• Who needs these guys if we have Iron Reagan? - A review of Municipal Waste's ''Slime and Punishment''

    Municipal Waste - Slime and Punishment (2017)

    I discovered Iron Reagan when they played a show with Voivod and Black Crown Initiate among others two years ago and fell in love with the band's vivid crossover thrash metal with a great balance between socially and politically inspired lyrics on one side and humorous and nasty fun anthems on the other side. Since Tony Forresta is the lead singer and Land Phil the bassist and backing vocalist in both bands, it was only a matter of time until I would discover Municipal Waste and the new album seemed to be a good occasion to get into this band.

    While Municipal Waste's Slime and Punishment is an above average record with a lot of fury, it sounds like a weaker copy of Iron Reagan to me. The little experiments are a little bit less surprising, the lyrics a little bit less provocative, the long songs a little bit more meandering and the short songs a little bit less to the point. Especially the first half of the album isn't very impressive since several songs sound familiar to a point where they become indistinguishable. Other songs even end on lazy fade-outs which isn't appropriate for this vivid type of music and short tracks.

    Other than that, this release includes a few truly gripping tracks in the middle section and second half. ''Parole Violators'' is a furious up-tempo hardcore punk track with amusing radio play elements to conclude the tune on an original note. Title track ''Slime and Punishment'' convinces with a thunderous and dominating bass guitar sound, a nice melodic guitar solo and an additive main riff that creates the foundation for the angry vocals and powerful gang shouts. The instrumental ''Under the Waste Command'' convinces with fast melodic guitar solos that sound like Iron Maiden in the eighties on steroids. The vivid ''Think Fast'' is a perfect album closer and should provoke massive circle pits in concert as well.

    On the other side, I'm wondering what justifies the existence of two bands involving similar line-ups when they sound almost identical. I would have expected them to sound similar but not nearly identical. Since Iron Reagan is clearly the band with the better momentum right now that has released three killer records in a very short period of time, maybe Municipal Waste should be put on hold or just disband to put all the creative input into one single group. Municipal Waste fans are obviously not going to like my statement but that's how I feel about the situation. One extremely strong band with very regular releases sounds better two me than two above average groups that release above average albums from time to time. If the last Iron Reagan record had kept its best ten tracks and combined it with the four killer songs from the Municipal Waste record, that would have been a very strong candidate for album for the year.

    Final rating: 70%

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