Review Summary: This is the most metal sounding album in Megadeth history. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best album that Dave Mustaine has written, and easily the heaviest and most complex. Rust In Peace can take a back seat now, good job Dave!!!
When I bought Rust In Peace, I assumed it couldn't get better than this. Hangar 18, Tornado of Souls, 5 Magics, Take No Prisoners, Holy Wars, Poison Was The Cure, Rust In Peace Polaris, Lucretia, and Dawn Patrol all penetrated my ears and left a mark. I proceeded to buy Countdown To Extinction, Youthanasia, Cryptic Writings, Risk, The World Needs a Hero, and the System Has Failed.
Countdown was a solid slice of heavy metal heaven, with tracks like Symphony of Destruction, Ashes In Your Mouth, Foreclosure of a Dream, and Skin O' My Teeth. Definetly a fantastic effort translated into a fantastic record. 4.5
Youthanasia was a bit of a letdown compared to Countdown To Extinction and R.I.P, but was still a heavy metal albums with alot of kick, and alot of suprises. A Tout Le Monde became an immediate hit with me, while Blood Of Heroes, Reckoning Day, and Elysian Fields picked up tracks like Black Curtains and Killing Road. 4.0
Cryptic Writings was even more surprising than Youthanasia, because I was hoping there would be a return to a thrash style, or atleast the maintaining of Youthanasia level heavyness. Unfortunetly, this album has a string of hard rock hits, and some pathetic attempts at good thrash tracks. She-Wolf, Trust, and maybe Almost Honest are solid tracks. The other songs were quality rock, but certainly lacked a metal sound.
Risk doesn't need any sort of review. It was not metal. Prince of Darkness was pretty tight, and Crush 'Em was a fun song. Everything else lacked an ounce of metal.
The World Need's a Hero was better than Risk, but seemed like an 'off' album that was scrambled. Return To Hangar is a fantastic sequal to Hangar 18, and Dread and The Fugative Mind is a quality song. Recipe For Hate....Warhorse is an interesting metal track aswell. Motopsycho was heavy, but the ending was whack.
The System Has Failed was the album that made me decide that Megadeth could produce good metal albums, but that they'll never put out anything comparable to R.I.P in technical brilliance, complexity, and general musicial proficiency. This album was ready to be the best since Youthanasia until I realized that Megadeth had lost its ability to end an album on a high note. Cryptic Writings failed to do so, as did Risk, TWNAH, and now The System has Failed. My Kingdom Come was just not a well written song musically and lyrically. Kick The Chair, Something That I'm Not, Of Mice and Men, Die Dead Enough, The Scorpion, Blackmail The Universe, and Back In The Day are all solid tracks.
I was wrong about Megadeth losing a part of its soul, or atleast they got it back. It took alot longer than most old school fans would have liked, but Megadeth have returned to form. Everything about this album screams METAL.
I thought Dave lost a little something with his Riff writing skills following Youthanasia. But this album is full of amazing riffs that will spin your head and make your eyes bleed. The guitar performances of Mustaine and Drover are simply stunning. I expected the quality of this album to dictate whether or not Mustaine picked the right guy to do leads and solos w/ him. Glenn Drover is definetly the right guy from what this album shows. Shawn's drumming is better than that of Nick Menza's during the R.I.P - Crytpic Writings era. The bass playing of James LoMenzo is upliftingly heavy and hearable unlike some prior 'Deth albums.
These songs are so technically complex and sensational that they dont rival R.I.P - they blow R.I.P out of the water. Mustaine and his counterpart guitarists have never written solos this fast, blistering, and dynamic. There are so many different Riffs in each individual song that it was hard for me to distinguish between songs at first. It's worth being lost the firt couple times around because the music is just so complex and perfect.
