Review Summary: Megadeth's worst album.
After Megadeth's somewhat promising "rebirth" in 2004, the band has been heading nowhere but down in terms of album quality. With every new album since The System Has Failed
, the riffs have gotten weaker and weaker, the production has grown blander and blander, the guitar wankery -- more and more annoying, the lyrics -- lamer and lamer. Basically the only thing that stayed the same was the theme of political commentary. And man, what a boring theme this is, especially if you've been repeating it for the past two decades and more.
So what does this album have to offer? I'm an opponent of judging a book by its cover, but in Th1rt3en
's case, so many signs were present right from the get go, hinting that this is going to be a major suck, that this time the "cover" is a very accurate depiction of what's on the inside. So let's see: Ridiculously uninspired album name? Check. Amateurish second-rate artwork? Half the songs already present in former releases' b-sides? Check. Record done hastily, and used to get out of the contract deal with Roadrunner? Check. And even a brief look at the generic song titles can tell you a lot... With so many blatant examples of how the band did not do this from the heart, how are we supposed to take this album seriously?
But let's abstract ourselves from these details, and judge this album as it is. Are the songs good? Well, depends on what you mean by "good". If you are expecting the smart musicianship and enlightening songwriting of Rust in Peace
, you're not even close. If you're expecting the riff-madness of the band's first thrash offerings, you're even further. If you want to hear catchy songs dealing with varying topics, like we had them in Youthanasia
and Cryptic Writings
, then nope. Hell, even if you're looking for adventurousness, Risk
-style, you ain't gonna find it.
sounds the most like is United Abominations
. As such, this album has all the faults of the other two, except that this time they've deepened even more. Give me one good riff in Th1rt3en
? There are none, sorry. NO, DON'T GO LOOKING AND POINT ME A GOOD RIFF, THERE ARE NONE, OK? Even UA and Endgame occasionally had some of them. And the lyrics? Well, a twelve year-old can write more insightfully. And in the case of "Whose Life", even a nine year-old can write more mature. Also, won't these people learn to TURN THE DAMN LEVELS DOWN. The mixing is ***ing terrible, honestly. Everything's booming so much, you don't know what to follow. No accents, no grace, no thought, no nothing.
But what about the musicianship and compositions? Dave and Chris could always shred, right? Well, let me tell you how a typical song from this album sounds like: The songs are all formulaic, basing themselves around two or three riffs. There's no more than one minute of mute, tuneless singing (more like talking) combined per song, and the rest is filled with mindless repetitions of said riffs, and then even more mindless soloing. As far as I could tell, all solos were virtually the same, and all meaning was lost by the time the 237th of them arrived, hard-pressing me to start skipping heavily.
You know, one thing which I just can't understand about Dave Mustaine is, why the hell does he insist on keeping his music so heavily sociopolitical? If you take a look at Megadeth's earliest releases, songs like "Hangar 18", "Symphony of Destruction" and "Peace Sells", then hell, you'll see that the man has already said everything there is to say on the issue, and in a much more simple, honest, and mature way: The leaders of the modern world are gradually turning it into a crappier and crappier place to live in. Why delve into the boring specifics, why repeat yourself a hundred times? WE GOT IT THE FIRST TIME, AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Now, it's just old and useless. And you, Megadeth, managed to personally make the world a tad crappier, by presenting us this incredibly ***ty album.
Are there any good parts? I, for once, really liked "Public Enemy No. 1" - great catchiness, fun lyrics, and some cool melodic soloing. Good one! Also, "Millenium of the Blind"'s acoustic passages actually manage to touch you! (though that's about the only merit of the song) "Sudden Death" is kinda, kinda OK. Everything else is pretty much discardable, and just filler material to get the song count up to 13. Man, what a stupid idea.