For three albums, Municipal Waste has crafted compact nuggets of crossover thrash perfect as soundtrack material to raging keggers worldwide. The band has gained a reputation for having witty, humorous lyrical content and an ability to not take things too seriously; however, on Massive Aggressive, the Virginian foursome takes a more stern tone with their music. Don’t worry; they haven’t transformed into politically-charged activists or angst-ridden commentators. Instead, the band slows the pace down a tad bit in certain spots and keeps the juvenile lyrics to an absolute minimum. This new change of direction is a welcome one, a sign that Municipal Waste has some progression in their bones, at least from a lyrical perspective.
Musically, this is the same band that came charging into the metal scene back in 2003 with their debut album, Waste ‘Em All. With a few exceptions, the band is as gung-ho in their sonic mayhem than ever before. Thirteen tracks blaze by in a little under half-an-hour, with only the closer “Acid Sentence” breaking the three-minute mark. Songs speed by in a blur, with scorching riffs acting as the catalyst to the approaching chaos. Wild guitar solos come and go like flashes of lightning and the rhythm section somehow holds the madness together with a precision that can only comes with experience. The bass work, in particular, is audible and right up front in the mix, providing awesome intro licks on “Relentless Threat.”
Most wouldn’t expect a party band like Municipal Waste to sudden wake up one day and realize that there’s more to life than hangovers and alcohol-induced comas, but that’s exactly what they do on Massive Aggressive. While there were songs about religion and current trends on past albums, a hint of irony or sarcasm seem to linger in the air; not so on tracks like “Divine Blasphemer” and “Media Skeptic.” When Tony Foresta barks “frustration slowly builds and it’s crushing all my will” on the title track, the listener can feel his anger.
The goofy and laid-back side of the band isn’t completely forgotten about. The band’s knack for catchy songs rears its head on the over-the-top “Horny For Blood” and “Wrong Answer,” the story of a game-show where the grand prize is survival. Even these songs aren’t as childish and low-brow as past numbers from Municipal Waste, a true sign that the band has made steps towards maturing as songwriters and musicians.
What makes Municipal Waste stand out amongst the rest of the pack is their ability to make memorable and tuneful songs. It doesn’t take a dozen listens to retain anything; the first time through is all that is needed to get the mosh pits going and the drunken rampages continuing long into the night. From the gang chants on “Wrong Answer,” to the Iron Maiden-esque harmonies on opener “Masked By Delirium,” the band does a great job of keeping the listener’s attention from the very beginning.
It took four albums, but Municipal Waste finally evolved from drunken frat boys into drunken suit-and-tie businessmen. Massive Aggressive isn’t a complete 180, but a slight step forward towards something larger in scope for the foursome. Some of the die-hard fans will yearn for more of the carefree and inebriated side of the band, but that perspective has been beaten to death at this point. All the trademarks from earlier albums are there, but there is a new layer of freshness to the sound that is both appreciated and utterly satisfying.
Web Site: http://www.myspace.com/municipalwaste
By Dan Marsicano