When Slime And Punishment drops on June 23rd it will have been almost exactly 1o years since the bands landmark release The Art Of Partying, my personal high school drinking record a fitting follow up to their genre defining 2005 release Hazardous Mutation. Municipal Waste have been a force to be reckoned with on the thrash metal scene for nearly two decades now, to the point that they have almost singlehandedly triggered multiple waves of thrash revival. A band initially based around silly puns about a genre no one cared about have reinvigorated the music and become thrash metal icons in their own right. Every record of theirs is cherished and many have clamored in this extended pause between albums. Now as they gear up to release their first full length in five (!) years and spend all summer playing Warped Tour the guys are chortling on their own pot smoking skateboarding insanity and bringing lessons brought from their other bands, most notably Iron Reagan, to the forefront to create what is one of the best Municipal Waste records yet.
What gets me about Slime And Punishment is that it borrows from all aspects of the bands discography and various side projects in order to establish what is in many ways the ultimate Municipal Waste record. While there certainly are touches of classic thrash (The cry of "No Sanctuary!" on 'Poison The Preacher' being a chief example) we also get more than a little of the punkier stuff that Iron Reagan has been peddling for the last few years. At the same time we get a nice mix of some more traditional metal and a lot of the guitar harmonies that I think helped to give the band their unique flavor in the first place. Of course the centerpiece as always is the incredible blossoming energy of Tony Foresta, a dude who refuses to give a fuck and will just thrash his way into your heart time and time again. He is crossover thrash incarnate and his willingness to party nonstop reminds us why we all got involved in this in the first place.
At the end of the day I just want a thrash metal record that I can sing along too and which has enough of a sense of humor to realize why this music should never die and the guys give you exactly that. Municipal Waste have mastered the formulas of traditional thrash metal and then inject it with a healthy dose of their own audacity. The big hardcore choruses, angular riffs and tight song lengths mean that Slime And Punishment remains vital for its refreshingly brief 28 minute run time. Rather than try and push boundaries they know what works and grow within that, making it impossible not to fall in love with their unique pizza fueled vision. So in the world of crazed stoners, insane police officers and metal loving rednecks we find a certain sense of solace. Municipal Waste might not have all the answers but they certainly know where the fucking party is at.