1. Sleepwalker: Thrashy, in your face, lyrically entertaining, musically great, piece of kickass metal. 5/5
2. Washington Is Next: Great compliment to Sleepwalker. Alows for the best 1-2 punch of an album since Holy Wars....The Punishment Due and Hangar 18. Although these two songs go better together than the R.I.P duo. Hard, semi-thrashy, and melodically sensational The three or four trade off solos in the middle are all great. 5/5
3. Never Walk Alone....A Call To Arms: The opening reminded me a little bit of Vortex from Cryptic Writings. But dont be fooled, this song is much better than Vortex. Mustaine has alot of strength in his vocals with this track, which compliments the even flow of the song. The chorus is catchy, memorable, and fits the song extremely well. The guitar is pretty simple and basic, but heavy as hell. 5/5
4. United Abominations: The intro climbs rather slowly, but once the song get's into itself, it's very reminis of what 'My Kingdom Come' should of sounded like. The rythm guitar sounds very similar to My Kingdom Come, but this song is much more dynamic and has an ending that hits home for those of us who depise what the UN has done in the past 62 years. The solos are extraordinary. Only problem is the slow intro and the abnoxiousely long beginning talking clip 4.5/5
5. Gears of Wars: This song is everything Gears Of War would make you think of. Super erie sounding intro with cyber like functions and bombs going off in the backround. Simplistic, heavy, kick your ass flow to the verse. Well fit lyrics, along with a most enjoyable whisper chorus. Good leads at the end that close out the heavy beating your head felt for the first three minuites. 5/5
6. Blessed Are The Dead: This song is probly my least favorite on the album, but it's still a solid metal song that would sound like heaven on TWNAH, Youthanasia, or Cryptic Writings. This song is an apocalyptic sort of song, with crazy cool lyrics, generally enjoyable music, but lacked the last part of the formula to make it great. In fact this song is the only song on the album that seemed to have too much formula to it, and not enough free metal up your ass. The solos throughout the middle and end are kickass though, and the drums are enjoyable for that part of the song. But still, not the best on this album, but certainly the most metal song of an album from Megadeth's 94-2001 albums. 3.5/5
7. Play For Blood: Dave's always been an intimidating guy, but this song is the most intimidating piece of musical brilliance I've ever heard. The leads are flawless and just orgasmic. The rythm playing is heavy, heart felt, and just pounding. The song is in a constant form of dynamic metal perfection. This is my favorite song on the album. The identity of the song is eaily marked by amazing chemistry between the band members. Dave will rip out your heart and eat your babies =O!!! 5/5
8. A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free): First time I heard this song, I felt two emotions. One was anger, and one was hope. I hoped that this song would hit the charts like the original couldnt do because of the college shooting and misinterpreted lyrics. Anger because I didn't have the oppurtunity to make a song with Cristinna Scabbia. (Easily the most attractive metal girl EVER.) The song is more upbeat, faster tempo, heavier rythm playing, more exciting solo, and the vocal chemistry is surprisingly fantastic. 5/5
9. Amerikhastan: Mustaine's sarcastic and politically aware lyrics are so pure and exciting. "With god vs. god, the undoing of man" is just such a great line in the song. The music is powerful, strong, and definetly thrash metal. The guitar solos are shreddtastic, and the chorus, leads, rythm, drums, bass, and vocals just mesh into a great song. This albums is worth every penny....damn its righteouselly superb!
10. You're Dead: A little reminis of Tornado of Souls. Ofcourse though, this song is totally different at the same time! I read someone saying it was an obvious filler ...which I dont understand that person's logic. The song is fast, thrashy, with good lyrical content. The song writing process must have been enoyable because this song is one of the best written songs on the album. It seems a little short but thats because it flows so fast and perfectly. 5/5
11. Burnt Ice: ***in' A! Megadeth finally ended an album with thrash metal perfection. Stops, starts, breaks, bombs, bang, metal madness! Intro was static rediculousely drawing me in to listening. There's no chorus to this song which makes it even more interesting. Ears bleeding, head banging, and mouth drooling with anticipation of the next note. The end solos and leads reminded me of Holy Wars's ending. At that moment, I knew Megadeth was back - back with a venegence - back with anger - back with resolve - back to kick every other band in the ass. It was that moment that I knew United Abominations was the best album in Megadeth history. 5/5