Megadeth_DystopiaSure, we weren’t exactly charitable toward the last two Megadeth albums, but who among us hasn’t been rooting for Dave Mustaine to get his shit together and give us another Rust in Peace or at least another Endgame. For my part, I’d pretty much given up on seeing that day, especially after the dumpster fire that was Super Collider. With major line up changes (Kiko Loureiro in for guitar god Chris Broderick and Chris Adler in for Shawn Drover), blood was in the water and it seemed Dystopia might end up an ironic statement on the state of Megadeth‘s health. But something funny happened on the way to burying Mustaine and his band; they simply refused to go quietly into that good night. Instead they hit back with their best album in years, leaning heavily on the sound of their Youthanasia era fortified with the maniacal fret-board pyrotechnics of Endgame. Dystopia isn’t as good as either of those albums, but it’s close and definitely the best thing Dave and Co. have managed in a long time. They say the hardest punch is the one you didn’t see coming and yeah, this one hit at least one long-suffering fan extra hard.

The seriousness of this album is immediately apparent on the scorching opener “The Threat is Real” which harkens back to those salad days of Rust in Peace killers like “Holy Wars…the Punishment Due.” It’s fast, furious, acerbic and ugly, like we all want Megadeth to be, and the guitar exchanges between Dave and Kiko are nothing short of amazing. If you were ever a fan of the band, this will put a big smile on your face and it ends at exactly the right moment leaving you wanting more (take note, Metallica). The title track is even better and easily one of the best songs Dave’s ever written. The superb riffing sucks you in immediately and the sheer hookiness of the whole song is shocking. You’ll love it immediately and wonder where the fuck this kind of quality has been hiding the past 10 years.

Megadeth_2016

The cynic in me feared the rest of the album would undercut this stellar beginning, but to my surprise, the quality kept running along on throwback tracks like the nasty “Fatal Illusion” and the Countdown to Extinction escapee “Death From Within.” There is a minor dip at the album’s midpoint with tunes like “Bullet to the Brain” and “Post American World” feeling more tame, but both feature enough guitar heroics and proggy twists to keep the average listener on board (especially the Symphony X-like fireworks during the former). “Poisonous Shadows” benefits from Kiko’s power metal background and feels like a bit of a departure for the band, featuring a slight Middle Eastern flair and nods to Euro-power conventions in the female chanting. It’s still a Deth song through and through though and a nifty one.

Things close out strong with the aggressively heavy “Lying in State” and the rocking “The Emperor.” Toss in a decent instrumental number, a throwaway cover of Fear‘s “Foreign Policy” and a few respectable bonus tracks and there you have it, a highly respectable Megadeth album, just when you didn’t expect it! And at a tight 46 minutes it’s exactly the right length and isn’t burdened by B-grade cuts (get that, Metallica?). The production is better than the DR5 might suggest, but yes, it’s on the loud side. Luckily the wild and wooly guitar wizardry is clear and easy to follow.

Dave-MustaineAnd speaking of that wizardry, wow, Dave and Kiko really lower the noodle boom this time out. Every song features wicked guitar duels and catchy harmonies that’ll make long-time fans and air guitar aficionados sit up and salivate. Kiko is the real deal and dare I say it, plays with more feeling than Chris Broderick ever did. His solos are slippery and fluid and don’t feel as showy and he has a real ear for what fits the song. He even drops a few nods to the days of Chris Poland and Marty Friedman. Vocally Dave sounds a bit rejuvenated here and his sneer feels particularly potent at times. Dave Ellefson is rock solid as always on bass and Chris Adler puts in a powerful performance behind the kit, even if it sometimes feels less dynamic and innovative than past Deth drummers. All in all, the band sounds great and tight as a cast iron chastity belt made 2 sizes too small.

Maybe those group therapy sessions with Lars are paying dividends after all. Dave’s clearly not ready for the glue factory just yet and if like me, you’ve gotten into the habit of writing off Megadeth, it’s time to admit you were wrong. The man and the band are back to kick your ass like it’s 1986 all over again. Color me stunned, pummeled and pleased.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Tradecraft Records
Websites: megadeth.comfacebook.com/Megadeth
Releases Worldwide: January 22nd, 2016


Double Review Courtesy of Alex-Fi

“What’s your favorite band?” A question that I’m sure all of you have been invariably asked at least once in your life. The fact is over my illustrious metal listening career, my tastes have evolved and become so varied that I don’t have just one “favorite band” anymore. To make matters worse, most of the time when I’m asked this question, it’s posed by someone who isn’t exactly a metal cognoscenti. So even though I could easily rattle off a few acceptable answers, I almost always deflect the conversation into some high-level talk about metal as a genre instead. Putting it another way, it’s been a long time since my metal collection consisted of just half of dozen bands who all played some flavor of thrash. I’m way past that now, and I’m fairly confident that if you are reading this blog, so are you.

