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Megadeth – Super Collider [Review]

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Megadeth – Super Collider [Best Buy Exclusive Edition]
2013, Universal Music Enterprises/Tradecraft/T-Boy Records

1. “Kingmaker”
2. “Super Collider”
3. “Burn!”
4. “Built for War”
5. “Off the Edge”
6. “Dance in the Rain”
7. “The Beginning of Sorrow”
8. “The Blackest Crow”
9. “Forget to Remember”
10. “Don’t Turn Your Back…”
11. “Cold Sweat”
Bonus Tracks:
12. “All I Want”
13. “A House Divided”
Best Buy Exclusive:
14. “Countdown to Extinction” (live)

Band:
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Chris Broderick – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Ellefson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums

Produced by: Johnny K

What’s in a name? Nitpicking here, because it’s the music that matters most, but I find the title of Super Collider to be lackluster and fairly generic (the same way I felt about Thirteeneven with its alternate alpha-numeric spelling). Yes, I know that’s the Large Hadron Collider on the cover (with Vic Rattlehead barely visible in the back there) but it’s all a bit “off” for Megadeth album, in my opinion. Especially with the picture being so bright and colorful. I will say the cover is made a bit cooler with the lenticular insert that comes with the album. I’m not sure if that’s a Best Buy exclusive as well or given to all releases.

So, for a long time, Megadeth has been one of my favorite bands. For a period of time, it wouldn’t have been out of line to say they were my favorite. But, with each passing album, I find myself becoming less thrilled with them. Endgame and Thirteen were both disappointments to me with few bright spots and a lot of filler. So I certainly was not hyped up for Super Collider (and the uninspired album title & cover art only made matters worse). Based off the lead single, “Super Collider”, I figured I had this album already pegged as yet another disappointment.

However, two more songs were released online that really piqued my interest: “Built for War”, which sounds like something that could’ve been on United Abominations. Then there’s “The Blackest Crow”, which is a very unusual Megadeth track that could’ve come from Risk and it has a creepy country/bluegrass vibe to it complete with banjo and slide guitar. Both of these songs got me excited for the album.

And then I kept reading reviews online going “oh, this is a hard rock album, this isn’t heavy metal!” My response? “GOOD!” I’ve always felt Megadeth’s best albums came from the nineties, a time when they were blurring the line on whether they were metal or rock. With the last few albums, Dave seemed to be going in a direction that was heavier and faster than Megadeth had ever been. That’s quite an impressive and commendable feat, even if it didn’t lead to too many memorable songs, but it really isn’t what I wanted from the band. It seems like on Super Collider that Mustaine and lessened the intensity and added a much needed dose of melody & hooks that harkens back to Youthanasia and Countdown to Extinction.

“Kingmaker” – Solid Megadeth metal to kick off the album.

“Super Collider” – I found this one to be disappointing upon first hearing it (as did most people). It’s not a particularly heavy song. Probably about as radio-friendly as Megadeth can get. Sounds like it should’ve been on Risk. It’s actually grown on me with repeated listens but it was a poor choice to be the first released song from the album.

“Burn!” and “Off the Edge” come off like filler to me.

“Built For War” – Great track! This one is a modern Megadeth heavy metal classic right alongside “Gears of War”, “This Day We Fight!” and “Sudden Death”. This song is most definitely heavy metal.

“Dance In The Rain” –  I love the way this song starts off, with that somewhat creepy vibe Megadeth songs can have. This is actually Dave as a motivational speaker though (somewhat) — “you better learn to dance in the rain/instead of wait for the sun/dance in the rain/the sun will never come”. Disturbed/Device vocalist David Draiman appears on this track as well. Is that a selling point for you? It’s not for me.

“The Blackest Crow” – Like I said, an unusual Megadeth track but I’m loving it. It’s bluegrass meets heavy metal!

“Cold Sweat” – Pretty cool to hear Megadeth cover Thin Lizzy. Of course, it’s much more powerful than the Thin Lizzy version but it’s a faithful cover.

As far as the three bonus tracks go, “All I Want” and “A House Divided” are decent. “All I Want” is a fairly good headbanger that is about girl — “all I want in a girl…”. Simple, but a cool tune. I would’ve been fine with this replacing “Burn!”. “A House Divided” is another unique song (horns!), coming off like something that could’ve been on Risk or The World Needs A Hero. Both of these tracks are growing on me more and more with each listen. The third and final bonus track (and a Best Buy exclusive) is a live version of “Countdown to Extinction” that was recorded in 2012 at a show in Ponoma, California.

megasupersingle

The artwork for the “Super Collider” single. I would’ve much preferred this as the actual album cover. Has a bit of a ’90s Megadeth vibe, I think. Maybe that’s because it reminds me of the alien ship in ‘Independence Day’.

Megadeth-Supercollider

This artwork popped up online with claims that it was the album cover. I guess it was a rejected album cover/single artwork? It’s a bit goofy, reminds me of Overkill. Probably for the best that this one didn’t make it into production but I love how the Megadeth logo is breaking up.

Overall, I think Dave & Co. have delivered the best Megadeth album since at least 2007’s United Abominations. Don’t let the people fool you — this is NOT Risk. You can’t categorize this album as solely hard rock, but it’s not a full-blast trash/speed metal album like the last two have been either. It’s a rock/metal album and that is completely what I want from Megadeth. Megadeth’s stock was dropping with me after Endgame and Thirteen but Super Collider has started to set things right once again.

