Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying Review
by Mark Hensch
What truly defines partying? Perhaps it is the joy of friendship with people you care about. Some prefer the taste of a cold beer, somewhere between shockingly disgusting and crisp, refreshing, and breath-taking all at the same time. Ever more folks get off on the tension of waiting for a good party, only to go in and have their highest expectations exploded in a violent flurry of insane, unhinged joy.
Like capturing lightning in a bottle, Richmond, Virginia's Municipal Waste have taken all these things and put them into sonic form. The Art of Partying is just that, a quick holocaust of denim, leather, and golden-age crossover-tinged thrash metal. Though none could argue that this is anything besides throwback thrash, Municipal Waste invoke a spirit of unbridled, wild fun that transcends genre and should honestly appeal to fans of any kind of music. In fact, I honestly have yet to hear an album which better captures the party experience---this disc has it all. A friend's absurd drunken stories are represented in the goofy, over-the-top, and ultra-violent lyrics; a sense of friendship pervades every air-tight passage of brutal thrash, and every infinitely catchy gang-vocal. Beyond that, things are so blatantly ripping and reckless that it pretty much begs a good time.
The appropriately named "Pre-Game" is a quick snippet of the band's instantly memorable crossover, sans vocals. The album truly starts with "The Art of Partying," a manic anti-establishment anthem. The riffs are razor-sharp, the bass lines often rolling, and the drumming but ferocious. "Headbanger Face Rip" starts with traded riffs careening into thin air before a whirling vortex of flaying sound explodes out of the speakers. The band utilizes bellowing group vocals and stomping breakdowns to great effect as well, their unique sense of blitzkrieg dynamics something that only today's quickest grind bands can truly appreciate. "Mental Shock" is a skittering riff monster that soon transforms into a punked-out barnstormer, only to twist itself into a slamming chorus in its grand finale. "A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Destroyer)" slowly builds out of a monstrous intro into frantic bass and a throwing-knife fiesta of slicing, crazy guitars. The most amazing part of a song like this is its absolute seriousness, the face-smashing chords and blasting percussion quickly offsetting the delightfully ridiculous lyrics.
"The Inebriator" soars in on epic hums and churning groove riffs. The resulting crossover beast is chock full of face-ripping blastbeats, sick off-notes, and all manner of blink-or-you'll-miss-it thrash theatrics. "Lunch Hall, Food Brawl" may be about a food-fight, but it is actually one of the best tracks on offer here. At first, the song barrels through blistering thrash, only to come back again-and-again to roaring gang-vocals over fantastic melodic leads. The choruses are epic, grand, and utterly gripping, just as truly solid thrash should be. "Beer Pressure" is a clever ode to alcoholic brotherhood; it features a cheeky, sinister vibe that is the perfect mix of fun and underlying mischief. In keeping with the eventual caving of the song's characters to popular opinion, the riffs become increasing harried and claustrophobic as they spin listeners into a chaotic frenzy. The galloping "Chemically Altered" rips with all the intensity of an old D.R.I. song and with twice the dynamics. Ripping with unbridled intensity, frontman Tony Foresta howls for everyone around him to "NEVER F*CKING STOP" and listeners will damn well believe him as everything collapses into a pummeling wall of Slayer-worshipping chug. "Sadistic Magician" hums a rollicking bass line before exploding into a pyrotechnic display of bone-cracking up-tempo thrash. Catchy and unhinged, this is party metal of the highest order. "Open Your Mind," meanwhile, is a slow-burning pit-opener. The riffs and gang choruses slowly grow higher in a slight twist of subtle intentions, and the band's brief foray into melodic NWOBHM leads will have old denim-and-leather moshers freaking out. "Radioactive Force" combines epic guitar notes and technical, face-melting fret-work all in the span of time it would take a gun to pierce a brain at close distance. Even better, it isn't afraid to launch into a slowly charging warpath of absolute devastation. "Septic Detonation" mixes dirty thrash riffs with spastic bombing-raids of blastbeats to great effect; the bass peeks out like a voyeur gazing covertly at some hot-tubbing lesbians and fiery sparks leap out of the frets as if the riffs are so fast they are physically burning the air. "Rigorous Vengeance" is pure old-school thrash, the riffs having that meaty, muscular tone to them on top of catchy but fierce leads. "Born to Party" is easily the most awesome song of 2007, its brief drum flurries soon ballooning into insanely bludgeoning crossover that would make any of the masters blush. The band's eventual opening of brews opens up a brutal breakdown into calls of "MUNICIPAL WASTE IS GONNA F*CK YOU UP!!!" and classic-era punk "whoaaaaas." It is more fun than a keggar amongst uptight, repressed college freshmen, and patient listeners willing to wait for a moment or two of silence will get a fun little out-take featuring the band singing some horribly weak pop lyrics. It is a fun, goofy way to an album that is just that, and one best believe that this is nothing short of the gnarliest asskicking this side of a Rambo flick.
I was also lucky enough to score the limited edition version of The Art of Partying, and, as such, I got two extra tracks for my listening pleasure. The first, "Thrashing is my Business, and Business is Good," is an obvious nod to classic thrash legends Megadeth. After the title, however, the similarities end and the song itself is an under-a-minute-jaw-breaker of arrogant haymakers. "Just Wanna Rock" is a laid-back thrash anthem with plenty of swagger, and its shout-along hooks are every bit as good of an ending as the original disc's close in "Born to Party." In fact, I'd argue that it is these attentions to entertaining, asskicking thrash throughout the entire disc which makes The Art of Partying such a monster album.
Though thrash has had its various titles of "loudest," "fastest," and "heaviest" usurped by newer, more extreme genres, the binge-party gone bloody vibe of this album will make noobs damn well forget it. As for the older thrash fanatics, these guys are the real deal, and have brought thrash kicking and screaming back to the bloody throne that was always its own. The Art of Partying is just that, a raucous roughneck beatdown turned to inarguable masterpiece. Party on!
Municipal Waste's The Art of Partying
2. The Art of Partying
3. Headbanger Face Rip
4. Mental Shock
5. A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Destroyer)
6. The Inebriator
7. Lunch Hall, Food Brawl
8. Beer Pressure
9. Chemically Altered
10. Sadistic Magician
11. Open Your Mind
12. Radioactive Force
13. Septic Detonation
14. Rigorous Vengeance
15. Born to Part
16. Thrashing is My Business, and Business is Good (limited edition bonus track only)
17. Just Wanna Rock (limited edition bonus track only)
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Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying
Rating:10.00 out of 10.00
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