Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain (Album Review)

Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain
Released: July 1, 2022

Line Up:

Ryan Waste // Guitars/Vocals
Tony Foresta // Vocals
Land Phil // Bass/Vocals
Dave Witte // Drums
Nick Poulos // Guitars

Online:

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Instagram
Twitter
Official Website

One of the leaders of the mid-00s thrash metal revival, Municipal Waste’s 2005 and 2007 releases, Hazardous Mutation and The Art of Partying respectively, are two of the finest crossover thrash records of this millennium. Rightly considered genre classics, the energetic, unpretentious hardcore-meets-thrash metal is designed to be blasted at high volumes at any given time, especially at parties and anywhere good times are had. Municipal Waste’s issue in the following fifteen years or so is that they haven’t been able to conjure up the same magic heard on those excellent LPs. With their newest, seventh full length Electrified Brain, the five-piece will need to dig deep to regain their creative spark, or risk churning out another average album. 

Electrified Brain starts well; nothing hardened thrash metal fans haven’t heard a million times before, but a strong opening salvo. After a furious first couple of minutes the opening title track really gets into gear during the last 30 seconds with a powerful mosh-friendly groove. Following song ‘Demoralizer’ brings a more mid-pace tempo (by thrash standards), packing some great riffs before introducing almost Iron Maiden-esque harmony guitars. The fourth tune and first single ‘Grave Dive’ is another highlight, definitely made for the live stage, throwing in yet another neck wrecking closing passage.

Things sadly go downhill from here, and it brings me no joy saying this, but Municipal Waste just haven’t created a consistent release with Electrified Brain. The band are as potent as ever; Tony Foresta is a great frontman and witty lyricist, while Dave Witte is an underrated, ultra-tight drummer, but a lot of the material is lacking in hooks and standout moments. The main problem is that at 14 songs long, a lot of Electrified Brain flies by without much impact – the middle of the album is particularly forgettable, serving up some very average and uninspired material. It’s not until tracks 11 and 12, ‘Ten Cent Beer Night’ and ‘Barrelled Rage’, that the momentum picks up again. The former’s lyrics alone make it a standout, while the hardcore-leaning latter features the sort of gripping attack that so much of Electrified Brain is missing. Fortunately the record closes with another stronger number, ‘Paranormal Janitor’ – which boasts some great creeping lead guitars, perfectly fitting the horror-movie vibe.

Municipal Waste are sort of like the metal equivalent of beer and pizza – there’s an undeniable pleasure in its safe and tasty predictability, but for most people having it every night is going to get dull very quickly. There are definitely a handful of good moments on Electrified Brain, but even having hotly rising producer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip/Kreator) behind the boards is not enough to pull a consistently strong album out of the Waste. Repeated listens don’t give any tucked away secrets, and more than half of the record just isn’t ear-grabbing – not to say it’s bad; simply unmemorable.

With so, so much new metal music coming out this year, Electrified Brain isn’t strong enough to make it an essential listen. For the most part, the band sound like they’re treading water. If you’re a big fan of the group, or a thrash metal devotee, it is still worth your time to give it an inquisitive spin. However, if you’re not usually into this metal sub-genre, or new to Municipal Waste, check out their previously mentioned earlier classics instead.

Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain tracklisting:

1. Electrified Brain
2. Demoralizer
3. Last Crawl
4. Grave Dive
5. The Bite
6. High Speed Steel
7. Thermonuclear Protection
8. Blood Vessel / Boat Jail
9. Crank the Heat
10. Restless and Wicked
11. Ten Cent Beer Night
12. Barrelled Rage
13. Putting on Errors
14. Paranormal Janitor

Rating: 6/10
Electrified Brain is out July 1st on Nuclear Blast. Pre-order here
Review By – Andrew Kapper. Twitter: @andrew_kapper 

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