Megadeth // Th1rt3en
Rating: 3.0 —.5 is reserved specifically for Chris Broderick for being a beast.
Label: Roadrunner Records
Websites: megadeth.com | myspace.com/megadeth | facebook.com/megadeth
Release Dates: EU: 2011.11.02 |  US: 11.01.2011

Megadeth - ThirteenWhen Megadeth released Endgame in 2009, I was noticeably effected. This was Megadeth like we hadn’t really heard them since (arguably) Youthanasia, and for more fans, much earlier than that. It was a refreshed band with excellent writing and guitar work that matched the Marty Friedman days. The songs were well written, catchy and the record was tightly edited and honed down to perfect vinyl length. Honestly, Endgame was a record that I don’t think anyone but the most idealistic of Megadeth fans could even have been expecting. And though at the time I joked that we should make sure that Mustaine wasn’t stockpiling fertilizer, (I still hold firm to that belief) the record has aged pretty well. That, of course, means that there are some expectations for Th1rt3en. Expectations that this record, for example, will not suck.

Th1rt3en doesn’t suck. I can say that from the get-go. Musically, while this record is not as dark and thrashy as Endgame was, it is musically superior to anything that Megadeth put out between Youthanasia and Endgame. While “Sudden Death” starts out a little off, it works into a catchy chorus and some fantastic soloing. The same is true of “Never Dead” and “Public Enemy No. 1,” while the track “New World Order” is a driving track that wanders into some pretty cool progressive area musically. But it’s true that this album is a lot more “driving music,” or sort of driven tracks that are more akin to “Angry Again” or “99 Ways to Die.” that is to say direct. See almost any track on here, “Wrecker” or “Deadly Nightshade” or… well, you get the picture. The dark and thrashy approach that characterized Endgame goes missing, definitely.

These tracks lead to copious amount of head nodding, which is always a good sign. And I do really dig some of this stuff, but there are some things that really stick out for me. First, this record is too long. At an hour, it contains two or three songs too many. Unlike Endgame, which felt like an ass-kicking at 45 minutes long, Th1rt3n loses me at about “Wrecker” and I just have trouble staying tuned in. This isn’t a good thing. And while the music is great and there are some really good solos (let’s just say that this Angry Metal Guy thinks that Chris Broderick is the best thing that ever happened to Megadeth) and some good writing, the tracks feel a bit tired at times and they don’t hide something that is becoming more and more of a deal breaker for me.

The deal breaker is the lyrics. Th1rt3en wanders between the inane (“Whose life is this anyway?” Well, Dave, given that you’re a grown man, it’s yours, so do something about it) and the insane (“I’ve seen the future / One of calamity / The coming plagues / of the new disease / The Illuminati / One world currency / One world religion / One world everything!”),  from “We the People,” though this is offset by an amazing fucking solo) and the downright stupid (“Monitoring our wages / New World Order comes in stages”). It’s ironic that as he’s gotten older Mustaine’s politics apparently have gotten stupider and I really think he believes this stuff. It’s one thing if this is fiction, it’s another thing if this dude is really listening to Alex Jones and writing this kind of crap in paranoid fits in the middle of the night. I’m guessing that the creators of Fallout could make a pretty funny town in an upcoming release of the game where Dave Mustaine and Jon Schaffer have joined together to create the most metal of post-apocalyptic villages,”what with them both being so well-prepared. This stuff is silly and the lyrics aren’t good and they kind of piss on the songs. Mustaine has never been a lyrical genius, but I don’t recall it ever being this bad before.

Still, I guarantee you that fans of the band will like this record. There’s plenty of musical goodness to enjoy and Mustaine’s paranoid politics aside, it’s got some really enjoyable moments. I need to come back to the point that Chris Broderick is a total beast again, though. I reserved .5 of this 3.0 score for him because his guitar playing is worth owning this record for. His solos are fantastic and he brings an energy to this project that has been missing for along time. So more power to him and I hope that he stays on and helps Mustaine through his apparently very difficult and paranoid time.

Oh, btw, Dave, the magical Endgame Document that disappeared and can’t be found is located here [PDF].


