Megadeth
Th1rt3en


3.3
great

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
November 1st, 2011 | 307 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Megadeth keeps rolling along with a strong, albeit less triumphant, thirteenth record.

As far as 80s thrash metal bands go, Megadeth has undoubtedly aged the best. That's a dubious honour to be sure, considering how poor many of their contemporaries have been as of late, but it's fairly notable that Megadeth is still able to put out a record that can stand out amongst their more celebrated works. While it's true that the path that lead them to Th1rt3en may have been marked by questionable decision making, Mustaine and co. are fortunate enough to have at least escaped the trappings of self-parody or modern thrash. Thirteen may not hit the same highs as Endgame (the opening one-two punch of "Dialectic Chaos" and "This Day We Fight" in particular), but it does little to sully Megadeth's recent successes. Considering the record being released (in part) by another former thrash giant this week, that's enough for fans to be thankful for, but it is nice to see that Megadeth is able to stay relevant.

Much of Thirteen is rooted in Megadeth's post-reformation efforts at fusing their thrashy past with a more accessible brand of metal. The result is somewhat formulaic; as one would expect, chunky riffs dominate verses before giving way to melodic choruses, with sporadic shredding scattered throughout. Musically, it isn't particularly different from United Abominations or Endgame, and yet, it shares far more with the latter. Though United Abominations was an important step to get back on track after a number of tedious, half-assed records, it was also somewhat inconsistent itself. Spurred on by the public's reception to Endgame, as well as the return of long-time bassist Dave Ellison, Megadeth sounds a lot more comfortable and confident in 2011. Perhaps, then, it's no coincidence that several tracks featured on Thirteen have their roots in unfinished or discarded pieces that date back as far as the early 1990s. "New World Order" is the best of the bunch, mixing modern Megadeth flair with the obvious Rust in Peace/ Countdown to Extinction era influences. It's a venture that would likely not have gone over so smoothly four to seven years ago, but works out quite well on Thirteen.

Where Thirteen suffers most is in its lyrical content. Mustaine's lyrics are generally easy to ignore, with silly songs like "Fast Lane" ("Fast lane, like a jet plane / like a freight train, I'm driving insane") and "Public Enemy No.1" joining a long line of awkwardly penned songs about murder, crime, and racing. And while it's easy to shrug them off as lacking substance, they fit the mood Megadeth attempts to cultivate. Far too often, however, Mustaine delves into the absurd. "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)" should appeal to the teenage ~nonconformist~ with lines like "You think you know what's best for me / You hate everything you've seen in me / Have you looked in a mirror?", but it's pretty cringeworthy coming from a fifty year old man. More frustratingly, when Mustaine attempts to do the whole social commentary thing he's so fond of, he takes legitimate political issues and then aims his scorn at imaginary things like the Illuminati or the Antichrist. Songs like "New World Order," "We the People," and "Millennium of the Blind" try their hardest to make a statement, but misfire so wildly that it detracts from the experience.

Lyrical content aside, Thirteen sees Megadeth do very little wrong. The quality of the record is somewhat uneven; thrashier tracks like "Never Dead" and "Sudden Death" are more interesting than the flat sounding, mid-paced "Guns, Drugs, & Money," and the record lacks an immediate standout ala "Hangar 18," "Symphony of Destruction," or "This Day We Fight." But on the whole, Thirteen is the sound of a band that has not only successfully re-established its identity, but finally sounds comfortable in it. Megadeth has come a long way from the throes that accompanied the band in the early part of the past decade, and Thirteen is testament to their ability to maintain their newfound resurgence.



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user ratings (923)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Pharoh
November 1st 2011


3325 Comments


great review

RangerTaffles
November 1st 2011


262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Terrific read. I agree with everything you said for this album.

Piglet
November 1st 2011


4665 Comments


A step below Endgame but still a step above United Abominations

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
November 1st 2011


28822 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i'd actually slot this below UA but i do like it quite a bit

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
November 1st 2011


2043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. I'll be interested to see where I rate this, seeing as how I really liked United Abominations and The System Has Failed, but found Endgame lacking.

Also with "Millenium of the Blind," "Sudden Death," and "New World Order" all having been previous B-sides, I'm not sure if I'll really care to hear them on this album unless they've been heavily retouched. I always liked "Millenium of the Blind," though.

Digging: Damascus - When Last We Met

DoubtGin
November 1st 2011


6754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

they probably just wanted to get out of that record deal

Supergon
November 1st 2011


3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was pleasantly surprised by 13, is an amazing track and a perfect closer to the album. Also, Never Dead would fit perfectly as an opener to live performances, it builds a great atmosphere.
While I can't deny any of your statements, and is true that the album seems filled with some "meh" tracks, I've been addicted to it, I've already listened to it more than eight times and still love it.
One more thing, the bassist is Dave Ellefson, not Ellison, you should correct it.

DrGunther
November 1st 2011


186 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, agree completely - it's solid but nothing special.

3.6 average (so far) is hardly low, it's just most albums added to the database on this site get ludicrously high average ratings early on.

Digging: Elder (USA-MA) - Dead Roots Stirring

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
November 1st 2011


7025 Comments


another average megadeth album what a surprise

Tyrael
November 1st 2011


20974 Comments


another average megadeth album

Lolwat

TheNotrap
November 1st 2011


8132 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Huge disappointment



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Wizard
November 1st 2011


19644 Comments


You're still around Mike? Good to see some old faces again!

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

KILL
November 1st 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review good to have you back mike m/

Digging: Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses

SylentEcho
November 1st 2011


1576 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tracks 1,3,4, and 7 are great. The rest of the album is just a rehash of everything they've been doing for the last 25 years.

LepreCon
November 1st 2011


4156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Tracklist is very different here than the one on my copy but my score's the same, good review and stuff

ToMMyMiL116
November 1st 2011


1474 Comments


Holy Shit. I thought this MikeSn guy has been gone for years. Every review I have ever read from him is always from 2004-2006. THE MAN THE MYTH THE LEGEND!!!!!!!!!!!! MIIIIIIIIIIKKKEEEEEEEEE STAGNO!! But for real bro, you write some of the best reviews on this site along with Tyler.

MacOlzu
November 1st 2011


12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was planning on reviewing this, but you said pretty much everything i had in mind, so I probably won't bother. Great review and a pretty good album.

KILL
November 1st 2011


72280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

lol

ToMMyMiL116
November 1st 2011


1474 Comments


"yea the way he gave volume 4 a 1.5/5 and saying that releasing 4 good albums in 3 years is a bad thing gives me chills to this day"

Riff what you mean?



jefflebowski
November 1st 2011


8257 Comments


goddamn, Megadeth are so overrated on this site. I mean the early albums are stone-cold classics, but they've been re-hashing their glory days for ages now



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