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Hazardous Mutation

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Album Review

It had to happen: with the fever for retroactive musical styles running especially rampant through the heavy metal community in the mid-‘00s (see parallel examples from The Sword, Witchcraft, Wolfmother, and others), some band was bound to try resurrecting the once thriving confluence of thrash and hardcore generally labeled as "crossover." And few who remember the sub-genre in its original form would dispute that Richmond, Virginia's Municipal Waste really did their homework, delivering in their second album, 2005's Hazardous Mutation, as authentic a blast of ‘80s crossover thrash as has been heard since its fall from wider public awareness. From the carefully observed two-minute-tops song rule, to the lightning-fast shouted vocals of frontman Tony ‘Guardrail' Foresta (and his cohorts' gang choruses behind him), to Ryan Waste's razor-sharp buzz-saw guitars (and virtually no solo breaks in sight), and even the million-photo collage gracing the CD booklet (such things were popular back in the day), Hazardous Mutation addresses most every requisite crossover detail. Except where concerns the lyrics, which are predominantly focused on sci-fi and fantasy horror themes ("Unleash the Bastards," "The Thing," the title cut, etc.), or comic yarns about juvenile delinquency ("Blood Drive," "Mind Eraser") and copious and varied substance intake ("Accelerated Vision," "Bangover") — not political incompetence, social injustice or anything remotely that serious. Oh well, it's not like veering from reality diminishes the mosh-pit-churning efficacy of standout moments "Deathripper" and "Terror Shark," among many of those cited above. And even though it's a little too early to file Hazardous Mutation with any of the crossover genre's unchallenged ancient classics, suffice to say that, if you were ever a fan of mid'80s gems such as Agnostic Front's Cause for Alarm, the Cro-Mags' Age of Quarrel, or Murphy's Law's eponymous debut, prepare for a happy visit to your past over the course of these bruising 26 minutes.


Formed: Richmond, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

From choosing a name that makes them sound like some sort of urban public works department, to their music itself, Richmond, VA's Municipal Waste openly bow down to the memory of '80s thrash metal and crossover -- twenty years after, and a few hundred miles away from the original movement's heyday in New York City. Led by picturesquely named vocalist Tony "Guardrail" Foresta, Municipal Waste played their first show on New Year's Eve 2001, then spent the next few years working on demos, recording...
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Hazardous Mutation, Municipal Waste
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