But if you must know, the answer to this inane question is Megadeth. The album, Countdown to Extinction. That’s the record that started it all for me. After Countdown, I immediately bought Rust, then Peace, and by the time 1994’s Youthanasia was released, I was a full-fledged fanboy. In fact, one morning right before class, I heard on the radio that if you donated food to the Red Cross you would get a free backstage pass to that day’s Megadeth show and get a chance to meet the band in person. So like a dedicated droogie, I cut class, hopped on a train, and donated this ginormous can of tomato sauce to receive my backstage pass. That night I met Dave Mustaine, who proceeded to refuse to give me an autograph or shake my hand. He just stood there and nodded at me. I was so pissed. I mean I spent a good chunk of my pubescent years worshiping this guy and he didn’t even have the decency to speak to me. However, after recently reading his autobiography (of course!), I’m fairly certain now looking back that he was probably high as a kite and fighting just to stand upright that night. Don’t worry Dave, I forgive you!

Anyway, as AMG reminded us in his wonderful and passionately written Iron Maiden retrospective, when you listen and follow a band for a good chunk of your life, you develop a certain kind of personal relationship with them and their music. So as you can imagine, the last two decades haven’t exactly been kind to this recovering Vic addict. In this fanboy’s opinion, the last great Megadeth record from soups to nuts is Youth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite cognizant of the fact that after 1990’s seminal Rust In Peace, Mustaine and Co. had begun their slow creative decent into radio friendly mediocrity, culminating in 1999’s Risk, one of 20th Century’s last recorded natural disasters. But to my ears, Youth is still at its core a thrash metal record, and remains to this day one of my all-time personal favorites. Since then however, Mustaine has really struggled to regain thrash metal supremacy, releasing a string of barely passable to just outright awful records in the process.

Arguably the band’s last solid outing was 2009’s Endgame, which to be honest, I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as many of my fellow droogies did [I regret nothing!AMG]. However, the record was fast, aggressive, and had enough inklings of classic era Megadeth that I can see why a lot of fans were so enamored with it. At the very least, it showed that Mustaine’s riff well hadn’t completely dried up yet. Of course just when things were finally looking up for the band, Mustaine went off and released two of the worst Megadeth records of the last decade, 2011’s Th1rt3en and 2013’s Super Collider. The latter of which was panned by critics and fans alike, and for all intents and purposes was DOA. To make matters worse, soon after its release, drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick announced their exodus from the band within hours of each other. It seemed like Megadeth had finally hit rock bottom.

Megadeth - Dystopia 2016

Yet Mustaine and “Junior” (bassist David Ellefson) persevered on, and recruited drummer Chris Adler of Lamb of God and lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro of Angra to the cause. And after completing those acquisitions, the band then announced they were crowdsourcing their next yet to be titled 15th full length release. Of course I pledged. Like I told you, when you’re vested, you’re, well… vested [This ain’t vest metal, you wanker!Steel Druhm]. Here’s the thing though: I knew if Mustaine had to resort to crowdsourcing his next record he really was in deep. But the upside to crowdsourcing is that he has to answer to the fans directly. No more bullshit excuses about how producer Dann Huff or some evil label executive are forcing him to write shitty rock tunes. Finally, he was going to have full creative control and would have to take full responsibility for its musical outcome.

Truth be told, when I finally received my official download link for Dystopia, I was still somewhat cautiously optimistic. Despite featuring all the key ingredients of a great thrash tune, the first single off the album, “Fatal Illusion,” takes an awfully long time to really deliver the goods. Ironically, it’s only when the hospitalized patient Mustaine is singing about actually flatlines does the song finally shift into high gear, with Loureiro laying down one blistering lead after the next. On the other hand, the other two singles released, the opener, “The Threat is Real,” and the title track, “Dystopia,” offer instant gratification, with the former introducing a hypnotic Middle Eastern melody before settling into this killer groove while the latter containing a number of massive hooks interspersed with more of Kiko’s magic noodling between refrains.

But after now listening to this record non-stop since its release, my expectations have not only been met, but surprisingly, far surpassed. Dystopia in many respects is Countdown’s true spiritual successor, with Mustaine opting to once again implement the prototypical Bay Area thrash formula, one that he himself helped pioneer back in the mid-80s, within the confines of more formulaic rock. However, unlike previous outings, he finally gets the rock to thrash ratio right, relying on the latter much more heavily as the primary means of progression. The net result are songs that always retain their riff-driven aggression despite the heavy dosage of accessible melody that supplements them.

