Visions: Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast (NSFW)

I’m by and large a big fan of Municipal Waste, having been a big part of satiating my wish for thrash to be the in thing in my lifetime – I missed the original wave as I was blissfully unaware, due to young age, of the effect this style of music was to have on my neck one day. I’ve been quick to obtain their albums upon release and have enjoyed them all right up to ‘Massive Aggressive‘, which was still a great album even if not quite on a par with the two albums that preceded it.

The ‘Waste are back with ‘The Fatal Feast‘ and the title track is the inspiration for a brilliantly and typically over the top video from the Richmond crew, as they engorge their way through a space vessel’s crew and its rescue team. The track itself surprised me at first with its more melodic vocals – but its no less thrashy and old school and it certainly picks up a gear at the right time. Their bloodlust is seemingly insatiable and hence, its every bit the reason you should probably not let your boss catch you watching this. As comical as it is, there’s always plenty of blood to be spilled in Municipal Waste’s world, and they’re not holding back here. After the jump.

Peter Clegg 

Municipal Waste – The Fatal Feast (official video)

The trial of Conrad Murray – a musical analysis

As Dr. Conrad Murray awaits his sentencing for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, We Must Obey implements a musical analysis at three other elements in this court case: money, the media, and those who gathered outside the courts on a daily basis. Needless to say, there’s going to be some true words, and some harsh ones too – PC

Many of us will never know exactly what went down at the time of the death of Michael Jackson and the guilty verdict delivered to his doctor, Conrad Murray, with only the accounts of what was stated in the courtroom and on the newswires as word.

One thing is certain. America, don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope you’re happy you’ve got your scapegoat.

Throughout this whole trial, Murray looked like a rabbit in the headlights. Rightfully so, because yes, he is guilty of not following medical code, guilty of unethical practice, and guilty not doing enough to save Jackson when it was critical to take action, and ultimately allowed himself to get caught up in the media circus that was Jackson’s life, though it wasn’t he who admitted the lethal dose in the end.

But whatever your opinion and regardless of the verdict, some of the fervour from the mainstream news outlets and the shameful hoo-rah brash triumphalism of Jackson’s fans really got me in the mood for some commentary on justice, whether true or fair or even clearly decrepid. That, or songs that tell of the downfall of a subject in general. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the songs serving as an alternative musical analysis to this sorry situation.

Metallica – …And Justice For All
[from ‘…And Justice For All‘, Vertigo, 1988]

It’s plain for all to see that such was Jackson’s celebrity status that there was a huge amount of money to be made from Murray’s trial. And like it or not, it’s hard not to look past that fact and wonder what influence it played. The title track from Metallica’s ‘…And Justice For All’ may be twenty-three years old, and a beast at nine minutes, fourty-four seconds in length, but to this day musically and lyrically remains relevant – indeed it sticks out like a sore thumb on the issue of justice. For Murray, justice really is ‘so grim, so true, so real‘. And ultimately, the client with the biggest team of lawyers won. No prizes for guessing who did have the largest ensemble. The only flaw here of course is that I’m not suggesting the trial was corrupt, although no doubt there had to be a lot of outside influence by the money men.

Bad Religion – Los Angeles Is Burning
[from ‘The Empire Strikes First‘, Epitaph, 2004]

There’s not many songs that hit the nail on the head about mainstream media than Bad Religion’s ‘Los Angeles Is Burning’. The standout single from ‘The Empire Strikes First‘, while not as memorable as some of their other classic material across their 31 year history, showcases Greg Graffin’s incredible lyrical ability as he weaves here a scathing attack on Los Angeles’ ‘media mecca’, who in this instance gave this story incredible levels of coverage. But LA isn’t the only one to blame.

In this country, I can’t remember a time when I wouldn’t flick to Sky News to see yet more coverage of this case. At a time when the eurozone is in meltdown and when conflict is rife in other parts of the world, you wonder if the mass media have their priorities straight. Clearly only viewing figures matter to them, and when you see the kinds of gatherings of ‘fans’ outside the courts, practically eating from the hand of sensationalised coverage, in itself no doubt creating this sort of frenzy. It only perpeturates the circus that Jackson created around him and turns the whole thing into a sordid sideshow.

