If you're craving a throwback to the time when thrash metal was at it's height, then look no further than Municipal Waste's Hazardous Mutation. On their Earache Records debut the Richmond, Virginia four-piece deliver the perfect mixture of 80's thrash, crossover, and hardcore/punk. While the result may be nothing more than what some consider 'twenty years too late,' it is a refreshing listen during a time when the world of metal is overflowing with Gothenburg knockoffs.
From the get-go of 'Intro/Deathripper' and continuing throughout the album, guitarist Ryan Waste provides the listener with thrashing riffs perfect for a never-ending headbanging sessions. In fact, there were very few moments when the guitars were not traveling at the speed of sound. Moving just as fast as the blistering riffs is the drumwork of Dave Witte, whom most of you will know from his days in Discordance Axis and Burnt by the Sun. Witte pounds away at his kit furiously, creating what seems like endless combinations of double bass, blast beats, cymbal crashes, and drum fills. There really is no denying the talents of this skinsman and it is reassuring to know that his skills are not being wasted since his departure from Burnt by the Sun.
And while the scorching riffs and hammering drums are ever present, it is vocalist Tony Foresta that truly controls the machine that is Municipal Waste. The majority of Foresta's vocals are heavily yelled, not screamed. As a result you can understand every dark, twisted, and weird lyric that spews from his mouth. There are moments, however, when Foresta decides to scream that sound identical to Tom Araya - 'Unleash the Bastards' and 'The Thrashin' of the Christ.'
In addition to the music, I felt it necessary to comment on the packaging of Hazardous Mutation. Famed artist Ed Repka did an outstanding job with the cover art as it is aesthetically fitting with that of 80's thrash luminaries Megadeath, which should come as no surprise as Repka created Vic Rattlehead.
Placing Municipal Waste amongst the kings of thrash may be going too far, but it is easy to admit that the band is definitely a force to be reckoned with in today's metal market. Besides, I can't really see anyone not liking a band with song titles like 'Guilty of Being Tight,' and 'Abusement Park.'