Megadeth // Th1rt3en
Rating: 2.5/5.0 —Symphony of distraction
By: Steel Druhm

It seems 2011 is the year of the so-called “Big Four.” We’ve had a tour of 80s giants Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica, a long-awaited release by Anthrax and now, the new Megadeth platter arrives. In all fairness and candor, the very originally titled Th1rt3en (it’s their thirteenth album) has the misfortune of following Endgame, one of Megadeth‘s best albums in years. That means expectations are significantly higher than usual. Making matters much worse, Mustaine & crew chose this of all times to adopt a more melodic, hard rockish and at times, poppy style. Naturally, the combination of these two factors doesn’t bode well for Big Dave’s shiny new product and Th1rt3en is a large step back from Endgame. While there are a few examples of vintage Deth, this just isn’t a very good collection of songs. There are several factors working against it and by the time this runs its course, a lot of people are going to feel underwhelmed and frustrated.

MustaineThings start out very well with “Sudden Death,” which has all the classic Deth elements in force and working overtime. There’s guitar pyrotechnics, especially from new guitar monster Chris Broderick (ex Jag Panzer), loads of aggression and Dave’s patented snarl. It’s so vital, it reminds you why this band has remained relevant for so long. If the rest of Th1rt3en was like this, it would be big money. However, things immediately dive into silly, overly commercial radio rock like “Public Enemy NO. 1” (which sounds like an Alice Cooper song from his late 80s pop-metal period) and “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?).” From there, we get the bland “We the People” which is crushed under the weight of unbelievably bad political lyrics that may have come from a Fourth Grade Civics textbook. Seriously, I don’t care a bit about Mustaine’s political opinions but when the lyrics are this hackneyed and cheeseball, it undermines all my attempts to take things seriously. Other failures include the filler demons “Guns, Drugs and Money” and “Fast Lane” (which has lyrics that make “I Can’t Drive 55” seem profound by comparison [And rhymes stolen directly from The Box Tops‘s “The LetterAMG]). After suffering through tracks like these, I couldn’t help but think of the recent Annihilator output and their oh-so-cheese-tastic quasi-thrash. While “Never Dead,” “New World Order” and “Millenium of the Blind” are all respectable, they just aren’t good enough to salvage an album steeped in mediocrity (which goes on for three songs too long).

What does almost salvage things is Mr. Broderick’s amazing playing. The man is unbelievable and if ever there was a guitar hero, he’s it. Almost every song gets elevated by his fluid shredding and lead-work. If Davey boy had managed to write slighty better songs, Broderick’s fret mastery would have carried them all to victory. As it is, he can only help stave off a total collapse. While his songwriting clearly isn’t up to snuff, Dave’s playing and vocals are in fine form and his snarl sounds as good as ever. Musically, these cats are beyond reproach and as a unit, they sound tight and dangerous, even on the slower songs (of which there are many).

BroderickThis brings me back to another major source of irritation: the lyrics. They’re partic-ularly cringe-worthy across most of Th1rt3en and they seriously impair my appreciation of several songs. While I don’t buy a Megadeth platter for Dave’s poetic word play, he really shits the bed on many of the songs and some of his word choices had me throwing up my hands in dismay. Maybe its the therapy sessions with Lars or too much interweb time on Jon Schaffer approved, geo-political conspiracy sites, but Dave really phoned it in this time. When the songs themselves are this iffy, bad lyrics are the wet French kiss of deth (yes, I’m funny [Oh-so-very funny! AMG]).

So there you have it, this isn’t one of the better releases in Megadeth‘s considerable discography. It has moments (largely supplied by Broderick) but overall, this one is gonna collect a whole lot of dust on my CD shelf in the coming years. If you worship these guys, you’ll get this and deal with it but you’ll have to admit, its not indicative of what they’re truly capable of. If it’s any consolation Dave, this is still light years better than anything Metallica could do these days (Lou Reed anybody?). Step up to the table Slayer!

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  • New World Order is not a new song.  It is a re-recording of a previously unreleased track. So, lyrically, your argument must stand for older Megadeth lyrics too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4fnMcrBUsI

    • Aw, you’re so kind to ol’ Davey.

      • I’m sure you could write a few blog posts about classic ol’ Davey lyrics.

    • Davey had some decent and at times great lyrics on past albums but here, not so much.

  • I’ve only given it one spin so far and one thing for sure, it’s a huge step down from Endgame. It shouldn’t have been, though. :( I too feel the album overextended with number of tracks and overall length but hey, this is still far better than Lulu.

