Album Review – Municipal Waste / Electrified Brain (2022)

Richmond, Virginia’s most insane thrashing squad is back in action with a new album of 14 balls-to-the-wall tracks of ripping Thrash Metal at its finest.

In case you’re not yet acquainted, Richmond, Virginia-based Thrash Metal/Crossover squad Municipal Waste was formed back in 2001 and has been considered by many as the torchbearers for Thrash Metal for the last two decades. Now in 2022 it’s time for Tony Foresta on vocals, Ryan Waste and Nick Poulos on the guitars, Landphil on bass and Dave Witte on drums to kick some ass once again with their newborn opus, entitled Electrified Brain, highly recommended for admirers of the music by Suicidal Tendencies, Nuclear Assault and Toxic Holocaust, among others. Produced by Arthur Rizk and featuring an old school artwork by James Bousema, Electrified Brain will offer your thrashing ears 14 balls-to-the-wall tracks of ripping Thrash Metal at its finest infused with Hardcore and Punk Metal, inviting you to slam into the circle pit like a true metalhead this summer.

Sit down on the electric chair and get ready for the thrashing title-track Electrified Brain, where Tony roars manically supported by the frantic riffs and beats by his bandmates, and Ryan and Nick keep slashing their stringed axes mercilessly in Demoralizer, another classic Thrash Metal tune where Landphil and Dave also make the earth shake with their straightforward kitchen. It’s time to bang your head nonstop to the sound of Last Crawl, a beer drinking, hard hitting Thrash Metal composition where Tony sounds even more demented on vocals, followed by Grave Dive, reminding me of “Toxic Waltz” by Exodus and, therefore, inspiring us to “dance like a money” to the old school riffage by the band’s guitar duo. There’s no time to breathe as the circle pit keeps moving fast in The Bite, spearheaded by Dave’s frantic drumming and with guest vocalist Blaine Cook of The Accüsed adding his touch of insanity to their music, whereas in High Speed Steel the lyrics couldn’t have been more metal (“Born from iron / Strong as steel / Faster than all hell on wheels / Reaching speeds from the unknown / Racing to the terror zone”) while the music is simply awesome and insane. Then more of their incendiary riffs and blast beats are offered to our ears in Thermonuclear Protection, with Tony roaring and barking like there’s no tomorrow.

A jammin’ first half morphs into sheer adrenaline and violence in Blood Vessel / Boat Jail, where their Crossover vein pulses stronger than ever, whereas Crank the Heat is the perfect example of how Thrash Metal should be, which is fast, furious and absolutely fun, with Tony’s raspy screams being flawlessly supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals. Then putting the pedal to the metal it’s time to crush our skulls into the circle pit in Restless and Wicked, showcasing another amazing job done by Ryan and Nick on the guitars, while Ten Cent Beer Night makes me wonder where I could find beer that cheap. Anyway, musically speaking it’s more of their ass-kicking Thrash Metal with all backing vocals adding a Punk Rock-ish vibe to the overall result; and enhancing their animosity and speed the quintet offers us all Barreled Rage, with Landphil’s rumbling bass punching us hard in the head. In Putting on Errors the band needs less than two minutes to demolish everything and everyone that crosses their path, sounding bestial and infernal from start to finish in the name of Thrash Metal, and last but not least, be prepared for one final thrashing attack by Municipal Waste titled Paranormal Janitor, with Ryan and Nick being on fire with their wicked riffs and solos.

Having said all that, what are you waiting for to join Municipal Waste in their quest for Thrash Metal? You can start following them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their rebellious music, and of course purchase your copy of the excellent Electrified Brain (which is by the way available for a full listen anytime you want on Spotify) by visiting the band’s own webstore or by clicking HERE. Your  metallic brain will certainly melt to the sound of the new album by those American rebels, and I’m saying that in the best way possible because, as you know, we’re all born to thrash until we drop dead, and the music by Municipal Waste is an awesome, more-than recommended soundtrack for that.

Best moments of the album: The Bite, High Speed Steel, Crank the Heat and Restless and Wicked.

Worst moments of the album: Blood Vessel / Boat Jail.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Electrified Brain 2:45
2. Demoralizer 2:55
3. Last Crawl 2:28
4. Grave Dive 2:31
5. The Bite 1:37
6. High Speed Steel 2:31
7. Thermonuclear Protection 3:02
8. Blood Vessel / Boat Jail 1:55
9. Crank the Heat 2:42
10. Restless and Wicked 2:24
11. Ten Cent Beer Night 2:15
12. Barreled Rage 2:22
13. Putting on Errors 1:30
14. Paranormal Janitor 2:55

Band members
Tony Foresta – vocals
Ryan Waste – guitars, backing vocals
Nick Poulos – guitars
Landphil – bass, backing vocals
Dave Witte – drums

Guest musician
Blaine Cook – additional vocals on “The Bite”

Album Review – Lamb of God / Lamb of God (2020)

Re-energized and unrelenting, Richmond, Virginia’s own Groove Metal titans are finally back after five years with their pulverizing eighth studio album.

