I really wasn’t sure if Municipal Waste were ever going to pull it off; but what they released just over month ago, Slime And Punishment, is truly the album we’ve been waiting for. It’s been five years since they released their Nuclear Blast Records debut, The Fatal Feast, a bit of a musical departure from the usual Thrash/Party Metal they’re legendary for at this point, to more of a Crossover type sound. I wasn’t bad but neither that or the album before it, 2009’s Massive Aggressive, could EVER amount to their 2007 masterpiece, The Art Of Partying. Hell, upon listen to Massive again while getting ready for this review I remembered why I stopped listening to it after three spins tops (maybe even just one!) – they were trying to hard to top The Art Of Partying. You could barely hear the drums, and it felt like Tony Foresta struggled horribly with keeping up with the tempos. Same unfortunately goes with Ryan Waste. He couldn’t speed pick fast enough to keep up with the rhythm section for shit.
So what a huge shock it was when they dropped their first single of the new album, “Amateur Sketch”, back in April. It was faster than a lot of The Fatal Feast. But not only that, but the intensity was back and everything, guitars especially, was so much louder and so much sharper. When mixing an album it’s so important that everything can be heard no matter what. But one track doesn’t mean shit after a five year absence. So I waited then I heard the title track, released a month later. I wasn’t fast but it hit just as hard. It was more old school Metal than Thrash but it was quick, catchy and did the trick. I was sold and bought the record a week after it was released.
“Breath Grease” kicks this one off with a real BANG! No slow, prodding intros, no instrumentals, just straight into a fast tempo song, which leads into “Enjoy The Night”, which sees the pace kicked up even faster…as if to say “good luck banging your head to this without snapping it!”. Upon hearing most of this album two things come to mind: the addition of Nick Poulos as a second guitarist was the smartest decision the band made last year, and the band as a whole clearly realized that it’s better to let the music come naturally, as opposed to forcing themselves to play a specific style. The results are that of a band that sounds absolutely refreshed; just all of the things they’re good at and nothing they can’t do.
The one thing I’m really impressed with on Slime And Punishment is the incredibly high pitch in Tony Foresta’s vocal approach. If you’ve paid attention to him outside of Waste then you know that this is the exact approach he’d been using with his other band, Iron Reagan. But for this collection of songs he without a doubt NEEDED to go this high. Especially on tracks likes the balls to the wall “Bourbon Discipline” and “Parole Violators” (featuring Vinnie Stigma of Agnostic Front), where he screams out “fuck you man!”, it’s as if he’s legitimately living out the audio party as it’s happening!
As mentioned earlier, hiring a second guitarist had to literally be THE smartest decision the band made recently. Sure, even with one guitarist you can track as many guitars on a recording as you can. But with two guitarists comes an extra set of ideas. It’s readily apparent on “Poison The Preacher”, one of the way more serious tracks here, where some of the riffs just don’t sound like they were just written by Ryan. There’s so much more of an old school Hetfield-like crunch to them (I’m talking …And Justice For All era Hetfield, when he still had balls along with two years worth of emotional rage). Extra props for that chorus hook – one of THE heaviest moments on the entire record!
Another big surprise here is the instrumental track, “Under The Waste Command”. Oh yeah, it starts off like classic Waste, breaks into a very Maiden-like harmony, then breaks into a solo section with a rhythm that sounds like something right out of…a Megadeth album?? With a solo that sounds like it was played by Mustaine himself?? As of this writing I’m still not sure of whether or not Nick or Ryan played it. But one of those two clearly did their homework. It kind of reminded me of “Dialectic Chaos”, probably one of the ONLY tracks I liked on Endgame. Fuck, even some of the riffs on the album closer, “Think Fast” sounded like latter day Megadeth at a certain point.
Slime And Punishment, to me, is everything we all love about Municipal Waste with a few great add-ons. The album just shits frantic riffs played in a way only Ryan Waste can play them – but now with more of a crunch. There are plenty of songs about humor, drinking, tons of debauchery, but now with even more energy than ever before! The songs are all under three minutes and that’s actually fucking perfect. Songs that sound like this would totally risk becoming stale if it went over that mark for sure. Then again I’m personally a little biased for shorter songs more and more these days. I blame it on my growing taste for Grindcore and Powerviolence bands. But more so than that, the album can also be seen as a glimpse into the future for Municipal Waste. If they stick to what they did here their next few records can proof without a shadow of a doubt that they still have yet to reach their full potential after all. So was Slime And Punishment worth the five year wait? You fuckin’ bet it was!
Key tracks: Breathe Grease, Enjoy The Night, Shrednecks, Parole Violators, Poison The Preacher, Under The Waste Command, Think Fast
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