Artist: Municipal Waste

Album Title: Electrified Brain

Label: Nuclear Blast

Date of Release: 1 July 2022

Seeing as I have finally embraced a greater love and appreciation for the thrash metal genre over the past year or two, I felt like it would be a good opportunity to listen to the new album from Municipal Waste, one of several bands within the genre with which I have never previously clicked. Entitled ‘Electrified Brain’, it’s the seventh album from the quintet hailing from Richmond, Virginia. And, at the end of the day, it is the seventh album from the quintet of Tony Foresta (vocals), Ryan Waste (guitar), Nick Poulos (guitar), Philip ‘Landphil’ Hall (bass), and Dave Witte (drums) that has failed to fully ignite my enthusiasm. Allow me to explain why, if I can…

Firstly, there’s that ‘crossover’ aspect of the music. Municipal Waste play a form of thrash metal that seeks to blend in a heavy dose of hardcore into their compositions. As such, you’ll find plenty of ‘gang’ vocals, where a number of voices basically shout in unison. I’ve never been the biggest fan of this, which is why I don’t tend to listen to very much hardcore music at all. The attitude is there, front and centre, but it’s not the kind of attitude that I am drawn to if I’m honest – it’s all a bit shouty and overly angst-ridden.

Yes, there is plenty of tongue-in-cheek attitude as well, but that doesn’t always help because it adds a vaguely comedic element to the output, meaning that it’s hard to take everything seriously. In effect, it only serves to dilute the usual messages of political corruption and discord, which could have been more impactful otherwise. With that said, I am not a fan of overly political music either, because I get enough of that in my daily life, so I’m looking for more of an escape route. Yup, the world is awful in many ways right now, I get it.

The fourteen songs that feature on ‘Electrified Brain’ rip from the speakers with plenty of energy and enthusiasm but without wanting to sound too harsh, the album feels a little one-dimensional. There is a change in pace here and there, but for the most part, the music skips along at a similar brisk pace with a precious lack of variety. I’ve listened to this record a number of times through, including during an eight-hour train journey to Scotland where I had no distractions aside from the sight of green fields rushing past my window. And even then, after listening, I couldn’t pick more than a couple of the songs out of a line-up if my life depended upon it. It’s not quite a case of ‘heard one, heard them all’, but it isn’t far off to be perfectly honest.

This is all a bit of a shame because actually, the album begins in promising fashion thanks to the first three tracks, the title-track opener, followed by ‘Demoralizer’ and ‘Last Crawl’. ‘Electrified Brain’ sets off like a stabbed rat after a short intro, full of pacey aggression, led by some sharp, thrusting riffs and Foresta’s unmistakeable, higher-pitched semi-shouted vocals. Just as the song is about to end though, in marches in a really nice bass-led groovy ending sequence that’s totally infectious.

Speaking of infectious, ‘Demoralizer’ continues the trend with a combination of riffs and melodies that seemingly blend the naked aggression of thrash with the immediacy of Maiden-esque NWOBHM. It makes for a thoroughly decent and enjoyable song, with much more depth to it, one of the few to stick in my brain for a little longer than others. And even though ‘Last Crawl’ is a faster, more uncompromising cut, it features a couple of thunderous riffs that catch my ear, alongside a cool lead solo that sparks and fizzes nicely. But there it more or less ends.

Undoubtedly, the musicians within Municipal Waste are talented at what they do, with each musician apparently fully committed to making as much focused noise as possible. The riffs in particular, are sharp, incisive, and the guitars are blessed with a great tone that feeds my inner metalhead soul. The solos are equally impressive, full of venom and executed with style and aplomb. Occasionally, there’s a dip in the speed in favour of a mid-pace groove, which is positive too. But it doesn’t quite feel like it’s enough. The album comes to an end, and I’m left thinking ‘oh, that’s it, then’, which is never how you want to feel at the end of a record.

Now, I’m well aware that an album shouldn’t be judged on outside factors, such as what other bands within the same genre are doing, but in this instance, it’s hard not to. Over the past year or two, a number of the heavyweights of the genre have released some excellent new material, and there are a handful of exciting releases still to come before 2022 is out. More than ever therefore, it is imperative that bands are on their mettle, delivering the best that they possibly can. But that doesn’t feel like that’s the case here. There will be the hardcore fanbase that’ll lap up every confrontational moment of ‘Electrified Brain’, but it’s nowhere near essential enough for me to recommend it more widely than that. Unless you’re a devotee, I’d search elsewhere for your thrash metal fix.

The Score of Much Metal: 69%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Paganizer – Behind The Macabre

Philosophobia – Philosophobia

Darkane – Inhuman Spirits

Exocrine – The Hybrid Suns

Fallen Sanctuary – Terranova

Deathwhite – Grey Everlasting

Charlie Griffiths – Tiktaalika

Seven Kingdoms – Zenith

Brutta – Brutta

White Ward – False Light

Winds Of Tragedy – As Time Drifts Away

Tim Bowness – Butterfly Mind

Denouncement Pyre – Forever Burning

Truent – Through The Vale Of Earthly Torment

Wind Rose – Warfront

Kardashev – Liminal Rite

Artificial Brain -Artificial Brain

Seventh Wonder – The Testament

Kreator – Hate Über Alles

All Things Fallen – Shadow Way

Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos

Lord Belial – Rapture

Buried Realm – Buried Realm

Stiriah – …Of Light

Remains Of Destruction – New Dawn

Crematory – Inglorious Darkness

IATT – Magnum Opus

Iris Divine – Mercurial

Decapitated – Cancer Culture

Bekmørk – The Path Nocturnal

Septic Flesh – Modern Primitive

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses

Drift Into Black – Earthtorn

Spheric Universe Experience – Back Home

Outshine – The Awakening

Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones

Zero Hour – Agenda 21

Scitalis – Doomed Before Time

Morgue Supplier – Inevitability

Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

OU – One

Haunter – Discarnate Ails

Aara – Triade II: Hemera

Pure Reason Revolution – Above Cirrus

Demonical – Mass Destroyer

I Am The Night – While The Gods Are Sleeping

Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews


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