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A morbid banquet, if not quite a fatal one. - 85%

hells_unicorn, August 19th, 2013

There's not a whole lot of new territory for crossover to explore, given not only that it tends to focus on a limited set of subjects, but because it's been around for about 30 years now. But you have to hand it to Municipal Waste, for despite sounding like a very basic hybrid of primitive hardcore influenced nastiness via Discharge and the usual thrashing goodness with a punk edge in D.R.I. and Cro-Mags, they've stumbled upon something that is actually fairly unique in their limited field. Granted, science fiction and horror have been a fairly compatible couple for quite some time in the film industry, but there hasn't been a whole lot of exploration of the sort of cannibalistic zombies reaping havoc on a space station subjects in the crossover world, unless one wishes to count the eclectic musical satirists Gwar among the group.

But for the fresh topic being covered on the album art, "The Fatal Feast" proves to be a pretty typical affair for those who have experienced their brand of sound on their 4 previous studio efforts. The new ground that is broken here comes in even smaller doses than the 1-3 minute standard songs that come in groups of 14 or more, culminating in 2 brief preludes, one of them the intro "Waste In Space" and the first 30 seconds or so of the title song "The Fatal Feast". In essence, the resulting intergalactic sounds heard hearken back to the quirky synthesizer music that would often be heard in 70s and 80s b-flicks in the Sci-Fi/Horror genre. Indeed, one might be tempted to picture one of John Carpenter's post-Halloween flicks to go along with the layered mixture of strings, choral and synthesizer pad sounds.

Lyrically, this is arguably the best album that Municipal Waste has put out yet, covering the usual subjects but mixing it up with some enjoyable excursions into space-pirate themes that remind heavily of Roger Corman's cinema works, but the music is surprisingly derivative of past efforts, though not in a bad way. "Repossession" and "The Fatal Feast" are the most overt Sci-Fi nods, but they follow that cliche "start off at mid-tempo grooving and then explode into a moshing frenzy" songwriting format that was well established on "Speak English Of Die", complete with Tony Foresta's D.R.I. influenced shout-singing. Along with a generally fast all the time cruiser "The Monster With 21 Faces" that sounds like an over-simplified Slayer song, these three songs mark an interesting lyrical twist on a common place crossover approach.

Be all this as it may, "The Fatal Feast" is not that much of a far cry from the band's established reputation for quick wit and morbid humor, as plenty of these songs are both lyrically and musically consistent with the fun heard a few years back on "The Art Of Partying". The outright speeders can be separated from the somewhat more elaborate thrashers can be separated simply by observing whether the song crosses the 2 minute threshold or not, but every song always ends up in d-beat heaven for at least 65% of the time. "You're Cut Off" and "12 Step Program" stand out for both being the most recognizably typical of the band's fascination with intoxication and their distilled feel of chaos and rage. While the formula never really gets beyond a 2-3 riff quickie with 2 or 3 different drum beats, few and fleeting guitar solos and a one-dimensional vocal approach, it all works quite effectively.

It might be a weird sentiment, but this album showcases Municipal Waste doing something that most might think impossible, namely traveling without really moving all that much. The exterior and a few moments on here mark a very clear departure, but 90% of this album can not be qualified as anything other than typical. Loving every single album that this band has put out is quite easy, as is hating every single one if they're not within one's preferred style, but seeing some sort of extreme rise and fall in quality for this band is something that is pretty difficult to argue in favor of consistently. They may be the unofficial Tankard of the crossover/thrash revival, but for those who want to have some fun while throwing his/her neck out, it doesn't get much better than this.

Big and stupid and fucking rad - 81%

BastardHead, November 8th, 2012

Maybe I'm just a simpleton, a dum-dum thrasher, a brain dead nu thrash kid with his flatbilled hat and pumped up kicks and skateboard, but I love pretty much every Municipal Waste record to date. I mean, they're never going to top that perfect blend of energy and riff writing showcased on Hazardous Mutation, but I still believe they haven't completely given up on writing fun, exciting songs. Even though Massive Aggressive is pretty much my least listened-to album from these Virginian old new schoolers by a long shot, it's still chock full of fun, aggressive songs like "Wrong Answer", "Upside Down Church", and the mighty "Wolves of Chernobyl". And if I'm being 100% honest with you, their 2012 offering, The Fatal Feast is no exception to the rules they've laid out for themselves and all new school thrash bands with Hazardous Mutation a whopping seven years ago (good Christ has it been that long already?).

