Sound — 8
Starting out as a tongue-in-cheek love letter to classic thrash, stereotypically decorated with its sharp-font band logo and cheesy, macabre album art, Municipal Waste proved to be an enjoyable reiteration of the retro extreme metal genre for the 21st century. And though the band has steadily built up steam since their humble 2003 debut album, "Waste 'Em All," the members have fanned out into other projects as time went on. Along with drummer Dave Witte being involved in like a dozen other bands, bassist Phil Hall founding the satirical death metal band Cannabis Corpse, and founding frontman Tony Foresta founded another band with Hall, the more hardcore-oriented Iron Reagan, as well as earning a spot on the Dave Grohl-endorsed crossover thrash supergroup Teenage Time Killers, alongside other metal heavyweights like Randy Blythe and Corey Taylor.
Juggling all these different projects is essentially why Municipal Waste has been relatively silent since their fifth album, 2012's "The Fatal Feast (Waste in Space)." But soon after releasing Iron Reagan's third album, "Crossover Ministry," Foresta and company finally put back on their Municipal Waste hats on for the release of the project's sixth album, "Slime and Punishment." Chock full of stampeding rhythms in "Breathe Grease," "Poison the Preacher," "Parole Violators," and Amateur Sketch," the album touts more of the "meat and potatoes" of thrash riffing compared to their sister project's album earlier this year, though songs like "Enjoy the Night" and "Low Tolerance" wield strumming patterns that trace back to hardcore/crust punk.
Also being the first Municipal Waste album to bring Cannabis Corpse guitarist Nick Poulos into the fold, "Slime and Punishment" has a noticeable uptick in guitar skill compared to the previous "The Fatal Feast." This primarily comes via a bigger load of shredding guitar solos, heard in "Dingy Situations," the vocal-less "Under The Waste Commandment," and the eponymous song, though outside of that spotlight, songs like "Shrednecks" and "Death Proof" just have some damn good riffs to them. And while he does a fine job on guitar in Iron Reagan, Hall's bass duties in Municipal Waste continue to shine bright in the album, with his riffing being the scene-stealer in "Bourbon Discipline," "Excessive Celebration," and taking the reins in the groovy closer "Think Fast."
Lyrics — 6
Once again, Foresta's lyrics in "Slime and Punishment" spin through the more lighthearted and self-awarely overblown topics that fit the thrash aesthetic like a glove, ranging from corny puns on hillbilly metalheads in "Shrednecks," a hyperbolic drinking contest in "Bourbon Discipline," and reckless partying in "Enjoy the Night" and "Excessive Celebration." Even the socially-conscious topic of the carceral state in "Parole Violators" is delivered upon with levity, containing a spoken skit in the bridge that harnesses goofiness akin to early NOFX.
Other cases of keeping up the hyperbolic Municipal Waste lyrical matter are moments of juvenile, anti-establishment surliness ("I never cared for your world / And that's a matter of fact / So good luck wrapping your brain around that!" in "Breathe Grease"), and the anti-religious message in "Poison The Preacher" ("You will pay / No sanctuary / Too late to pray"). But if there's anything that "Slime and Punishment" is lacking in the lyrics department, it's the moments of sci-fi/horror fantasy that emulate the kitschy likes of Anthrax and Megadeth; the only cinematically-centric set of lyrics is in "Death Proof," which is generally just a summary of the 2007 Quentin Tarantino film of the same name.
Overall Impression — 8
One would think that Foresta and company's focus on new music projects would take away from its quality, if not render Municipal Waste indefinitely derelict, especially after seeing the recent investment made in Iron Reagan. But having those different plates to spin has only helped Municipal Waste revel in its thrash identity, and "Slime and Punishment" is proof of that. Being another record of speedy, jocular metal to drink a beer to, "Slime and Punishment" continues to appeal to Municipal Waste's simple M.O.: partying hard.