  • mike gager

    I havent really liked anything from megadeth since rust in peace. Not sure why i hoped this record would be any better.

  • I was a bit disappointed with this one considering how good Endgame was, but it’s not bad.

    I did like about half of the songs on The System Has Failed, though, and United Abominations had some decent tunes.

    KICK THE CHAIR

  • “Better than LULU” – man, that’s damning with faint praise :-)

  • “Better than LULU”, that’s damning with faint praise :-)

    (sorry ’bout the double post, I’m messing around with Disqus)

  • Zadion

    I really can’t fathom the interest for Megadeth, period. The big four had their time during the 80s and even during the 90s, but their time is up. Honestly, as far as I’m concerned, they all stopped being good AGES ago…. and some of them have never been good, period – at least IMO. Admittedly, I never listened to Endgame though. They’re the heroes of yesteryear, but I can’t help but feel this generation has more to offer. :

    And as for the conspiracy crap, I must suggest (politely, and with all due respect) that you tread lightly. You guys are all old (no offense), so maybe it’s less relevant, but there is a surprisingly high increase of people who believe in various things labeled as “conspiracies.” Now I’m a strict Christian myself, and I can tell you that whole microchip number of the beast stuff has nothing to do with any future new world order that may or may not happen – not Biblically, at least. And anybody who compares Biblical writing HISTORICALLY could see that. If I ever get the chance to talk to Mustaine, I’d have a big debate with him over that. Regardless, though, whether he believes it or not shouldn’t matter. It is his right, and I don’t think anybody should be able to justifiably call him insane because of that.
    Furthermore, these conspiracies are becoming semi-common in metal. Take Scar Symmetry’s new album “The Unseen Empire” for example. It’s an (awesomely written) concept album full of conspiracies, with the focal point being the hidden control of shadow governments… or in other words, the Illuminati. I for one see every reason to believe in it, and support the idea that some kind of Illuminati-type government exists. But this is not a place to debate. I simply would like to see a little more sympathy towards people who believe in things that may seem abnormal. Or in other words, it’d be cool if we weren’t accused of being borderline crazy.

    I swear, metal is a weird place. A guy believes in the New World Order, and he’s labeled as a nutjob. However, if another guy mutilates himself in studio while promoting others to do the same… well, that’s a-OK! Weirdos.

    • LOL, we are old.

      • Anonymous

        haha

    • I think the “wheels-in-wheels” kind of stories really appeal to us in these modern times. It’s a bit of the zeitgeist of our times, if you will (fuck that movie). But, dude, as a Christian you probably are not a millenialist, and it’s with them that the number of the beast/microchip shit is coming from. It’s an extreme form of conservative Christianity, but it’s coming from there whether or not Christians like it.

      Also, I’m not old yet. Just working on it. ;)

      • Zadion

        Well, I don’t dig into conspiracies because I think they’re “cool.” That’s what hipsters do. I only consider them when I feel there is enough evidence I should. I’m also the type of guy who doesn’t cast aside anything as impossible without absolute proof against it, no matter how far-fetched an idea it is. That said, a lot of ministers and whatnot used to really promote that theory, and I think that’s where Mustaine is getting it from…. But even so, I see no problem with him expressing these opinions. Not much difference between that and the “HAIL SATAN” of early ’90s black metal, when you get right down to it. And at least he isn’t burning churches. :P

        And, anyway, you’re 10 years older than me… old as far as I’m concerned.

      • OK, I’m old and you’re “working on being old.”

  • I think this album suffers from half the tracks being redoes of older demos and special one offs from games like Guitar Hero which makes it sort of stray into Chinese Democracy territory. Especially when a lot of these tracks were created at an arguably low point in Megadeth’s creativity.

  • OzanCan

    This one is not like the Endgame but hell Chris Broderick is a real HEAVY METAL MONSTER!!! I must agree with AMG here about Mr. Broderick’s awesome guitar works!!

    Also, I have found this album enjoyable to a certain degree but I am sure as hell that it’s not gonna grow in me…
    Till next album then.

  • Listening to the album now. I love Dave’s lyrics. Always have. Whether I believe the propaganda or not it depicts a great story and Dave’s sarcasm almost makes it kind of campy in a dark way which is something he’s always been good at.

  • Gloomer88

    Just so boring, the drumming is so bland

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