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Municipal Waste | ‘Slime and Punishment’


Bad puns? 80’s-tastic artwork? It can only be Municipal Waste.

Their first release in five years since the disappointing ‘Final Fest’, the world (in many ways) has moved on from that Earache inspired “THRASH IS KING” fad that saw countless young kids raid their da/older brother’s cupboards for their hi-tops and cut off Destruction t-shirts.

Undoubtedly, this was very cool to see for old timers and it certainly injected some younger blood into the Irish music scene with the likes of Visceral Attack, Mass Extinction, Raging Conflict and (ahem) Mushy Peas, who saw the likes of Gama Bomb and Municipal Waste and thought “we can do that.”

However, time is a cruel mistress and so, within a few years most of the bands above had moved on to other things. But they had left their mark, and now we have the likes of Scimitar, Psykosis and Acid Age. All of whom love Municipal Waste.

So there’s no denying their influence, and the time is ripe for a new record of theirs.

Their three releases on Earache, (with ‘Massive Aggression’ being this author’s particular favourite) have stood up as enjoyable, 80’s inspired party thrash. However, singer Tony Foresta’s excellent work in the much more inspired Iron Reagan has led to a situation where a side project has overtaken a main band in terms of quality of output.

Therefore, there’s a lot riding on this album.

Boomy

To begin with, it’s worth discussing the cover.

From the pen of Andrei Bouzikov (who designed ‘The Art of Partying’), it’s a suitable mesh of Troma style trash and 2000AD. Not big, not clever, but looks good and is eye catching.

One interpretation of it is that it’s actually the corpse of Donald Trump, stuck in the wall he built around Mexico as a kind of Mussoliniesque piñata. Given the band’s thoughts on Trump, it’s an intriguing interpretation, if one that stretches things a bit as there’s nothing on the cover to suggest that the figure is Trump.

Now, onto the music.

The first thing that has to be cited is the production: it’s a big disappointment.

Although it captures the individual performances of the guitar and bass well, the overall effect can be described as “boomy”, leaving the songs sounding hollow and the mix has the unfortunate effect of drowning out the drums at times (listen to the first ten seconds of ‘Enjoy the Night’ as an example).

As a result, it’s hard to really take to the album, despite some good songs in Really, it should be easy to produce a Waste LP: stick to the temple on ‘The Art of Partying.’ Direct, down the middle and loud.

‘Breathe Grease’ is a suitably speed fuelled opener, which wastes no time in going through the traditional intro, verse, chorus, mosh and outro formula. But it’s delivered with such fun and attack that you put aside such notions of formula.

‘Enjoy the Night’ is a more Oi inspired punky thrash which mysteriously turns into an instrumental for the second half.

‘Dingy Situations’ is an ode to the less savoury aspects of touring.

The first song where new member Nick Poulos makes his present felt with some lead guitar punctuating the main riffs, he lifts the song into more memorable territory, before ‘Shrednecks’ (oh my sides) brings us back to the terrain of “enjoyable but not memorable.”

And the less said about ‘Parole Violators’ (including a “skit” with Vinnie Stigma from Agnostic Front), the better.

Formulaic

Closing with ‘Think Fast’, described by the band as the slowest number they’ve ever written, it reminds this writer in parts of Maiden circa ‘Somewhere in Time’ (no bad thing) and it’s the best song on here because of that, despite giving into the formula again.

Basically, each of the songs on ‘Slime and Punishment’ can be broken down using the “intro, verse, chorus, mosh and outro” formula. And, over 14 songs, this does get quite repetitive.

This is where it becomes tricky criticizing the band because the songs (when looked at individually) are solid thrash numbers played with affection and deep knowledge of the genre. But, put together as an album, they blur into one without leaving that much of an impression.

The best albums of this ilk (‘Thrash Zone’, ‘Hate, Fear and Power’, ‘Speak English or Die’) are ones that flow cohesively with each song complimenting each other and still doing something a little differently. Think of the difference between ‘Thrashard’ and ‘Beneath the Wheel.’

Ultimately, ‘Slime and Punishment’ is an album that some will enjoy as a soundtrack to the summer, before relegating it to a nostalgic Spotify playlist (probably entitled “s17 jams”). For older heads, they’ll have heard it all before and not bother.

Go for the new Iron Reagan album, ‘Crossover Ministry’, instead.

2 / 5 –Christopher Owens ::: 18/06/17



One Comment
  1. Life is too short for another record from these clowns

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