Municipal Waste - Massive Aggressive
Earache Records
Punky Thrash Metal
13 songs (28:49)
Release year: 2009
Earache Records
Reviewed by Kyle

Thrash Metal bands are often very difficult to write reviews for. Save for a few key bands (Megadeth being the first of these coming to mind), Thrash is a rather monotonous genre as a whole, great for moshpits, drinking, and… well, not much else. Municipal Waste has been a prime example of this ever since their debut, Hazardous Mutation, and on their fourth and latest album, Massive Aggressive, that doesn’t change all too much. Fortunately, however, there are a handful of changes in production, musicianship, and songwriting that should be enough to draw in and please old fans, and to make this review much easier to write, though people who have had an aversion to them in the past will find absolutely nothing here to change their minds.

To start, let’s delve into exactly what HASN’T changed. Municipal Waste still play blisteringly fast, fun, and heavily punk-influenced Thrash Metal, with a good dose of humor injected into their lyrics. Their vocalist, Tony Foresta, can’t do anything other than yell at the top of his lungs, the drummer plays standard double-time snare hits on the off-beat, the guitarists perform simple yet effective power chord lines, often tremolo-picking the riffs and no solos, and the bassist follows said guitar lines with apparently no ambition in being recognized as an important aspect of the band. For those of you that have never listened to MW, this description alone should be enough to inform you whether or not the band is right for you. But now, let me dedicate this next paragraph to Munical Waste devotees that are looking for something more than what was found on their last album, The Art Of Partying.

On Massive Aggressive, Municipal Waste has clearly decided to make their punk influence much more evident, which is best heard when they incorporate melodic lead guitar riffs and catchy, gang-vocal choruses into their songs. The chord progression on some of the tracks is very much punk inspired, especially on Media Skeptic, which could almost qualify as a straight-up punk song. Foresta’s voice has also had an upgrade, and it now sounds more aggressive and raspier than before. In fact, the production in general has improved; every single individual strum of the strings and kick of the bass drum shines clearly, but at the same time the quality of the instruments sound heavier than on The Art Of Partying. Massive Aggressive, indeed.

Most of the songs follow the traditional Municipal Waste style, but there are a few standout tracks. Album opener Masked By Delirium features a misleading mid-paced intro with a great melodic riff before Foresta unleashes one of his signature shrieks to reveal the song’s true colors: An aggressive, fast-paced thrash song, with tons of galloping tremolo riffs that’s akin to MW tracks like Sadistic Magician. Mech-Cannibal is another winner, showcasing some very Exodus-like riffing in the verse and one of those excellent punk-style choruses with punk chord structure. The hands-down best track though is Upside Down Church, with a mid-paced thrash intro before morphing into a speedy thrash track featuring absolutely frantic riffing and vocals. I would go to one of Municipal Waste’s live shows for the sole purpose of hearing them perform Upside Down Church in person, even if it is only two and a half minutes long.

And here lies the problem with Massive Aggressive, as is the problem with all their records: There’s almost no depth, the songs are way too short, and the album is over before you know it. Constantly I would lose interest in the album while listening to it while doing yardwork or homework and all of a sudden realize that, unbeknownst to me, the album had already blazed through two tracks. Other than the few songs I already mentioned, all of the tracks are interchangeable, and even though you can sit down and pick out at least one stellar moment from each song if you really pay attention, I don’t see any reason why you would want to do that. Municipal Waste have put out another very fun record and managed to evolve themselves enough to keep said record interesting, and while it’s fantastic as “Party Metal”, there’s simply not much depth; just lots of silly, silly Thrash Metal. Still, there are enough new ideas on Massive Aggressive to keep me coming back for multiple listens, which is more than I can say for their previous works.

Killing Songs :
Masked By Delirium, Mech-Cannibal, The Wrath Of The Severed Heads, Upside Down Church, Media Skeptic
Kyle quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Municipal Waste that we have reviewed:
Municipal Waste - The Fatal Feast reviewed by Bar and quoted 79 / 100
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