The Fatal Feast is a strange anomaly in a way, as musically it seems to take more cues from hardcore punk than its predecessor, but on the whole the songs are a lot longer than they ever were in the past. I mean, listen to the chorus riff in "Standards and Practices", you can pretty clearly tell what I'm talking about. The riffs aren't as... I guess "typical" would be the right word. At this point in time, you can pretty much just hear a five second snippet of any song and you'd be able to accurately deduce that it's a Municipal Waste song, they have a distinct sound at this point. An Overkill style loud, pangy bass, riffs ripped straight from Game Over and Speak English or Die, Tony Foresta's pint sized shout, you've heard one album and you pretty much get the idea. Part of this has to do with the fact that this is the fourth straight album with the same lineup. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, don't get me wrong, a stable lineup is a marvelous thing to have and writing new music with people you've grown to be rather comfortable with is a huge plus. But let's be honest here, they haven't thought up a new idea in nearly a decade. Waste 'em All is the only album that sounds even remotely different, being much more into violent, dissonant, sloppy hardcore than the rest of the albums, which took a much cleaner, melodic approach to their punk influences. I attribute this mostly to the fact that not only was the band younger and more eager to just rip everything apart, but there were different brains behind the writing process. But what this long diversion is supposed to illustrate is that the signature Foresta/Waste/Phil/Witte sound has been ever so slightly tweaked to the center.

It's a small change, and maybe it's only noticeable to me because I've been a fan for a long time (kind of like how only casual fans or non-fans of Motorhead make the utterly incorrect accusation that all of their songs sound the same), but The Fatal Feast is a lot less insane than their earlier, finer hours. It's not as all over the place and pushing the highest tempo the band could possible muster, there are a lot more mid paced sections and hard chugging/moshing sections. Don't get me wrong, there are balls out speedfests here of course, fans of obnoxiously high octane crossover would do well to listen to "12 Step Program", "Unholy Abductor", or "You're a Cunt Whore" (or "Eviction Party" if you have the bonus track). But also listen to the first half of "New Dead Masters" or the title track, their dedication to high speed insanity has been dialed back a few notches overall. The real question is whether or not this is a bad thing. Well... yeah in a way it kind of is. I always felt Municipal Waste was at their best when they were being both catchy and dangerously fast, hence why Hazardous Mutation will likely always be their best album. On this newest album, they're a lot more focused and deliberate, which creates a much less frantic pace and presents us with three or four versions of "Sadistic Magician". This brings the album down a smidgeon in the overall scheme of things.

But it's only a smidgeon, as Municipal Waste's main quality is still here in spades. Say what you will about their skill or attitude or originality or quality or whatever reason you want to knock them, but you can't deny that Municipal Waste is a boatload of goddamn fun. I love listening to this album, I love listening to any of the previous albums, and I love seeing the band live. This is the intangible that keeps them as the reigning champions of post-2000 thrash. They're crossover masters and they embody this trans-genre swagger in the most entertaining way possible. The Fatal Feast may not be as shitnards bonkers as Hazardous Mutation or The Art of Partying, but it's easily equally fun. "New Dead Masters" and "Covered in Sick" should be counted as classics within the Waste's catalog as far as I'm concerned, right next to "Unleash the Bastards" and "Born to Party". Previous fans are bound to like this just as much as anything before it, and previous non-fans will find absolutely nothing to change their minds.

And that's what makes this what it is, it carries an abundance of energy and a dearth of fucks to give. Municipal Waste knows what they do best at this point, and they know that experimenting with this sound too much will certainly alienate them from the rabid fanbase they've built up. You want to know something? I agree with their mentality entirely. The Motorhead comparison above is just as apt in this regard. They know what they do, they know what fans want to hear, and so they deliver with all the passion and fire that they have to give, just like they did at the beginning of their career. Overall The Fatal Feast doesn't have as many memorable standout tracks (the two I singled out earlier are certainly the highlights regardless) as the second and third albums, and it isn't as crazy or unrestrained as them either, but it still somehow manages to be the best thing they've done in years. Municipal Waste is the whole package when it comes to this style, they predated the groundswell of 2006-2007 thrash bands and they prove that they're still legit with their fifth album. Despite the heaps of praise, I do realize that this is an album for established fans only, this isn't going to convert anybody. But fuck it, I am an established fan and this is a fucking awesome album. If you aren't an established fan too, then I'm afraid we can't be friends.

