Municipal Waste – “The Art of Partying”

The Party Rages On

“Does anybody remember laughter?” —Robert Plant, ad-libbing in “Stairway to Heaven”

Say what you will about the state of music at the turn of the 21st century, but metal had become pretty humorless. Grins were out, grim was in. Maybe it was a reflection of what was going on the world, particularly post-9/11, but it seemed like metal culture had forgotten how to bust a chuckle. Thankfully a couple of twentysomethings in Richmond, Virginia—who had grown up on a steady diet of D.R.I., S.O.D., Gang Green, the Accüsed, and other crossover and thrash bands—still had intact senses of humor.

Vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist Ryan Waste (née Ryan Joy) formed Municipal Waste in 2000 to play the kind of crossover thrash that stopped being cool around the time. M.O.D. literally jumped the shark on Surfin’ M.O.D. in 1988. Maybe Foresta and Waste sensed something the rest of us hadn’t, or maybe it was just dumb luck, but the band’s blitzing, irreverent and over-the-top take on the genre found some traction on their full-length debut Waste ’Em All (Six Weeks Records) in 2003. With the addition of a fresh rhythm section—drummer Dave Witte and bassist Phil “Land Phil” Hall—and a contract with Earache Records, the Waste took a big step forward with 2005’s Hazardous Mutation. Five years in, the shows were getting bigger, the tours were getting longer, the crowds were getting crazier and the band was having a blast.

It was with this momentum—and the explicit confirmation from metal fans on both sides of the Atlantic that they, too, were ready to turn those frowns upside down and thrash like it was 1985—that Municipal Waste approached The Art of Partying. From the note-perfect title to the unrelenting volley of now-classic blasts of punk fury and frantic metal riffing, this is the ultimate distillation of what made crossover so appealing in its ’80s nascence. Released on Ryan Waste’s 27th birthday in 2007, the band’s third album found a receptive audience around the globe with both old-school thrashers and younger bangers who weren’t even born when the first wave of crossover introduced metal to punk and vice versa.

The Art of Partying defined “party thrash” in the new millennium. It not only launched Municipal Waste’s career, but revved up interest in thrash and inspired a fresh wave of youthful new bands. This one was a Hall of Famer out of the gate; it just took us a few years to make it official.

Need more Municipal Waste? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with all members on The Art of Partying, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.