Highlights include “Death from Within,” which like “The Threat Is Real,” is basically another chug fest that features an extremely catchy melodic refrain before Loureiro finally closes it out with some more obligatory pyrotechnics. And then there’s “Post-American World,” which has the band firing on all cylinders for its mid-flight breakdown. Perhaps the crown jewel of the record however, is the instrumental “Conquer or Die,” which is three minutes and thirty-seconds of pure unadulterated headbanging fun. It serves as the introduction to the track “Lying in State,” which is probably the most Rust-like tune on the album in its aggressive buzz-filled rhythm section and sense of urgency. Again, like Countdown, there is something here for everyone, as Mustaine does an impeccable job of crafting riffs that engage almost on contact, drawing you in and allowing you to immediately rock out – a trademark of all great Bay Area thrash.

It’s clear that the addition of Loureiro and Adler had an extremely positive effect on the record’s overall writing process, with Loureiro credited as a co-author of several of the record’s highlights, including “Poisonous Shadows,” “Post-American World,” and “Conquer or Die.” In retrospective, I see now that hiring Loureiro was the right move on Mustaine’s part as he not only provides the technical virtuosity of say a Broderick, but also has that jazzy flare to his playing like a Friedman or Poland, making him a perfect stand-in for the job. Adler on the other hand offers his almost robotic like precision despite his unorthodox technique. Both sound like they have been playing with the Dave’s for years, and on Dystopia it shows.

Dave Mustaine 3Despite my affinity for this record, production-wise, this record suffers from a clear case of Loudness War style mastering. Josh Wilbur’s fairly well-balanced mix is fine enough, but Ted Jensen’s “volume first, fidelity second” master is pushed way past the point of no return, with every track slammed against digital full-scale (0dbFS). Victims include Adler’s cymbals, which have that tinny sound to them when they reverberate, as well as the entire bottom-end of the frequency spectrum, which though audible, lacks depth. Guitars in general also sound very muddy at times. On the bright side, if previous records are any indication on how Mustaine operates, then most likely the vinyl master is a lot more dynamic. Hopefully, like the last two, Megadeth will also offer up a FDR high-res version of Dystopia as well.

I’ve been living with Dave Mustaine and his merry band of thrash misfits for over 20 years. Too fucking damn long if you ask me. But Dystopia may very well be the best Megadeth album of the post-Risk era, and certainly a record that has rekindled my enthusiasm for my “favorite band.” Obviously, if you’re still in the “Rust or bust club, Dystopia is clearly not the Megadeth record you are looking for. But for those of you who can still recite the lyrics to “Sweating Bullets” and “Foreclosure of a Dream” by heart, I can’t imagine you walking away from this album without a huge smile on your face. Megadeth are back, and this time the threat is most definitely very real.


Score: “Fuck Me Running!” This is great!

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  • Monsterth Goatom

    Yes we do!!

  • For mea little better than End Game, but two great albums!

  • …their best album in years, leaning heavily on the sound of their Youthanasia era…
    I’m probably pissing in the pool here, but Youthanasia was the first Megadeth album to disappoint me greatly.
    This one don’t seem too bad thou. I guess it’s got something to do with expectations, and I’ve had non for the past 20 years.

    • madhare

      I’m with you.

      When Rust in Peace came out I immediately fell in love with Megadeth and so also bought everything they had made up to that point.

      But the problem with Rust was that nothing could really compare. So already Countdown felt a bit watered down and when Youthanasia came out I thought that “well, that’s the end of Megadeth”.

      It was funny because suddenly Megadeth was super popular. Even the disco kids were humming “Tout le Monde”. So lot of my younger friends turned to me because “you’re a Megadeth fan, right, we’ve seen your t-shirts”. And I was just kind of squirming all the time, because they liked this version of Megadeth and assumed I did too. But it wasn’t at all same Megadeth that I loved.

      And just like you, I haven’t expected anything from the band since then.

      • I didn’t discover Megadeth before Countdown, but like you, I soon explored their back catalog. I like all the five first albums, but among the last ten, only Endgame has fallen to my liking.
        That might change now, given that I find time to address Dystopia.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Seems you´re and old fart… just like me. I agree so much with your comment I could have written it myself. Scary.

    • eloli

      You’re not alone. I always thought that Youthanasia was a weaker version of Coundown, one monster song, two good singles and loads of filler.

  • mtlman1990

    Can’t believe im saying this but, I actually enjoyed the embedded track.

