Monday, February 29, 2016

Megadeth - Dystopia

So Dave Mustaine is back with his newest incarnation of Megadeth. After the last two albums did not sit well with most fans of this classic band, one was forced to begin thinking that Dave was done. Topped with half of the band calling it quits I was left to wonder where would Dave go from there. Once it was announced that highly skilled axeman Kiko Loureiro (Angra) was joining the band on the new album there seemed to be some hope but even then I realized that, even with the inclusion of such a talent, at the end of the day it would be the songs that matter. So when their fifteenth full length, Dystopia, dropped, I was pleasantly surprised with the finished product.

I think the one thing working in Dave's favor here is his decision to allow Kiko and guest drummer, Chris Adler (Lamb of God), to have some creative input into the album. It's apparent because this is a well thought out album with some great moments, even some moments that are not typical of Megadeth's sound but are still great metal nonetheless. The opener, "The Threat is Real," comes out of the gate with a cool Eastern feel before it kicks your ass. The solos are incredible as one would expect from the talent on display here. Then the title track kicks in sounding very melodic with some cool lead riffing. This is not a real heavy thrash song. Instead you have a well constructed heavy metal song that has a lot of power metal elements in it. Kiko's solos are fucking incredible and some of them actually remind me of Marty Friedman. So this is where I begin to think that this is going to be a winner.

Of course you have songs like "Fatal Illusion" that has Mustaine's signature all over it. A fast thrasher with some killer guitar battles going on. I'm not a big fan of Lamb of God or that metalcore style but Chris Adler proves here that he is a pretty impressive drummer, especially on this song. "Bullet to the Brain" and "Post American World" are interesting songs that have some cool grooves to them. Dave's singing in a lower register and almost sounds like Chuck Billy in places on the former and the latter is pretty much one of Dave's pedestals to which to let us all know his political views but in a rather catchy song. It's by this time that you'll discover that the inclusion of Kiko Loureiro into this band was a brilliant idea. I can't mention his solos enough as he just shreds through every song.

The true star of this album is "Poisonous Shadows." This is a complex song with many layers and this is the song that sounds like a true group effort. After a nice clean intro the song get's that Eastern feel to it with the opening lead being so melodic and clean. Then comes the thunder with Chris Adler showing his meticulous timekeeping mixed with some serious skills. The song's darker feel is done with class and skill with the chorus adding to the epic feel of this song with it's eerie melody. This is possibly the best song that Megadeth has done in a very long time.

This album does have a few flaws which, fortunately, do not take too much away from the great moments on this album. "The Emperor" is not that great of a song and could have been left off the album. I have the Limited Edition with the two bonus tracks and you're not missing much here either. "Last Dying Wish" is the better of the two because between the silliness in which he presented the lyrics there's a pretty good tune here. The message is that he did listen to the fans and he's right, this was his last chance for me because one more turd and I would have given up on this band for good. "Look Who's Talking" is one of those songs that gives the Dave haters ammunition. As mature as this album is, this song is an immature attempt for Dave to keep his bad ass image intact, I guess. I'm not sure but whatever the case, I have little use for "I'll kick your ass" songs.

So at the end of the day, it seems Dave has redeemed himself with me, for now. He does seem to have a history putting out a monster album only follow it up with a turd so we'll see what the future has in store. All I know is that this is a really good effort by a classic band and one that caught me by surprise. I was not expecting to like this but I'm glad I was caught off guard. Now let's see how he follows this up.


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