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The Fatal Feast

Nuclear Blast (2012)
Rating: 6.5/10

Much has been said of this so-called ‘thrash revival’, but truth be told it never really went away, rather it just lay waiting in the background while other metal fads enjoyed their magazine covers. Municipal Waste were one of the first bands of the ‘new wave of thrash metal’ that garnered interest from fans and critics alike, demonstrating how playing fast with hardcore influenced riffs is the perfect antidote to all of the nu-metal bands clogging up a metalhead’s iPod playlists.

The Fatal Feast is Municipal Waste’s fifth full length album, and also their first for Nuclear Blast following their previous relationship with Earache. Despite the album having a space theme from the artwork to the sci-fi instrumental intro of ‘Waste In Space’, it’s pretty much business as usual for the Richmond, Virginia-based quartet. After the thrash out of ‘Repossession’, ‘New Dead Masters’ slows things down and has an S.O.D. feel to it; an influence that can be heard throughout the album‘s 17 tracks. Interestingly, some of the faster songs have an air of Liverpool, England skate-thrashers SSS about them, especially in Tony Foresta’s vocals.

The rest of the album flies in thick and very fast, but as proficient as Municipal Waste are in the thrash crossover department it’s very easy to find yourself getting lost amidst the breakneck drumming and swirling riffs, and it’s not until the title track (featuring guest vocals from Nuclear Assault’s John Connelly) that a bit of variety is laid down on the table.

One area that The Fatal Feast is lacking in is proper anthems for which they’ve become well known; while the songs are decent enough in their own right there’s nothing really on offer that will make you sit up and have a thrash epiphany. Ryan Waste’s riffs are as vicious as ever and Dave Witte’s drumming as precise as you’d come to expect from him, but the songs seem to lack warmth and character compared to previous releases. The band have decided to self-produce and it seems that may have to shoulder some of the blame as the guitar is sometimes drowned out by the vocals (which in places are pretty uninspiring to be fair), and the drums also get lost in the mix too. And then, before you know it, the whole thing comes to an end which will leave you feeling slightly underwhelmed.

The trouble is it’s not that bad an album, just not a great Municipal Waste album. There are inevitable moments that will make you want to lose your head in their infamous pits, such as ‘Covered In Sick / The Barfer’, and some riffs will help you remember why you love this band in the first place. But with awesome new albums from Overkill and Kreator in 2012, then it may be a case of the veterans showing the young pups exactly how it’s done.

Neil Not

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