    • How dare you??

      • mtlman1990

        Its just been a long time since I could say that about a Megadeth song.

        • Seriously.

          • mtlman1990

            Serial

          • I’m super serial.

          • Danny Becker

            ^Excellsior …. I spec’d an episode for South park, so yeah, I know this

  • Grumpyrocker

    I’m really enjoying this album too. Was hoping Dave still had it, and Endgame wasn’t that long ago and is a great record. I wonder if Metallica could ever find some of that old spark. But then one could argue they’ve been much longer since a decent record than Megadeth, very much longer.

    Although scores don’t matter much I would say the review text is much more positive than the score would suggest. But as a long-standing reviewer (in another medium) it’s the text that matters. So no big deal.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    I have to disagree… Dave’s vocals are weak and the songs are nothing we haven’t heard before. Most of the verse riffs (in the entire album!) are mindless chugs. There are interesting riffs and the drumming and soloing is great for the most part but it is just a frustrating listen.

    It’s not god awful like Super Collider but it’s ten times more infuriating. “The Threat is Real” is the perfect example. Great intro and main riff! Then at the 1 minute mark everthing stops for the chug-a-thon while Mustaine spouts some nonsense. After the chorus there is an awesome solo! At 1:50 the chugtivity returns.

    In short, this album pisses me off.

    • Alexandre Barata

      Gotta agree with you. Although I think this is the best Megadeth album in a loooooong time (what in my opinion is not that great of a feat), it always seems an anti-climax. You can feel the quality of the guitars, but they can never get around to the being great. Also Dave “Chug” Mustaine always gets on my nerves with all the chugging

    • Underquaker

      Everything about the album is the best Megadeth has done in years. Couldn’t disagree with you more. I already can’t wait for the follow-up.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        You do realize being ‘the best Megadeth has done in years” is not high praise, right?

      • RyanM1985

        Aye but when you’re talking about the past 20 years that’s not saying much. I’m simply not interested in the band, Mustache or his dumb as fuck views.

    • eloli

      Agreed. My take is that there’s way too much good will on this album simply because is not a complete disaster. It’s just ok, pretty good in parts, but it’s no Peace Sells, no Rust, no Countdown, not even a Youthanasia. In fact, Cryptic Writings, despite being more of a trad metal record, is much better. Ah, Megadeth, an unreliable band if there ever was one. :D

    • People tell me you’ve been talking
      I hear you’ve got a big mouth
      Saying things you know aren’t true
      What the hell are you talking about?

  • sir_c

    Sounds promising but I’ll save the verdict until June, when I’m gonna see him play live

    • André Snyde Lopes

      As someone who has seen them live before I advise you to keep your expectations very low.

      • I’ve seen them over a dozen times. Andre, They were certainly on point during the RIP tour. But MegaDave had the luxury of not singing too much, etc.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Fair enough. I saw them back in 2010 and had fun but it was more because of the pit than the music itself…

  • sssgadget
    • sir_c

      Summarizing you would be a contamination of the two words: shrug

    • Grumpyrocker

      And I like that.

    • Dethjesta

      Sometimes it’s:

      They are my favourites!

  • Alper Memioglu

    Completely agree with both of the reviews. I think Dave & co. have delivered an incredible album. I was trying to think of my favorite song today – something that was somewhat easy to pinpoint on the last couple of albums – and I couldn’t just name one. There are so many great tunes. I love what Adler and Loureiro brought to the table too. I’m a long time fan as well and I’m super excited with the direction Megadeth took with this one.

    • Frankly, I’m hanging on this record for dear life knowing full well that another “Risque” is probably going to happen in the near future.

      • You have no Trust.

        • Well, I was Almost Honest.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Oh no

  • Diego Molero

    You are a Megadeth fan for longer that I’m alive, and Megadeth was one of the first metal bands that I truly like so I was very exited on this álbum being the first that was released with me as a fan, and I have to say that I’m very pleased with this record, so glad they didn’t dissapoint, It’s in fact very good.

    Great review both of you, the score in the Alex-fi is hands down the best score we ever had on this site.

    • Finally, someone noticed!

      • eloli

        Great score, maybe ditching the numeric ratings and using phrases is the way today. My score for this album would be “ranting’s his business, and business’s ok.”

        • That’s great!

  • george

    Just to introduce what kind of Megadeth fan am i:
    -Youthanasia is my favorite
    -The system has failed comes pretty close
    -And as objective as i can be, Peace Sells is the best.
    -I didn’t like Endgame at all and found Super Collider very good.

