Richmond, Virginia crossover act Municipal Waste arrived and not only at the point of the rejuvenation of thrash but going some way as to leading its charge. Those not in the know or wondering whether crossover is just another sub-genre for the sake of it, Municipal Waste is very much from the D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies stable of thrash with the punk, hardcore and speed elements prominent and the result is a blur of frenetic riffs with a journey that is a cranium busting stage dive into the pit.
There is some comfort in Municipal Waste’s seventh album in that the band has attacked their craft like they have done from the beginning. If there is an ‘edge’ then it is in the knowledge that without live music, Municipal Waste were apart for a year which allowed more time on writing the album and adding dynamics that had not appeared on previous records. The energy quota is amped, the band is tight, focused and throws everything at every single one of the fourteen tunes that makes up the album.
Electrified Brain is a fun record which is crammed full of short, sharp shock tracks with the sole goal of coming in, fucking us up and leaving again. What makes the album different – those dynamics – are the slower time shifts on some songs and pit anthem in waiting Grave Dive is a perfect example. Among the rest of the album, it is a track that is relatively mid-paced, minus the freneticism of other songs and while other bands will have done tracks like this, to hear Municipal Waste ease up adds a flavour to Electrified Brain. With hardly any tunes stretching much above the three-minute mark, the songs do not hang around and it is that blur of elbow breaking riffs, squally dual guitar solos and some seriously hectic drumming. Tunes like Grave Dive and Thermonuclear Protection have that extra dimension and some catchiness which does make them memorable against the hyper-speed backdrop of the other songs that fly out of the gate and do not live long enough to necessarily engage with. In absolute fairness to the band, they have added layers to their sound, and it will be interesting to hear where they go with the next record. As that millennial pack leader, Municipal Waste may not want to step too far away from their established sound but there is a real sense that they want to.
Ultimately, there are some surprises in store but not enough to upset existing fans. There can be no faulting a band that are dedicated to what they do, and Municipal Waste do it incredibly well. Electrified Brain is hardly a polished record, but it is evident that the band has spent time on it. If anyone is in the need for ballads or anything deep and meaningful then look elsewhere, no such delicacies exist here and why should they? Municipal Waste is a talented live band that will be opening for Anthrax on their Autumn tour and rest assured, they will be giving the headliners a run for their thrash money.