At long last, five years after the release of the excellent VII: Sturm und Drang, Richmond, Virginia-based Groove Metal titans Lamb of God are finally back with a brand new album self-titled Lamb of God, the band’s eighth studio effort, for our vulgar delectation. Produced by Josh Wilbur (Korn, Megadeth, Gojira, Trivium), the fact that their new effort is self-titled is a testament to the band’s pride and satisfaction with these songs and this period in their creativity, showcasing a true and healthy collaboration between frontman Randy Blythe, guitarists Willie Adler and Mark Morton, bassist John Campbell and newcomer Art Cruz on drums, a re-energized and unrelenting lineup that’s more than ready to lay claim to the metal throne. “Putting only our name on it is a statement,” Mr. Randy Blythe said. “This is Lamb of God. Here and now,” expressing in words all the rage, groove and darkness found in each of the album’s ten original and extremely acid songs.

An eerie start evolves into a pounding Groove Metal feast in the opening track Memento Mori, where Willie and Mark and infernal with their riffs, inspiring us all to slam into the pit like true metal maniacs while Randy darkly vociferates the song’s psychological lyrics (“The hardest hour, the cruelest sign / I’m waking up from this wretched lie / I fight it the same, don’t waste this day / Wake up, wake up, wake up / Memento mori”), whereas in Checkmate we’re treated to more of their modern-day, austere words (“Watch the gears grind off their teeth / The screeching halt machine digging heels in disbelief / Two reactional identities, opposing policies / A bait and switch routine”), while Art brings forward all his fury and dexterity on drums, proving why he was chosen to take the band’s drumming duties. And in Gears, my favorite song of the entire album, Randy sounds inhumane with his enraged roars accompanied by Art’s pounding beats and the groovy and thunderous bass by John, resulting in a very intricate, multi-layered and thrilling aria from start to finish.

Speeding things up a notch, the quintet fires the neck-breaking, pulverizing tune Reality Bath, bringing an amazing shredding blasted by the band’s guitar duo while Randy alternates between his trademark growls and dark, eerie clean vocals, followed by New Colossal Hate, keeping the album at an insane level of wrath and violence. In other words, it’s another song perfect for jumping up and down with the band, with John and Art making the foundations of the earth tremble with their hellish kitchen, and they continue to crush our heads with the wicked and visceral Resurrection Man, one of the heaviest and most obscure of all tracks, with Art hammering his drums fiercely while Rady fires deep, vicious roars nonstop. Then featuring guest vocalist Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed), the band delivers more of their hybrid of Groove and Thrash Metal in Poison Dream, with the sick riffage by Willie and Mark adding an extra kick to the overall result, not to mention the song’s vibrant and aggressive vibe.

The one and only Mr. Chuck Billy (Testament) lends his thunderous vocals to the high-octane Groove and Thrash Metal hurricane entitled Routes, sounding very melodic and at the same time as vile and caustic as possible, offering our avid ears their usual frantic beats, rabid screams and strident guitar solos, and you better get ready for another round of insanity and heaviness spearheaded by Randy and his demented screams in Bloodshot Eyes, also bringing some introspective moments while John and Art deliver endless groove through their unstoppable weapons. And last but not least, Lamb of God fire one last breath of first-class, demolishing metal music entitled On the Hook, with all of its crisp and thunderous riffs and bass jabs being nicely spiced up by Art’s rhythmic beats, uniting the heaviest elements from Thrash and Death Metal to the band’s core essence and, therefore, putting an amazingly heavy and explosive end to the album.

You can follow Lamb of God on Facebook and on Instagram (if you haven’t done so yet, of course) to stay up to date with everything that surrounds the band, including their tour dates, new songs and videos, news and other nice-to-know details, but I highly recommend you invest a small amount of your hard-earned money into their brand new album by clicking HERE and selecting your favorite version of it, as this is among the best metal albums of the year hands down. It might have taken a little longer than expected for Mr. Randy Blythe and his henchmen to released their new album due to all this horrifying and tedious COVID-19 pandemic, but at least the wait is over and, if you look on the bright side of life, all the wait was relatively worth it, making us insanely eager to see what Lamb of God had to offer us all in such obscure times. Needless to say, they didn’t disappoint at all, with their self-titled installment certainly fueling their inner selves to keep composing and delivering more of their unique Groove Metal for many years to come. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for metal concerts to be back on, buy your tickets to see Lamb of God live, and witness them kicking some serious ass with both their classics and the new fulminating songs from their new album, just the way we like it.

Best moments of the album: Memento Mori, Gears, Reality Bath and Routes.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Epic Records/Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Memento Mori 5:48
2. Checkmate 4:30
3. Gears 3:55
4. Reality Bath 4:32
5. New Colossal Hate 4:30
6. Resurrection Man 4:59
7. Poison Dream 4:57
8. Routes 3:04
9. Bloodshot Eyes 3:57
10. On the Hook 4:30

Band members
Randy Blythe – vocals
Willie Adler – guitar
Mark Morton – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

Guest musicians
Jamey Jasta – vocals on “Poison Dream”
Chuck Billy – vocals on “Routes”