    Hearing the “blasphemy” rants back there and rushing to avoid the rocks, i have to disagree completely with both the reviews. I found Dystopia boring, repetive, with no strong hooks, no cathcy melodies, just one really good riff in Lying in State and unimaginative solos. Plus, the awful, awful lyrics. (Peace sells no more, now xenophoby sells)

    • *likes Super Collider, shits on Dystopia*

      • george

        an A for understanding

        • I don’t understand why anyone would like Super Collider over Dystopia, so I get an F, boyyy.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Just for this comment, I’m going to give the new dream Theater another shot

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        Yeah what’s up with that?

        • I don’t know…I really don’t.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            I used to know of 1 person who liked Super Collider, this makes 2

  • anonbr666

    Loved this album. Easily a 4.5 for me. The king is not dead, long live the king!

  • Danny Becker

    “Their best album in year.” Well, that’s not saying a whole damn lot. Yes, this is better than pooper collider, and Thir13teen, but does it even come close to UA, Endgame or System, absolutely not. The first four or five tracks are a refreshing kindle to Dave’s typical conspiratorial angst, but Side B is overly redundant. The thing about Dave: he’s been spewing the same nonsense for years now. He recycles his material from Alex Jones, both have been saying NWO take away my guns since the 90’s, but that day has yet to come and I suspect that it shall never. The songwriting has yet to evolve, and actually super collider was a breath of fresh air in the songwriting department as it offered more of a diverse array, but utterly failed on instrumental integrity. There were still some good tunes of super collider: title track, blackest crow, kingmaker, but that’s about it. I really want a happy medium between old and new megadeth, and Cryptic Writings was that.

    I would score this on a 2.5 or 3.0 out of five. It’s not nearly as accomplished as you guys let on. I

    • Did you just die mid-sentence?

      • Danny Becker

        I guess the rest got cropped off for some reason. Apparently, I cannot disqus my ire in total

    • george

      you have my vote, except the part of pooper collider, especially when some lines below, you too admit some of its qualities.
      Oh, and Cryptic Writings still rocks hard

  • You wot m8?

    I’ve never really liked Megadeth, and this certainly didn’t change my mind. If this came on the radio, I wouldn’t change the channel, but I certainly won’t be seeking any more of this out.

  • Nice review Steel. Oh, and thanks for letting me share! :-)

    • Right back ‘atcha, you drooling fanboy!

      • Hey, I resemble that remark. How dare you!

  • De2013

    Two excellent reviews! So glad Megadeth is back and Dave is not yet to be delivered to the glue factory! Will check it out!

  • I was super excited to see what you guys thought of this! Holy cow, its not terrible! :)

  • Blueberry Balls

    I wanted to like this so bad, but Im just bored.

  • I was really surprised by Dystopia’s quality..I didn’t believe MegaDave would ever make another at least descent or even good record..Yes Super Collider was that much of a shock..I think that this album is better than 13(and i really liked that album) and of course better than United Abominations..Maybe in my opinion it is the album that should come after Endgame.It is like the missing link between 13 and Endgame..If it had better vocals(yep Dave sounds tired and sometimes he doesn’t even try) and more interesting drumming(I had higher expectations) then it would be the second best post Youthanasia album after Endgame but i think The System Has Failed has that position.What a return to form!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Good work Alex and Druhm, I always appreciate the double reviews! Though I was kinda hoping when I saw mention of a double review, for Megadeth, with Alex, that it would be more of a cage fight type affair ala last years FNM review … Anyway, good to see Mustaine still has a bit left to give. I’ve mostly enjoyed what Ive heard so far.
    I rate this ‘Surprising’

  • Diego Molero

    Aside from the music, whats with that cover art? It looks like the sword is a selfie-stick holding Megadeth instead of a camara

  • Charles Anderson

    It sounds pretty tired. No life to the production and the lyrics/ concept are laughably bad. Sorry, but no. Maybe if I was in 7th grade again I would dig this.

    • bptrav

      The lyrics and vocals in particular are just really cheesy. Most of the songs would honestly be better without any singing at all, although even then there would be too much CHUG CHUG CHUG.

      The mastering is pretty bad too. Everything is the same volume on every track for the entire track…

      • Couldn’t you say this exact line for every megadeth album

  • Carlo Salvador

    That score just propelled be back to 1994, listening to Nativity in Black in my walkman! the album is great indeed!

    • Awesome sauce.

