Tonight four bands convene on the University of London Union to serve up a smorgasbord of extreme metal and kicking the evening into gear are Los Angeles’ heavyweights Skeletal Remains. Like Pestilence or Death, only amped up to 11, they deliver a masterclass in technical thrash and it doesn’t take long for a pit to erupt. There’s plenty of doomy, crushing sections which intersperse their musical maelstrom and ensures there’s a swing and groove underpinning their ferocity. With a behemoth frontman, powerhouse drummer and a twin guitar attack it all adds up to a brutal 30 minute set.
Using Judas Priest’s version of ‘Diamonds and Rust’ as an intro Sweden’s Enforcer arrive with all guitars blazing. They’re a band who capture that moment in time when groups like Accept and Anvil were alchemising metal into thrash but they are far from copyists as opener ‘Desire’ proves. Throwing lots of shapes and devil horns ‘Live for the Night’ is unleashed alongside ‘From Beyond’ with its huge sing-along chorus which finds even the vocally inept joining in. A fast and furious ‘Take Me Out of This Nightmare’ proceeds set closer ‘The Midnight Vice’ and ensures they bow out on a high.
A rather tasty punk/metal hybrid are Toxic Holocaust who’ve come set London alight with their warlike sound. Arriving like a division of Sherman tanks ‘Death Masters’ crushes all in its path with each song riling the crowd into greater insanity until the floor resembles a mediaeval battlefield. Imagine Bolt Thrower jamming with Extreme Noise Terror after imbibing amphetamines and you’d have something approaching the brutality of Toxic Holocaust. ‘In the Name of Science’ could strip paint while ‘Silence’ is anything but and finds the band scrawling their sound on every available surface. ‘Lord of the Wasteland’ and ‘War is Hell’ are fired in quick succession, each clambering over the other like nuclear rockets racing towards destruction. ‘666’ is a perfection slice of crossover thrash as peddled by the likes of the Exploited and English Dogs while ‘Bitch’ is a suitably frantic closer.
The thrash metal revival of the early 2000s birthed some great bands but, as a revival, it wasn’t forging new ground and subsequently most of the groups involved fell on stony ground. By putting a unique spin on the genre Municipal Waste rose to the top of the pack and they’re still here almost 20 years later. However when the band hit the stage and launch into ‘Unleash the Bastards’ it could quite easily be 1986 as the pit becomes a blur of denim cut-offs and high-topped trainers. ‘Mind Eraser’ only increases the insanity and by the time we reach third track, ‘You’re Cut Off’, the whole floor is a swirling mosh pit that sucks the unwary into its vortex. ‘The Thrashin’ of the Christ’ is paired with ‘Poison the Preacher’ whilst ‘Shrednecks’ does exactly what it says on the tin. With shades of Gang Green and tongue firmly in cheek ‘Beer Pressure’ raises a few smiles (and a few pint glasses!). During ‘Wave of Death’ things get a little too crazy and the show is stopped briefly but normal service is soon resumed with ‘Headbanger Face Rip’ and ‘Slime and Punishment’. Despite a bad case of flu vocalist Tony Foresta gives a stellar performance directing the pit and instigating more good, friendly, violent fun. The hardcore punch of ‘Sadistic Magician’ sits easy next to the all-out-thrash of ‘Think Fast’ before the band threaten to call it an evening with ‘Born to Party’. Of course they return for two encores, the first of which is a surprise cover of Def Leppard’s ‘Switch 625’ then their own ‘The Art of Partying’ brings the evening to a cataclysmic conclusion.
Reviewed by Peter Dennis.
Municipal Waste Set List:
- Unleash the Bastards
- Mind Eraser
- You’re Cut Off
- The Thrashin’ of the Christ/Poison the Preacher
- Beer Pressure/Thrashing is My Business…and Business is Good
- Wave of Death
- Headbanger Face Rip/Intro/Slime and Punishment
- Breathe Grease
- Wrong Answer
- Under the Waste Command
- Sadistic Magician
- Think Fast
- Born to Party
- Switch 625
- The Art of Partying