The men of MUNICIPAL WASTE have simple passions: beer, bong rips, mutated monsters…these are the things that make their worlds go ‘round. Combine that with their love for general rowdiness and all things Thrash, and you can start to see why the band was blamed for inciting a riot at their very first show. Now, a decade and five full-length albums (by MUNICIPAL WASTE standards, at least) later, their popularity has grown immensely. Yet nothing much about the band or the music they play has changed. This should be a surprise to no one.
Because if there’s one thing that can be said about MUNICIPAL WASTE, it’s that they are remarkably consistent. Putting huge improvements in production quality aside, they have been weaving the same beer-soaked tapestry of Punk, Hardcore, Thrash, and substance abuse ever since day one. Of course this brand of lewd, humor-laden wall art isn’t for everyone, and this means that whether MUNICIPAL WASTE is consistently brilliant or consistently awful depends on one’s taste in music. But rest assured, “The Fatal Feast” will do nothing much to change anyone’s mind in either direction.
The album opens with a spacey ambient track, giving the listener their first taste of the retro Sci-Fi vibe around which “The Fatal Feast” is centered. Most of the time this theme manifests itself lyrically in tracks like “New Dead Masters”, “Unholy Abductor”, and “The Monster with 21 Faces”, but it also occasionally finds its way into the instrumentation via ominous synthesizer riffs, albeit only in short spurts (see “Waste in Space” or the title track “The Fatal Feast” for examples). Still, this uncharacteristic infusion of ambience is executed well, particularly for a band that has never been known for subtlety on any level.
The album only gets stronger as it stretches farther into its runtime; a trio of fun tracks (“Idiot Check”, “Covered in Sick-The Barfer” and “You’re Cut Off”) form the middle of the album, and the gang chants and binge drinking that take place within serve as a nice change of pace from the stories of alien attacks and abductions that populated the preceding songs. These themes come roaring back in a big way soon enough, though, with the title track “The Fatal Feast”, which tells the story of a spaceship voyage in which the crew decides to eat their captain. In terms of pacing and songwriting, this is probably the all-around best and most fully realized song on the album, and includes a great guest appearance by NUCLEAR ASSAULT’s John Connelly. Closely following that gem is my personal favorite, “Death Tax”. It’s one of the slower songs on the album but what it lacks for in speed it more than makes up for in great riffage; every note is emphasized at exactly the right time, and along with a killer vocal line it might simultaneously be the most sing-along-ready and headbang-able song on an album that isn’t lacking in either category.
There will probably be critics who accuse MUNICIPAL WASTE of beating a long-dead horse with their fifth consecutive album of party-ready, throwback Thrash anthems. They’ll say that the once fun-filled sound has stagnated; some sort of change is needed to sustain the band; that perhaps it’s time to tone down the debauchery and evolve, to grow up.
This reviewer, though, view things differently. Many a band has found it all too easy to break from their roots and alienate their fans amid the flurry of endorsements, new gear, and cash and fame that signing to a major label brings. But what “The Fatal Feast” has proved, as if anyone doubted it, is that it doesn’t matter whether their albums are recorded in fancy studios or shitty garages, whether the venue is an arena in New York or a house show in Richmond, Virginia—MUNICIPAL WASTE will always do things the MUNICIPAL WASTE way. This band has clearly found its niche in the Metal world, along with a group of die-hard fans that want no more and expect no less than exactly what MUNICIPAL WASTE has been, is, and always will be: a riot.