  • Bas

    I was a Megadeth fan till cryptic writings. Their ‘resurrection’ has been announced many times… but I won’t get fooled in buying this one… like happened to me with the 13 album (heard it in a record shop and decided to buy it, thinking its a return to form… but it became boring after repeated listening). Embedded tracks are okay. Not crazy about the sound of ‘the threat is real’, it sounds a bit mechanical. Conspiracy theories are not good substitutes for alcohol and drug fuelled anger of the first albums..
    I go back to listening to the new Ulver.. (I like what i’ve hear till now…).
    PS did anyone like the Ken Nardi album.. its a double album, more a collection of things he recorded after Anacrusis, but I think its overall very good (not great like Screams and Whispers etc). Maybe something for a ‘Things you might have missed…’ .

    • I honestly think you should give Dystopia a real chance. In fact, I want you do this: Listen to “Conquer or Die” which leads into Lying “State.” Report back if a smile was on your face at the end of either.

      • Bas

        I will do that and tell you the results. Your comment itself already made me smile and as old fan i realy want to like it!

      • Bas

        yeah, that combi of songs really works :-), also fatal Illusion is very nice. No really bad songs (maybe ‘post american word’ if i had to pick one.. the lyrics.. and most boring as song to me). What bothers me is the overall sound, some songs the drums sound like fear factory… too mechanical and this makes some of the songs sound too soulless. Overall a good album. I didnt listen to endgame or supercolider, so can’t compare (i will also give them a listen now,,,). my ranking: (1) peace sells, (2) killing, (3) rust in peace, (4) Countdown (5) So far, so good.., (6) Youthanasia, (7) cryptic writings (I somehow like this one..), (8) dystopia, (9) 13 and (10) risk. [I never listened (enough) to the other ones to place them in a ranking].

        • The production is most definitely a problem and I notice it’s turning off some folks – understandably so. But I stand by my review and claim this is the best post-Risk era album so far. Actually, easily.

          • Bas

            I guess you have to fight with AMG himself about the question whether its the best post-Risk album, he apparently disagrees… ;-)
            I have no clue (yet…. I am now listening to endgame for the first time)
            Thanks for the review (also Steel Druhm) and the discussion ! It made me listen to some of the ‘new’ Megadeth stuff for the first time.

          • He is an Endgame kinda guy. That’s cool.

            With that, I can now report back to the MFC that my work here is complete. Enjoy!

  • Innit Bartender

    Never been a big fan of MegaDave, but I really like the guitar work here! Even his vocals are tolerable.

  • Here’s Johnny

    Pretty much spot on reviews, i’d say. Mustaine seems to have a knack for pulling things out the fire, with a Number 3 album in US no less.

    Bit too mid-paced in the middle but that is expected with a band of this vintage. His vocals are tired but fuck it, Mustaine has had numerous operations and done more drugs than Colombia but he still sounds decent.

    More importanly there are no crap filler songs. I can listen to the whole album in one sitting no problem, every song has its place on the album. The production is stellar, Poisonous Shadows is one of the best songs they have ever done IMHO.

    Wonder if we will see Metallica get its arse in gear, they can’t have Mustaine hogging the charts. Whatever they do will not be as good as this album, that is for sure.

  • Dethjesta

    Megadeth are the reason i listen to Metal. Youthanasia was the first record I ever bought, if pressed i would likely argue that Rust in Peace is the best metal album of them all and Megadeth are the first metal band i saw live. So, as you can imagine, I’m a pretty big fan – hence my name.

    I completely agree with everything written above. I always try to rate an album on it’s merits and not to compare this to
    contemporaries. On that premise this is a 3.5 – Very good. Perhaps a little on the slow side – Dave used to the riffingest.

  • Lasse Momme

    Yeah, not a big fan of this one. The lyrics are about as cringeworthy and dumb as ever and I’ve had a hard time getting excited about megadeth riffage since United Abominations (which is the best megadeth record we’ve heard since Youthanasia, and I will fight anyone on that shit). It’s a shame really, cause megadeth in many ways was the first metal band I really loved and they are more or less responsible for my obsession with thrash as a genre. It’s just so wildly depressing depressing that Dave seemingly has completely dried out the well of ideas. Sure, It’s not as bad as Super Collider or 13, but it’s still wildly symptomatic of Megadeth as a band right now.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    Yeah horrible lyrics, Adlers talent is very restrained on this, and it’s just overall a poor effort imo. Dave’s voice is shot, he sounds like he dubs his voice, and growls low over another growl. Sounds awful.

    • To be frank, Dave’s lyrics have been an issue for a while…

      • RyanM1985

        The Threat Is Real made me feel uneasy. It was xenophobic and came across like a scared old rich white dude singing badly about those scary foreigners. I can’t get on board this praise train. He’s weird and mental and not in a good way.

        • Yup. My thoughts, too.

