Bar from a couple EP’s and a split with Toxic Holocaust, it could be stated that Virginia thrash outfit Municipal Waste have been out of the metal spotlight since their 2012 release, The Fatal Feast (Waste in Space). It wasn’t until early 2016 when the focus was back on them, after releasing ‘that’ widely covered, inflammatory anti-Donald Trump t-shirt; a stunt that not only made them the focus of the thrash scene, but also in popular culture, least to a certain extent. A year after those shenanigans were covered in the press, Municipal Waste are back with their 6th full release, Slime and Punishment, a collection of 14 short bursts of audio clocking in at just under 30 minutes.
In true Municipal Waste style, Slime is a volatile, explosive and unrelenting outing, with their classic established thrash sound, with subtle hints towards classic hardcore punk, shining though fully. Whilst the thought of thrash metal may conjure thoughts of artists like Slayer and Megadeth; Municipal Waste are one of the most prominent artists playing classic thrash metal in this day and age without adjusting their sound in their aging process, with a sound and atmosphere comparable to classic thrash artists from the late 20th century, such as Nuclear Assault and early Anthrax. Plus, even after 16 years since the bands inception, the band still truly portray their renowned and classic childish sense of humour, with undertones revolving around intoxication, anti-authoritarianism, and senseless, almost slapstick, violence. In essence, the trio of tropes that embody thrash metal.
The album kicks off proceedings with ‘Breathe Grease’ which perfectly sets the tone of the record. A buzzing, erratic track that kicks like a shot of homebrewed liquor, and also presents the group’s knack of subtly mixing and juggling various styles; from the buzzsaw of thrash with classic hardcore styled vocals, to a more menacing and aggressive mid-section. From here on out, the album never strays away from this style and tone, it’s pure, classic no thrills thrash, the very essence that this artist is known for.
However, that said, with 14 tracks to be heard here, a notable portion of the album feels like filler. Certain tracks fly by without really hitting a mark or being noticeable, memorable or remarkable. This hits home and becomes prominent in the latter half of the album, where it's easy to be overcome with a sense of déjà vu, with the riffs, tempos and tones, and ultimately songs, bleeding into one another. With this in consideration, the best tracks here are the shorter ones of the album, the ones that come and go violently and leave you dazed and awakened, such as ‘Enjoy The Night’, ‘Shrednecks’ and ‘Excessive Celebration’ which all clock in under 2.30 minutes. They swing by, hit the mark and deliver the message perfectly.
Ultimately, if you like your metal stripped back, fast, violent, featuring no surprises and not requiring any deep thought, Slime and Punishment is for you. However, if you want something with more substance, pushing boundaries and requires some deeper thinking, you may wish to look elsewhere. Whilst this album may be full of stereotypical thrash conventions and tropes and may not add something new to the thrash game, did you truly expect something more from Municipal Waste?
Review by Dan Hillier