Until now, every band claiming to be a throwback to the golden age of the '80s metal-hardcore crossover was either lying or thinking wishfully. A retro-thrash masterpiece, Municipal Waste's Hazardous Mutation is the best Dirty Rotten Imbeciles record since 1985's Dealing With It. At 15 songs and 27 minutes, the disc sounds like a hybrid of D.R.I.'s Four of a Kind and Vio-lence's Eternal Nightmare, a dizzying make-you-mosh combination of blinding speed, gang choruses, and technical chops.
Barely in their 20s, the players in Municipal Waste are hellacious longhairs from Richmond, Virginia, recently joined by drummer Dave Witte (Burnt by the Sun, Melt Banana). Hazardous Mutation detonates with everything that modern metalcore lacks. Instead of journalcore or tough-guy lyrics, Waste pays tribute to the time-honored metal tradition of writing songs about far-fetched worst-case scenarios. "Terror Shark," for instance, is about a shark attack ("Helpless in the water/You're a human buffet"). It's fast, it's short, it's furious, and it's fun. If you remember the mid-'80s, Mutation is a must-have. And if you're new to this stuff, add this to your list of homework for the year. -- D.X. Ferris Municipal Waste, with Dr. Know, Lethal Aggression, Chaotic Alliance, and Insurrect. Friday, September 9, at the Beachland Ballroom.