Originally written for

More crossover than thrash. - 70%

Roswell47, May 1st, 2012

I got the feeling that most people were disappointed with Municipal Waste's 2009 effort, Massive Aggressive. It seemed like the general consensus was that the album was too serious lyrically and too "accomplished" musically. I was among the minority who loved Massive Aggressive, and I have been anxious to hear what would come next.

Municipal Waste's follow up to Massive Aggressive has just arrived in the form of The Fatal Feast. Overall the new album is more simplified, and the humor is more prominent than on its predecessor. Musically, The Fatal Feast has a more crossover sound than a straight-up thrash sound. That is to say, the new album has more hardcore punk in the equation than metal. Many of the songs remind me of D.R.I. and the first Suicidal Tendencies album. There are more hardcore barre chord riffs than metallic thrash attacks. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just a different balance than on Municipal Waste's other recent releases. Still, there's plenty of metal present. Sweet shredding leads in "Repossession" and "Authority Complex" contribute to the metal vibe, and there are some huge drum fills in "Crushing Chest Wound" and "Death Tax." The bass playing in "Idiot Check," "Crushing Chest Wound," and "The Fatal Feast" also helps add a little flash to the album. (The bass tone is consistently awesome throughout The Fatal Feast too.) The more flashy moments of these instruments unite in the album's final, strongest, and most metal song, "Residential Disaster." However as mentioned earlier, the dominant vibe of The Fatal Feast is a more straight-forward hardcore feel. Perhaps the music is being downplayed slightly to put more focus on the lyrics. The humor is definitely more dominant here than on Massive Aggressive. Drinking, zombies, space, and religion are all covered with great results. Many fans will be pleased with the more overtly humorous approach.

Municipal Waste has always had hardcore punk and metal in its sound. That's the true definition of "crossover" after all. However, on The Fatal Feast the balance has shifted more toward the hardcore end of the spectrum. The band has traded some of the metal and seriousness from the previous album for more punk and humor. The Fatal Feast is a satisfying Municipal Waste album, but it may sound a little half-assed to people who prefer the more musically accomplished sound of the previous albums, especially Massive Aggressive. Any fan of the crossover genre should dig this though. The super-catchy punk riffs and the hilarious lyrics virtually dare you not to bang your head and sing along. The Fatal Feast is a mandatory purchase for any Municipal Waste die-hard.

Originally written for

I Think I'll Just Order Chinese, thanks. - 50%

Slasher666, April 17th, 2012

Just when we thought that Waste's new album "Fatal Feast" would make an excellent come back from "Massive Aggressive" it doesn't really make that much of a difference. This disappoints me because I was looking forward to some new material from these guys and they still are one of my favourite thrash bands to date, but what is this exactly? This isn't a feast, this is just some material that has been refined and the band's reputation and fan base it's fatal. A part of me wants to call this "Massive Aggressive 2.0" which can be valid, then again I also feel like that shouldn't be a label for this album.

Why I think it should be "Aggressive 2.0":

Everything just sounds so out of place! The lyrical content is just so unintelligent that it sounds like something that would be used on some sort of child's cartoon, they sound so tongue-in-cheek that it's almost painful to listen to it. Forresta's vocals have gotten worse, on "Aggressive" they were bad enough and now they've just gotten worse. They sound bland, flat, whiny, dull and rushed. It sounds like he's trying to revive "The Art of Partying" era but that idea just falls flat on its face mainly because it sounds nothing like it. Some would say it's because he's "ageing", that's not it and it has nothing to do with it, there's only one logical answer: he has lost his touch. I rest my case.

Why I think it shouldn't be "Aggressive 2.0":

All the instruments are perfectly executed, Ryan Waste and Landphil along with David Witte know how to play in unison and manage to pull it off. There are some juicy thrash riffs in here and they sound good, they remind me of Exodus (to a certain point that is). On their previous album everything was off tempo or off beat, out of key and messed up beyond repair, now the band looked back on it and fixed that up. Flawless execution.

As much as I hate to say this, Forresta is holding them back from actually achieving something. The power is there, but the seriousness of it all is long gone. Ryan Waste, Landphil and Witte are talented musicians and should seek a new vocalist (sorry Tony Forresta, as much as I admire you as a vocalist you gotta step up your game). Sure this is better than Metallica's "Lulu" or Slayer's "World Painted Blood" but this still isn't the best album they've brought to the table.