proved long ago that less can be more in terms of capturing an audience and coercing them into the mosh pit.

“The Fatal Feast” should be noted for its closer, “Residential Disaster,” which is notable not only for its runtime (don’t be fooled! It says it’s 4:00, but it’s actually 2:50-ish with some dead space at the end,) but for the fact that it most capably combines the best elements of the album and the band, beginning with a fast-paced raucous beginning and boiling down to a measured head-banger graced with a fine solo.

The album is what it is, and while that likely sounds like a cop-out, it’s tough to say anything about it other than that. Municipal Waste has created a capable record that is superior to their previous effort and a fine addition to any thrash aficionado’s library.

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