Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain Review

When you get into middle age, some combination of social convention (“you’re too old for this”) or real-world responsibilities (kids, job, life) or simple physical limitation (it just fuckin’ hurts) will usually tell you that it may be time to slow the party down. But for those of us wading our way through middle age now… well, we’re often tempted to cling as long as possible to our fading youth, suffering through the party-free doldrums of adulthood for the periodic pleasures of one more beer, one more late night, one more good old time.

Release date: July 1, 2022 Label: Nuclear Blast.
Now 20-plus years into this all-night kegger – and with the five of them at or approaching middle age – our intrepid thrashers are rallying from a brief nap for that one more beer. Or maybe six more… At this point, a new Municipal Waste record is a purposeful exercise in repetition – the band themselves are up front about Electrified Brain being Municipal Waste doing what Municipal Waste does: crossover and cold beer, bad puns and better riffs. They’re still good at what they do – practice makes perfect, after all, and they’ve had years of practice – but Electrified Brain also feels comfortable, like the kind of party with old friends where you spend more time reminiscing about parties past than creating craziness you won’t remember anyway.

Still, this is Municipal Waste, and this is what they do, so when Electrified Brain rips, it does, in fact, rip pretty mightily. Catchy riffs abound in “Demoralizer,” in “High Speed Steel ,” in the swaggering midsection of “Thermonuclear Protection,” in “Paranormal Janitor.” Moshworthy breakdowns punctuate speedy thrash riffs and melodic guitarmony weaves; midtempo skanking sections leap out of the speakers, ready for the circle pits. Tony Foresta’s bark still has plenty of bite, and if that wasn’t enough, in “The Bite” itself, he’s augmented by the gonzo chattering snarl of Blaine Cook from The Accüsed, one of crossover thrash’s all-time greats. Gang-vocal shouts pop up throughout, custom-made for screaming along from the floor of some sweaty divebar. Dave Witte is a beast behind the kit, and he pushes Electrified Brain forward with the crackling grin-inducing spark that has always been Municipal Waste’s greatest asset. The production is stout, head-cracking, with each instrument given room to breathe and a crystal-clean sound. (Witte’s drums, in particular, hit hard and clear.)

At this point, a new Municipal Waste record is a known quantity. We entered “been there, thrashed that” territory a few records back, but that’s not to say that Electrified Brain isn’t an enjoyable listen. Its fourteen songs do have a tendency to blur together, but while it’s spinning, it’s certainly enough to put fists in the air and smiles on faces.

So here we are: The party continues, another night of beers with some old friends. Maybe we’re all taking it a little easier than we did before, playing it a little safer, not pushing out of our comfort zones. But it’s still a good time, and I’m always up for one more…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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