The setting: a cold, pre-snow evening in New England. The occasion: the final stretch of Municipal Waste’s Waste The World tour. It’s a fitting backdrop indeed for Toronto’s Cauldron to take the stage, decked out in their finest 80s metal regalia, nut-huggin’ denim, cut off sleeves, and all. The headliners’ Earache Records label mates, er…”waste” no time laying into the eager Palladium crowd with a devilishly fun brand of vintage traditionalism, defying the icy chill outside with their Red Hot (Motley Crue pun intended) un¬-retro metal.
Yes, the three-piece from the Great White North are anything BUT Williamsburg hipsters; instead focusing their collective energies on writing some of the most righteous and straight legit heavy metal anthems this side of Castle Donnington. Cauldron creates metal designed for those who actually got my last reference, and who still remember when the genre focused on ball-crushing songwriting, huge riffs and massive amounts of power. Cauldron never forgot the meaning of metal, and indeed steals the show from practically everyone on this night with their incredible and infectious showmanship.
Orange County’s crust/grind legends Phobia do an admirable job of following things up, however, defying an uncooperative Palladium sound system to deliver a set which—though not as impressive as I’ve seen on prior excursions—still provides the packed crowd with their fist-pumping and D-beating jollies.
Brutal Truth, however, are absolutely terrible. While the sound on this night was admittedly “off” from the get-go, there’s simply no excuse to hide behind for these influential grinders: it’s just shite. Dan Lilker’s blower bass is entirely too high in the muddy mix—guitarist Erick Burke is nowhere to be found—while Rich Hoak’s drumming drives an otherwise convoluted ship clear off the course of chaos into the ravine of pain-inducing boredom. The moment where the band left the stage spelled R-E-L-I-E-F to me more than a pack of Rolaids, man. No, seriously.
While two hillbillies, a possum and a kazoo would have been welcomed at this point, luckily it was the mighty Municipal Waste which finally took the stage to a rapturously approving audience of thrashard maniacs. From the very first note, the packed crowd seemed to move in sweaty unison, skanking and circle pitting in vicious approval to The Waste’s infectious (nuclear style) and seamless blend of hardcore punk and mosh-tastic 80s thrash.
“Wrong Answer”—a new jam from the band’s latest LP, Massive Aggressive --blended in just fine with pit-approved tracks from The Waste’s earlier Earache efforts, Hazardous Mutation and the defining Art of Partying opus, with “Terror Shark," “Born to Party” and the pummeling “Sadistic Magician” serving as bruise-inducing highlights. Yours truly even got in on some the action, reliving some of my own change-picking and finger-pointing glory days alongside some kids who must have been close to half my age.
Very few acts out there deliver as much energy and unbridled FUN as Municipal Waste do on stage. If they keep this pace up, it should be only a matter of time before The Waste is a household name, influencing a whole new generation of thrashers in their wake. If anything, it’s a pisser way to spend a Tuesday night.