Back in 2001, Richmond, Virginia, crossover thrash band Municipal Waste entered the world with sloppy, speedy songs about headbanging, chugging beer and gory cartoon-horror. Ten years and five albums later and the band has learnedâ€¦not much.
Adopting an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it attitude, Municipal Waste have followed 2009′s stupid, funny and obnoxious Massive Aggressive with the equally juvenile The Fatal Feast. The cover art of zombies in hazmat suits devouring freshly excised organs, and song titles like “Crushing Chest Wound,” “Residential Disaster” and “12 Step Program” say it all. Fortunately, improvements have come with age.
The musicianship is tighter, making Municipal Waste sound more like S.O.D. than early D.R.I., and the songs are less repetitive. Three even sport guitar solos; The best, “Authority Complex,” peaks with an Iron Maiden-style twin-guitar harmony. Before you cry “sellout!” keep in mind that the leads and more developed midsections only enhance the band’s ferocity.
Like Massive Aggression, The Fatal Feast features a mix of neck-snapping piledrivers, including “Unholy Abductor” and “Jesus Freaks,” and mosh-inciting stompers like “The Monster With 21 Faces” and “Death Tax.” Then there are tracks that switch off between the two styles, including the title track and “New Dead Masters,” which is more than a little reminiscent of S.O.D.’s “United Forces.”
Aside from a cleaner mix than Massive Aggressive had, and better pre-choruses and bridges, The Fatal Feast is more of the same mindless, rowdy 1985-era crossover that goes down well after a six-pack of Milwaukee’s Best and a midnight screening of “The Evil Dead.”