D.R.I. – Think For Yourself
[from ‘4 of a Kind‘, Metal Blade, 1988]

This is more a broadside I’m using at the masses of people who gathered outside the courtroom, Michael Jackson’s fans. Quite simply, I don’t agree with fans of anyone getting tried by law gathering outside a courtroom. What exactly have you to do with the case? But more appropriately, what brought you there in the first place? Clearly Jackson’s cult of personality and the media coverage had a lot to do with it, but were those people – some of whom I swear must’ve been tagging along – actually so programmed simply to believe Murray was instantly guilty, leading the the mob mentality of people chanting ‘guilty, guilty!’ outside the courts, as though they were baying for the blood of a Roman gladiator. Do these people have jobs to go to, families to look after?

‘Think For Yourself’ sums up these morons quite appropriately from the get-go: ‘How can you be so quick to condemn/By word or rumor, heard from a friend?‘, and advises caution against going with the flow: ‘Inspect each situation, see from both sides/Seek out the truth, bury the lies‘. Anyone with half a brain could at least measure up this trial by looking at the facts obtained to come to a logical, objective conclusion, and actually just observed the trial from the vicinity of their home, workplace or other. Unfortunately, nobody told the zombies who descended upon the courts like a plague, the majority (if not all) having jack to do with Michael Jackson or his family, other than being a fan.

The purpose of We Must Obey wasn’t to necessarily get involved in matters like this, but as proved with the earlier article on the England Riots, I felt inclined to put such a spin on matters through metal/alternative/rock music as a social commentary. And quite frankly, the sooner this is all over and we don’t hear about it again, the better. Report real news. Go get a job and care for YOUR family. Let Michael Jackson rest.

Peter Clegg

Cannabis Corpse @ The Star and Garter, Manchester, 07/09/2011

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Having arrived a little too early at the Star and Garter, I’m forced to contemplate, not for the first time, that this self proclaimed shit-hole should probably be avoided like the plague, as my wallet is raped repeatedly at the bar and we play pool on the world’s worst table. This is probably forgiven though, as upstairs is host to some of the best underground bands in town, and things look up as there’s movement on stage.

Hailing from the dark recess’s of a Rams-Bottom, Foetal Juiceare veterans of the UK death metal scene, back with vengeance after being off the circuit for a while due to a flesh eating bacteria generally found in the anus of a crocodile, claiming drummer Rob Harris’ third finger. Slamming into ‘Colostomy Baguette’, the atmosphere at first is slightly reluctant among the crowd. This is short lived as somewhere during the second song, vocalist Sam Read launches himself into the crowd provoking a reaction and people wake up. Songs such as ‘Bloodshot Eyes and Blistered Fingers’ and ‘Serpent of the Northern Lights’ (the tales of weed whores, sticking to the theme of cannabis parodies tonight) retain a catchiness, while also being disgustingly heavy and blackened in parts. This is death metal as it should be; not fast for the sake of it over technical riffs, no repetitive breakdown structures that bore the shit out of you, just pure groove and jittering aggression. As an unusually accessible band within their genre, their aggressively energetic and enthusiastic live performance make the pro life scourge easy to enjoy.
Next up are thrash crossover maniacs SSS. The fact that this band has recently undergone a major line-up change is definitely not apparent when the band unleashes a barrage of hardcore-style, incomprehensibly fast vocals and contagiously nasty thrash riffs upon a lively audience. The crowd, now riddled with thrash geeks, fully embrace the energy of the music, some maybe even too enthused, as several bloody faces stumble around the front, but then maybe I just don’t appreciate the thrill of blood pissing out of my nose. The tempo is generally furious with the bass notably clattering at breakneck speed. For me it’s the longer songs that gain definition during the mid paced breakdown sections, where the hooks can be fully appreciated. I fail to see that any thrash fan could be disappointed with the band, but neither are they one dimensional. While it is all thrashy, some sections lean more towards punk, while some are clearly influenced by some grind and wouldn’t sound out of place on a Magrudergrind record. Despite this, I do struggle to maintain the interest that the majority of people here are showing, but neither can I vouch for my interest in the genre.
After a grim intro reeking of high grade violence, Cannabis Corpsekick in with ‘Chronolith’. Just as things are getting fun with the first frantic notes descending into an infectious riff, there’s some issue with the bass guitar (I wasn’t looking at the time) and its out for the song. While they continue admirably, the sound doesn’t carry the same heaviness that the rest of the set does, fortunately its back for the rest of the set.
The band’s THC-injected parodies of Cannibal Corpse can be heavily reminiscent of the band themselves, bar the vocals sounding different, and people haven’t got bored with them yet. While heavily influenced, CC (Cannabis) aren’t just playing on a sound similar to corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide etc; its clear they’re doing it out of  nostalgic love for death metal. The lack of pretence might be what makes it work so well; vocalist Weedgrinder, when not shrieking and growling in semi-spastic movements, banters and interacts with the crowd to the extent I could almost believe he wasn’t stoned. The guitar work and structures keep it interesting, with malevolent melodies punctuated by chugging, and songs such as ‘Where the Kind Lives’ that’ll throw you into psychosis-addled frenzy.
Unfortunately, at some point that may well of been around here, a certain drunken turd licker starts to make a nuisance of himself by charging full pelt with his pants around his ankles into the unsuspecting members of the crowd. The victims, unaware of the sparsely populated head flying at them, about to give them whiplash, rightly enough become very pissed off and it’s not long before the bastard’s lynched enough to be discouraged from continuing his game, and we’re allowed to watch the band again. The shitter also tried to pull the mic from Weedgrinder onstage.
The material from ‘Beneath Grow Lights…’ in the set has some crushing rhythmic sections and more creative moments that stand out for me, perhaps more so than the bands earlier material. The more traditional ‘Every Bud Smoken’ however, is a stomping tune that’s just about as good fun as metal gets.  Appropriately, the band finish on ‘Fucked with Northern Lights’, which was also apparently the strain which was their “cup of tea” while they were in Manchester. As a breath of fresh, un-pretentious (if not slightly comical) air in the death metal scene, Cannabis Corpse are ones to catch if you get the chance.
Michael Collins

