Album review – Municipal Waste – Slime and Punishment
By ANDREW MCKAYSMITH
SIX albums, numerous EPs and a slew of releases elsewhere deep, Municipal Waste return with another crossover thrash offering that proves once again that Messer’s Waste, Forsester, Phil, Witte and Polous produce heavy metal that punks can appreciate.
Kill The Music was a punk leaning music store located on Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. It was a great place for many reasons. I got into a slew of releases on the recommendation of the gents behind the counter and still listen to Bitter End, Defeater and other less known but very worthy hardcore bands. It is also the place I first became aware of Municipal Waste.
I had a chat to MW’s guitarist, Ryan Waste, while he was on the promotional rounds for Slime and Punishment. Catching up with him after he had missed out on his preferred selection of Vans sneakers at the start of the Van’s Warped Tour, Waste’s plight seemed a fitting analogy of the band and their music in 2017.
Slime and Punishment is a great album if you get into the hardcore/crossover thrash that SOD, DRI, MOD, Cro-Mags and Nuclear Assault foisted on audiences between 1985 and 1991. But many traditional metal fans aren’t excited about any of the bands I just mentioned or MW. There is a temptation for me to suggest that if you enjoy these bands and MW’s earlier work then you will get into what they have done on Slime and Punishment and leave it there. But… I’m not paid karma bucks to offer a limp appraisal and a firm ‘on ya way’.
The most prominent takeaway that I gleaned during the listening experience is that Ryan Waste has a picking hand to rival Scott Ian from Anthrax. I’d even suggest that on Slime and Punishment, Waste demonstrates he has a better ‘Ian’ technique than the man himself, especially since given Ian has long since moved on from the razor sharp riffage he established his rep through. (See cuts such as “Indians” and “A Skeleton in the Closet”, both from Among the Living, ’87)
The more I listen to Waste’s playing, the more enamoured of his technique I become. Across Slime and Punishment, Waste offers a serious lesson in the rhythmic aspect of thrash metal guitar performance.
I am a musician and a fan of metal. In order to ‘hear’ the music better I often switch to ‘musician lens’ and eventually mine the aural gold I this fashion. In truth, I found myself doing this rather a lot with Slime and Punishment. I used the same methodology when reviewing Tankards new album for 2017, One Foot in the Grave for another publication and discovered the outstanding guitar playing of Andreas Gutjahr.
As far as I am concerned it does not diminish the band, an album or performance however it does allow for a thoroughly different perspective to appreciate a release.
Slime and Punishment does sound magnificent, to the casual fan who just wants it hard and fast, its the business. The band have never claimed to be innovators, preferring to represent old-school thrash metal vandals in the new age of djent and polymorphic beats and rhythms. To that end it is shrewd move to enlist the help of one of thrash and heavy metals most revered elder statesmen.
I would recommend the album on the fact alone that I understand it was mixed and mastered by the great Bill Metoyer. If you are unfamiliar with the name, grab a coffee (or a beer) get googling and check out Metoyer’s seriously impressive resume and credentials.
Overall, the album is a summary of the bands influences, and that’s really it.
Slime and Punishment will be great gym music, so I look forward to huffing and puffing and wheezing through my next 2 km row or interval training session accompanied by choice cuts such as “Shredneck”, “Amateur Sketch” and the excellent title track.
To conclude, here’s a thought for an enterprising individual out there.Wouldn’t it be awesome to go to a gym that was themed for the heavy metal aficionado?
As many of us can attest, gyms can be god forsaken places if you have a fondness for the amber ale and other darker beverages. To make it a little easier on the eye and to encourage membership for metal maniacs; How cool would it be to arrive at a gym, approach to hear the strains of Slime and Punishment through well organised speakers and be greeted by someone who you may ordinarily validating an e-ticket ?
Food for thought!