Static graces the first few moments of a conversation with Ryan Waste. “I’ve been talking with quite a few people,” he says, the line clearing. “We’re on tour and we’re basically driving cross country so it’s hard to pin us down!” But pin Waste down we do, despite the enigmatic guitarist and founding member of Virginia speed metal demons Municipal Waste knowing no rest. Their relentless touring schedule and strong acquaintance with the road has meant fans have frequently seen the band live in recent years, performing songs from their colossally creative catalogue, but no one has heard new material from them. Until now.
With a somewhat comical and ironic ode to touring life, Municipal Waste are back on the scene with their latest toxic accrual Slime And Punishment. The skull-crushing sound for which Municipal Waste are so well known doesn’t relent in the new album, rather, it’s amplified by some direct-as-always descriptions of life on the road. With their ripper of an opener “Breathe Grease”, a classic speed metal element bursts the eardrums at the offset with a not altogether unpleasant sensation, paving the way for a track that glorifies the life and struggles of being on the road. The opener sets the tone for the whole album – the messages are short but brutal, hilariously blunt and far from disappointing.
Waste says the five year gap between releases was something the band felt necessary. Not wanting to release new material for the sake of releasing new material, the time they’ve taken to put together Slime And Punishment has culminated in the great album Waste had envisioned from the start. “We wrote lots of stuff after [2012 release] The Fatal Feast but we weren’t happy with it. Basically [we] wrote a whole new record and started over and actually threw it in the trash.
“They [the songs] weren’t enough to fire [us], they were kind of uninspired, so we almost wrote two records and took the best of the best and put them on this new one. I’m very happy, this is our favourite thing we’ve done yet – I’m really proud of it.”
Hacking away at songs doesn’t hurt the music’s feelings nor the feelings of the members who work on new material. In fact, Waste says that certain tracks having to face the axe is the standard process for the band. “We do that with every one [new song] – it’s the best of the best – I think things are on our terms. Just because we put a record out over two years doesn’t mean that we just had to keep churning things out.
“I mean, we’re touring non-stop between that and it felt so routine that we had to get back to writing. We took our time and it’s been better that we didn’t’ have a schedule for the record, you know?”
And the time and care has certainly paid off, as has the addition of new member Nick Poulos on guitar. Ferocious tracks such as “Amateur Sketch” and “Dingy Situations”, the latter the first song Poulos was onboard for, all demonstrate a renewed and invigorated energy for Municipal Waste, making Poulos’ enlistment a positive decision in Waste’s opinion. “Nick brought so much to the table, bringing ideas in – half we wrote and the other half we wrote with him. I think things are just gonna get better and better with two guitarists –
“The sky’s the limit for that kind of thing. With leads and harmonies and just duelling guitars… we try not to go overboard, that’s what we did with this record, we didn’t wanna like, go crazy with two guitars and duelling Iron Maiden stuff,” Waste finishes with a laugh.
“I think the next record will be even bigger because we have that firm sound, these new ideas coming through. Bigger will be better!”