Review: SSS – Problems To The Answer

Problems To The Answer

SSS were originally part of the spate of thrash bands that Earache Records signed as thrash metal once again gained a head of steam and briefly rose back to the fore. Some called it ‘The New Wave of Thrash Metal’, some called it ‘Thrash 2.0’, and detractors simply called it re-thrash. Meh. I could care less for snidey labelling. Or indeed labelling at all. But while Evile and former labelmates Municipal Waste have gone strength to strength and emerged dangerously close to mainstream waters, SSS have remained slightly under the radar and haven’t quite taken off in the same way – a shame, as they deserve at least as much recognition. That said, they’ve stuck to their uncompromising crossover thrash and continue to do so again on album number three.
It starts off pretty well, opener ‘The Kill Floor’ bringing in Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway on guest vocals to provide a great riotous 2-minute plus romp. The tracks then come thick and fast, and SSS sound just as pissed off and nonplussed as ever, with some insane musicianship on all instruments (‘Sick Pleasures’ and the instrumental ‘Future Primitive’) and combative songs such as the 5-second ‘Direct Action’, and ‘Here Comes The Neighbourhood’, in which Barney appears with his trademark roar once again.
Its not all same old, same old; SSS do try a couple of new things with some whispered vocals from Foxy in ‘Man Against Man’, and closer ‘Strangenotes’ is the band’s longest song to date, another instrumental that sounds hardly like crossover thrash but even shows hints of progression, as it recesses into a quieter, but unsettling, piano-driven middle section before returning to the main riff towards the end. It could well be the soundtrack to wandering lone through the creepy streets of a dispirit inner city suburb somewhere in rundown Britain – that middle section alone gives off that vibe.
Problems to the Answer’ deserves repeated listening. Particularly as long time SSS fans might be taken aback slightly by the forays into instrumentals, and there’s a few more punkish riffs as opposed to shredding thrash. The songs aren’t all as fast and furious as they were on ‘The Dividing Line’. That said, ‘Problems…’ is definitely a grower and in actual fact, SSS have managed to carve out a cracking album with a few experimental forays that don’t compromise their style, free of gimmickry. Hopefully, this will be the album that might inspire more thrash fans around the world to pay SSS a little more attention.
Peter Clegg