The rise of bands playing old-school thrash metal from a few years ago was met with varying opinion throughout heavy metal society, some embracing the fresh blood, others claiming that it was simply a carbon copy of the greats that came before. Some of the groups shot straight to the top and have kept the quality and emotion alive (Havok, Toxic Holocaust, Warbringer, et al), while quite a few others shot their load and faded into the sepia sunset. Municipal Waste were easily one of the originators of this new wave, and also one of the best.
Their vibe has always been one of crossover thrash, incorporating a hardcore stomp, solid pizza thrash, and one gabba-gabba-wee tongue firmly in cheek. One of their biggest positives was that they didn’t sound generic or lazy; when you heard the Waste, you knew immediately who it was and what they were about to do to you.
The Last Rager (stream/purchase options here), as much as I hate to admit it, doesn’t really cut the mustard and, unfortunately, is somewhat generic. All the tasty Municipal Waste goodness is there in spades, the tempo is all speed and mosh-spirit adrenaline, and the musicianship (as always) is on top of the job. On the other hand, the production swings without making contact and the songs are lacking personality, two vital components that can make or break a release.
You ready to Ride the “Wave of Death” with the latest music video off of The Last Rager:
My inner-fanboy loved the sound bite of an actual sea wave in opener “Wave Of Death” (instant flashback to the seminal/infamous Surfin’ M.O.D. EP by Billy Milano’s wonderful and eerily similar M.O.D.), some of the stronger riffs (see “Car-Nivore (Street Meat)”), and the wordplay in the title of “Rum For Your Life,” but even after repeated listens to the whole EP, it still feels like I could have spent the ten minutes more constructively.
Ultimately, this is just a short release to keep fans chomping at the bit until the next full-length opus, and it’s not bad music at all. In fact, a person new to the band might find it quite fist-pumping without the previous exposure. But for this longtime listener of their always fun, always kick-ass music, The Last Rager sadly misses the punchline.
The Last Rager Track Listing:
01. Wave Of Death
02. Car-Nivore (Street Meat)
03. Rum For Your Life
04. The Last Rager
Run Time: 10:12
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Not off the new EP, but still worth a stream, check out “Slime and Punishment”: