Metallica was a gateway into metal for millions of thrash fans worldwide. For those of us who never got too far past the gate, thrash bands will always call memories of Hammett and Hetfield purposefully chugging on their low E strings.

Metallica was a gateway into metal for millions of thrash fans worldwide. For those of us who never got too far past the gate, thrash bands will always call memories of Hammett and Hetfield purposefully chugging on their low E strings.

Such is the case with Richmond thrashers Municipal Waste. Their new "Massive Aggressive" is exemplary for the way it grafts hardcore's unapologetic rawness and breathless vocal urgency into the thrash formula of rapid-fire riffs and even faster double-bass pummeling.

Supposedly their approach recalls an entire school of thrash bands from 20 years back, but "The Thrashin' of Christ" slays just as satisfyingly even if your context doesn't extend far beyond "Battery" and "Seek and Destroy."

Speaking of Metallica: Running one funny idea into the ground is always a dangerous proposition, but a good gimmick can go a long way when it's executed expertly. Beatallica's modus operandi of covering Beatles songs in the style of Metallica is wonderful and not wearisome thanks to the detail-perfect Metallica imitation, particularly singer Jaymz OH!NOOO! Lennfield's stellar James Hetfield impersonation.

Slight adjustments like "All You Need Is Blood" and the combination track "Hero of the Day Tripper" show they put a lot of thought into this stuff. Unlike Friday's Newport headliners Dream Theater, they prove rock music is at its best when it's not just smart, but wildly fun, too.