For every metal band that's out there doing something unique and innovative with the form (Wolves in the Throne Room, Liturgy), there's a dozen or so bands dedicated to carrying a torch for their favorite specific genre. Not that that's a bad thing, because in a field rife with imitators, only the very best will rise to the top. Or, more accurately (and metal-y), claw their way to the top, axes drenched with the blood of their foes! Municipal Waste and 3 Inches of Blood are two such bands, and tonight they're joining forces at Santos Party House (96 Lafayette Street, Manhattan).
The Waste (as they're affectionately known) hail from Richmond, Virginia, and specialize in a particularly amped-up version of thrash metal, the speed-obsessed genre of metal pioneered in the '80s by groups like Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer. Characterized by denim vests, lots of beer, and extremely fast tempos, thrash isn't particularly concerned with anything beyond playing loud, hard, and fast, and usually drinking a lot while you're doing so.
Municipal Waste takes these characteristics to the extreme -- most of their songs concern partying, their own awesomeness, or some kind of cartoonishly threatening subject like "Terror Shark." But there's a real sense of humor to everything (One song, "Beer Pressure," contains the following spoken-word exchange: "Sorry guys, I've got an orthodontist appointment at 8:30 in the morning. Awww, what do you need your ears for anyway?") that keeps the music from getting too hard to bear. The band's song titles are more entertaining than the music of half their peers: "Abusement Park," and "Unleash the Bastards," are but only two.
3 Inches of Blood, on the other hand, concern themselves with matters more elemental, like vengeance, warfare, and vengeful war. Led by the helium-voiced (and aptly named) Cam Pipes, the band reaches deep into the '80s for pointy guitars, half-time breakdowns, and screeched vocals that make Rob Halford look like James Taylor. Songs like "Deadly Sinners" express themes close to their heart: "Enemies of metal / your death is our reward," and a song like "Revenge is a Vulture" details the many ways in which revenge is, indeed, like a vulture." Finally, if you're unable to raise a triumphant fist during a song like "Swordmaster," then your head is likely to explode at Pipes' epically high note at 3:27, and one less enemy of metal will be in the world.
Openers Black Tusk traffic in a sludgey, stomping version of heavy rock they call "Swamp metal," and if you're a fan of heavier, slower metal that retains the gruff-voiced, chest-beating smash of its faster counterparts, you'll find their blackened riffs serve you well. For three guys, they make an uncommon amount of noise, and man, is it great. Not for the faint of heart.
For an evening of world-beating, epic music, bring $16 (and your soul) to Santos Party House tonight, starting at 7 p.m. And don't forget to stretch beforehand -- the last thing you want to be dealing with Wednesday morning (aside from tinnitus) is the dreaded bangover.