Back in the day, in the 80's there was a little publicized feud between METALLICA and MEGADETH. This feud even had an impact at the fan level and often kids would plant themselves in one camp or the other. I was firmly planted in the MEGADETH camp, 'Peace Sells...' was one of my favorite albums and to this day is still in my top 3 thrash albums of all time.
With that said Dave and I have had a spotty relationship since that classic album. I think many will agree that 'Rust' is also one of the greatest thrash albums of all time. And those two classic albums are perhaps the bane of Dave's career. How can one be expected to meet or even exceed the standard set by those timeless classics? I , like many a fan, critic, and probably the red-headed one himself, compares everything under the MEGADETH moniker to those two albums. That might be unfair, but that's the way it is.
'Endgame' was a mess, it was chaotic, had little to no direction and has become quite forgettable. There are no hooks on that album, nothing sticks with you. The biggest problem was there were so many lines of lyrics crammed into each song to the point where it seemed like just drunken babbling...Some of the ideas behind the lyrics were cool, but the execution was flawed.
So now, we have the latest slab from everyone's favorite melodic thrashers, the state of the art speed metalers, MEGADETH...
First let me start by saying that the fact that they only had two months to write and record was a good thing. Being pressed into such an intense time frame is what has perhaps saved this album. There was not enough time to over think the songs, no time to fuck them up by twisting knobs, re-recording and adding new parts. Only time to write, rock, and record. And that's all you really need...
Mustaine seems to have somewhat remedied his problem with not being able to right a hook, this album is catchy as hell, ¾'s of the album has good choruses and is memorable enough to sing along too after only a few listens. There are even some gang chorus back-up vocals on a few of the songs! I like that! I woke up this morning humming the melody to 'Public EnemyNo. 1'.
MEGADETH has always had a strong political bend to most of their stuff and that hasn't changed. Lyrically Dave is still all fired up about the New World Order (a topic that gets my goat too!) and takes pot shots at the Global Elitists with 'We the People', the aptly titled 'New World Order', and 'Millennium of the Blind'. But there are also some simple rockers like 'Guns, Drugs and Money' as well as 'Fastlane'. '
There are a lot of stand-out tracks on this album. No filler, every song has some really strong qualities and can easily stand on its own. From 'Endgame' I can only remember 'Headcrusher' and that song was pretty stupid really. Here there are all kinds of new jams to rally around including most of the songs I already mentioned. 'Deadly Nightshade' is an interesting song as it is certainly reminiscent of the IRON BUTTERFLY classic 'Inna-Gada-Da-Vida' in how the lyrics are delivered, it even mentions a stroll through the garden in the lyrics.
We cannot overlook the fact that this is the other Dave's return to recorded MEGADETH material. Yes folks, unless you live under a rock and haven't heard David Ellefson has returned to his rightly place at Mustaine's side on bass duties. The circle is now complete. Perhaps it was some of his influence that has kept this album pointed in one direction and not wandering all over the fricken' place like the last couple.
I suppose I should mention the musicianship...But do I have to? It's fucken' MEGADETH you rivetheads! They fucking shred metal like Taco Bell shreds cheese. Dave has always surrounded himself with the some of the best in the business, dudes that are able to achieve his vision. If they can't, they get canned. Good news for Broderick though, homeboy has made it two albums now. In the MEGADETH camp that's a lifetime.
Let me wrap this up by answering this question: "Is it a thrash album?" The answer is no. Like ANTHRAX and METALLICA, MEGADETH doesn't play thrash metal anymore. Speed Metal? Sure...It's fast and it's metal. Again like their peers it is an effort in post-thrash or even thrash inspired metal. But it is not a thrash metal record. Now...if they could just work on bringing the "heavy" back into the mix...