Highlights: “Kingmaker”, “Super Collider”, “Built for War”, “The Blackest Crow”, “Forget to Remember”, “Don’t Turn Your Back…”, “Cold Sweat”, “A House Divided”

http://www.megadeth.com
http://www.facebook.com/Megadeth

Buy the album at Amazon.com

Megadeth – Thirteen

Megadeth – Thirteen (2011, Roadrunner Records)

1. “Sudden Death” … 5:09
2. “Public Enemy No. 1” … 4:15
3. “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” … 3:50
4. “We the People” … 4:33
5. “Guns, Drugs, & Money” … 4:19
6. “Never Dead” … 4:32
7. “New World Order” … 3:56
8. “Fast Lane” … 4:04
9. “Black Swan” … 4:10
10. “Wrecker” … 3:51
11. “Millennium of the Blind” … 4:15
12. “Deadly Nightshade” … 4:55
13. “13” … 5:53

Band:
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Chris Broderick – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Ellefson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Johnny K

Thirteen is Megadeth’s 13th album. It’s become cliched to title your album based on its chronological order in your catalog just as much as its become lame to stylize an album title or song as something like Th1rt3en. It’s just unimaginative and lame (to me anyways) but I suppose I’m just nit-picking.

Of course, lack of imagination could be argued for this album because five of the thirteen tracks on this album have appeared elsewhere in various forms. “Sudden Death” was originally recorded in 2010 exclusively for the Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock video game. “Black Swan” was an exclusive to Megadeth fan club members who pre-ordered United Abominations. “Millennium of the Blind” was originally demoed for Youthanasia and in that form found its way onto the 2004 re-issue as a bonus track. “New World Order” is from the Countdown for Extinction era and was also included in demo form on the re-issue of Youthanasia (a completed version appeared on 1999’s Duke Nukem: Music to Score By soundtrack). Lastly, the main riff from “Deadly Nightshade” is something that’s “been around for a while” since the mid-90s according to returning original bassist David Ellefson (this is Ellefson’s first Megadeth studio since 2001’s The World Needs a Hero) . It should be noted though that all of these songs have been completed, reworked and/or re-recorded for this album so it’s not a total cut & paste job.

In comparison to Endgame, Thirteen is an improvement. Endgame had some good tracks but left me cold for the most part. It was thrash & speed just for the sake of it and I’m happy Andy Sneap wasn’t able to return to produce this album (scheduling conflicts) because otherwise we probably would’ve ended up with Endgame Part 2. In the quest for speed & aggression, it seemed like Mustaine forgot all about melody and hooks on the last album. Thankfully Thirteen does not suffer this problem as the nature of this album is more melodic and songs like “13” and “Guns, Drugs & Money” prove the point.

There is still enough thrash & speed to go around though. “Sudden Death” (slightly different than the Guitar Hero version) is one of the best songs Dave has written in years and should be included on any future “best of” compilations. “Wrecker” is another track sure to have you headbanging. Much of the album finds a great middle ground between being heavy while still having the hooks that will dig into your brain and keep you coming back for me.

Personally, I prefer a melodically metal Megadeth over a thrashy Megadeth any day of the week so this album has worked out well for me and has restored my faith in the band (not that it ever really faltered). Those that were enamored with the audio assault of Endgame may be slightly disappointed with Thirteen but those that liked the melodic shift in sound the band took on starting with Countdown to Extinction should find plenty here that will entertain.

Highlights: “Sudden Death”, “Public Enemy No. 1”, “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)”, “Guns, Drugs & Money”, “Never Dead”, “Millennium of the Blind”, “13”

http://www.megadeth.com
http://www.facebook.com/Megadeth
http://www.twitter.com/megadeth

Buy ‘Th1rt3en’ at Amazon.com

MEGADETH – Endgame

Megadeth – Endgame (2009, Roadrunner Records)

1. “Dialectic Chaos” … 2:26
2. “This Day We Fight!” … 3:27
3. “44 Minutes” … 4:37
4. “1,320” … 3:50
5. “Bite The Hand” … 4:01
6. “Bodies” … 3:34
7. “Endgame” … 5:57
8. “The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed With a Kiss” … 4:42
9. “Head Crusher” … 3:26
10. “How The Story Ends” … 4:29
11. “The Right To Go Insane” .. 4:18

Band:
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano
Chris Broderick – Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
James Lomenzo – Bass
Shawn Drover – Drums, Percussion

Produced by: Andy Sneap and Dave Mustaine

Another Megadeth album, another line-up change! It’s pretty comical — “who’s going to play on this album,” but at least Dave always brings in top notch musicians. This time, its another new guitarist — Chris Broderick (Jag Panzer, Nevermore) has stepped in for the departing Glen Drover, who apparently was homesick and just wasn’t enjoying touring all that much.

My first impression of this album was that there’s really nothing that jumps out and grabs you. I thought there was some filler on United Abominations, but at least that album had the instant standouts “Play for Blood” and “Gears of War” (which had a “Symphony of Destruction” vibe).

To be honest, the very first song that eventually caught my attention was the opening track “Dialectic Chaos”… which is an instrumental! After that, “44 Minutes” began getting stuck in my head and I knew I had found my groove with this album.It’s a grower, for sure, but the more I listen to it, the more I’m enjoying it. I think it’s even better than United Abominations because melody seems to be employed better here, UA was a bit too thrashy for me at times.

I’ve seen many reviews going as far as to say this album is “great”. I wouldn’t go that far, but it is very good and one of the year’s best releases. I mean, how can you complain about Megadeth (well, besides the lame cover)? Mustaine has seemed to have found his proper place with the music — the last few records seem to emcompass all albums from Rust In Peace to Cryptic Writings. As long as Dave keeps makin’ ’em, I’ll keep buyin’ ’em.

Highlights: “Dialectic Chaos”, “44 Minutes”, “Bodies”, “Endgame”, “The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed With a Kiss”, “Head Crusher”, “How The Story Ends”

www.megadeth.com
www.myspace.com/megadeth

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