Review Summary: *droooool*
As I write this, it's been about a month since Megadeth first freed up their latest album for legal stream. My first impressions, like just about everyone else's, were awesome, excellent, fantastic, and just about any other synonym. I had the rating at 4.5. But, at the risk of sounding like a crazed fanboy writing a reactionary first-impressions novel, I held off on submitting a review until everything had a chance to sink in. Great news - this album has actually grown on me rather than lost its luster. I thought this was a rock solid return to form before, but I now feel that Endgame stands right up to the best of Megadeth's discography.
You may have heard, Endgame marks the debut of latest Megadeth lead guitarist, Chris Broderick. It must be said, he immediately makes a strong bid for being the best guitarist the band has ever had. And this band has had Chris Poland, Marty Friedman, and Glen Drover play alongside that Mustaine guy. Granted, the album does seem to be tailored toward showing off his abilities, but that doesn't make Broderick's performance any less amazing. All the other band members live up to their billing as well. LoMenzo's a quality bassist, Shawn Drover a great drummer, and the other axeman, Mustaine, was just named the #1 metal guitarist of all time in a recent Joel McIver book. Mustaine's vocals are also very good on this album, as he continues to improve with age. Whereas he sounded like claws on a chalkboard when he deviated from his normal snarl into cleaner singing on early Megadeth albums, he can use a more melodic approach on tracks like 44 Minutes and How The Story Ends (though its still largely his basic snarl), and not miss a beat.
While the 'return to thrash' aspect of Endgame has been heavily advertised, arguably the most impressive aspect of Endgame is its diversity. There are plenty of thrashers on this disc, and they do deliver, but there's several other songs on here that would fit right in with Countdown To Extinction... actually, most of them would be better than anything from that album. 44 Minutes and The Right To Go Insane are the two finest examples. Neither song is a blistering thrasher, but melodic, slightly emotional, standard metal songs. You'd be surprised just how well that formula works here.
Oh and about the 'return to thrash' - they weren't joking. 1,320, Headcrusher, This Day We Fight, and the title track all represent some of the fastest, most energetic material this band has put out in two decades. Where United Abominations had us hopeful for the next album, with tracks like Washington Is Next and Burnt Ice, Endgame fires on all cylinders and delivers the thrashiness that's been absent from the band since Rust In Peace, and the all-out aggression that's been missing from the band since before that.
In conclusion, Megadeth has now become of the only metal bands out there to be a major force in the industry, change their style to something more widely accepted, and make it back onto every metalhead's playlist using the formula that brought them success in the first place. This, in my opinion, is the top thrash album of the 2000s, and one-ups every other comeback album from thrash giants thus far (Death Magnetic, Christ Illusion, Inventor Of Evil, etc.). You need this.
The Right To Go Insane