          • It really is what you make out of it. I mean look at the track “Emperor” – clearly autobiographical. Clearly.

          • Eh. It’s just his politics are obvious.

          • They are. But I’ll make the case that they always have been. No one was paying attention.

            I’ll have more to say about this! ;-)

          • RyanM1985

            Yes he was always political but in the 80s and early 90s it was about justice for the common man and wasn’t plagued by idiotic religious beliefs.

          • I honestly think you are interpreting his off the field antics with the music. Yeah, I agree, “The Threat is Real” was clearly inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis. “Post-American World” probably more or less comes out his affiliation with neo-cons like Alex Jones. But the lyrics are so vague that if that track came out in the 80s or 90s we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

            Look, I’m about as far removed from Dave’s politics/religious beliefs as it gets (I want a single payer health-care system where everyone gets free Horrendous CDs. I’m a Horrendous Commy – free community college for everyone, but you have to study black metal history in the process – btw, before someone goes ape-shit on me I’m joking here and not interested in a political discussion inspired by a friggin Megadeth record).

            Truth be told, I’ve been more embarrassed by the fact that his role model is a fictional cowboy in a few low-budget spaghetti westerns (fun fact, Dave claims that Clint Eastwood isn’t his muse but the characters he plays…holy hell).

          • RyanM1985

            Indeed, it’s a Megadeth album at the start of the year and that’s why we’re talking about it. I imagine there will be many many better albums by the years end. I’ll lay my cards on the table, I think he’s a wretched man. Some of the things he has said go beyond left/right politics and I have no time for him or his music.

          • All I’m saying Ryan is that a lot of music you listen to are made by folks who have vastly different belief systems than you do with some of them being by most standards, wretched.

            For me at least, Dave hasn’t crossed any line within the confines of his own music and frankly, his off the field antics are more embarrassing than anything else.

          • RyanM1985

            You’re right. I’m actually annoyed at myself for discussing him at this length. I don’t mean that I’ve not enjoyed talking to you, AMG etc.

          • No worries.

          • Right but If I was right wing I wouldn’t be able to make this argument because I’m automatically deemed racist and immediately dumb or a ‘wack job’ honestly this circle jerk of a discussion is a joke.

          • I think he moved from lefty anarchist to rightwing nut at some point.

          • Bas

            Hi AMG, there was a piece written about these kind of issue on your website (I think by Grymm and more about Burzum and Dissection etc) maybe you can refer to that one here. Its a similar case.
            Are the lyrics so bad here (treat is real has some dubious lines… but the rest looks just more silly) or is it what the artists is saying in public so bad that is makes you not want to buy/like the album…

          • Well, he grew up Jehovah’s Witness before dabbling in the black arts, and slowly moving from Eastern mysticism to Born Again Christian in his later years. In other words, it’s a process.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          So someone writes a song about terrorists or whatever it’s automatically xenophobic?

  • groverXIII

    Agreed with both reviews, for the most part,. I’d say it’s not quite as good as Endgame, although that could be a familiarity thing (I haven’t had as long with Dystopia just yet), but it’s easily better than the last two and an excellent album. If I were rating it by the AMG system, I’d put it at a 4.0, which feels about right. I had my concerns that Dave was done after Super Collider, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong.

  • Rodrigo de Marqui

    Boring album….6/10….

    • Reese Burns

      You should know that on this site 6 (3.0) equals “good”. Hardly the score for a boring album.

    • Pimpolho

      That’s good though :D

  • Hulksteraus

    Man, I have a love/hate relationship with Megadeth. I got Countdown when it came out, and then got the back catalogue. I then bought Youthanasia, but really, after that I have not really bought much. I did get System has failed and Endgame, but most of his born again stuff I have not bothered with. The two embedded songs sound quite good, so I think I may end up getting this album as well.

    • Lasse Momme

      you should check out United Abominations, by far the best megadeth record of the 21st century. The riffs are interesting, the leadwork is potent and has an actual sense of personality and the lyrics for the most part aren’t headache inducing as Daves other post Youthanasia material.

      • Hulksteraus

        Will have to give it a try, although his lyrics are old man crazy crap these days…

        • Lasse Momme

          Oh absolutely and that’s no different on UA although to a somewhat smaller degree than on this one. What sets UA apart from records like endgame and 13 is in my opinion the quality of the melodies, solos and the riffs. Sure the lyrics are shit, but that’s not why you should be listening to it. It’s all about the guitar work and that is pretty damn stellar in most placeson UA, IMO. Check out you’re dead, burnt ice and the title track, those are all stellar and personal favorites of mine.

  • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

    I´ve listened to this album twice and right now I´m thinking “ok, it´s obvious that Dystopia is not the greatest thrash metal record ever made, but what if this is the perfect transitional record that Mustaine needed to put back Megadeth in the right track?”… In that light, even SuperCollider was the perfect wake-up call (yeah, I´m THAT optimist xD)

  • Robert Turnbull

    Really enjoying this. Some of the verses sound very much like modern Testament, particularly as Dave’s snarl deepens.

  • Óðinn

    I have to admit that the Jesus, Alex Jones, Rick Santorum stuff has turned me off Megadeth. I used to defend this Mustaine, but no longer.

    • Can you please just put a plug in it?

  • Noobhammer

    I have been digging this album since it came out. it definitely surprised me as well after their last putting, especially since I hadn’t even listened to any of the singles beforehand. I constantly get the riffs of the song “Dystopia” stuck in my head throughout the day.

    My only gripe is with his voice. He’s in perpetual snarling mode now to me. I miss the range he had on earlier records.

  • RuySan

    I suspect that passes for a dystopia for Dave mustain is something like the Norwegian health care system. I’m afraid to hear what he has to say nowadays after I watched him sing ‘peace sells’ lyrics all wrong live some years ago (adjusted for his current political views)

  • HammerofThor

    Deth fan since PS…yes, that damn old. I haven’t liked anything since, well…forever. This is a great return to form. Loved it.

  • King Aurthoar, Dragon Puncher

    To be honest, I think ‘Deth is dying. Don’t get me wrong, this album is decent, but not as good as their older albums. I can understand their turn of events, the band is very old. In fact, probably the oldest band out there that’s still playing. Most bands don’t survive as long as Megadeth has. But again, I’m not feeling it in this album as I do when I listen to their older albums.

    Then again, I’m more of a fan of melodic powermetal, not heavy thrash metal, so my taste is obviously different compared to most people here. All I can say is that Megadeth some-what still have that touch they had in their hey-day, but they aren’t Sonata Arctica.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    never liked this band. same scheme: sick vocals – generic solo – sick vocals – generic solo. and now the riffs are sound so bloody familiar. must be at least a one guy, who don’t like this band here and it’s gonna be me.

    by the way, chris adler is the drumming beast. how the hell the winds of life drove him to megadeth? still can’t understand that

    • arrow2010

      Because Lamb of God sucks?

  • karmaggedon

    As someone who started out on Metal 25 years back, Megadeth’ RIP happened to be my first metal album. I was blown with what I heard then.Nothing came close, not even remotely!! Dave was My God, & someone whom I revered!! The story of him being fired from Metallica and starting Megadeth made me respect him even more!! For me, Metallica was evil & Megadeth was the rebel attacking the establishment.

    However, then came COE and Youthanasia and all the adulation started waning. The maniacal ferocity of RIP was gone and you got the feeling that Dave had sold his soul to the establishment! Not wanting to give up on the band that got me into metal, decided to check out on their back catalogue. Peace Sells & So Far So Good…..simply blew me away!! It was raw and unadulterated and Dave’ anger and aggression could be felt on both the records. I decided to stick to the pre COE era and hoped things would change post Youthanasia.

    Couldn’t have been more wrong. it was clearly a downward slide and albums like Cryptic Writings & Risk made me cringe and felt that Dave had simply lost the plot. Marty’ departure and Nick’ firing made me sad and felt that something had gone terribly wrong.

    Megadeth for me was always about the Fantastic Four, Mustaine, Marty, Ellefson & Menza. Dave would have realised that getting the old line up might have been the final nail in the coffin had things gone horribly wrong. He needed a hit and couldn’t have risked another disaster.

    Have nothing against Dystopia. But its nowhere close to R.I.P, So Far So Good, or Peace Sells. It is a band desperately trying to reinvent & revive its past glory but its no more the Megadeth I knew and loved.

    My verdict : Dystopia is good but it’s not the Megadeth I knew, loved & revered. Its Megadeth for the millennials. Its good in parts but an album without the soul! Millennials enjoy the new Megadeth. For me, Megadeth R.I.P.

  • chris

    Rip as the best deth album mystifies me.
    It contains about 2 or 3 at most the best songs of there career. But is incredibly patchy and unforgettable on the rest.
    Peace sells, countdown so much better as whole album listens.
    Dystopia is solid.
    The leads are well a bit underwhelming from kiko. Technical but just lacking something.
    Friedman was like that a lot but he always delivered some amazing sequence that just drew your attention to his skills.
    I love this new one more then in recent memory.
    It is getting repeat listens.