Review Summary: The worst part about Super Collider is not knowing whether it's just another dud in Megadeth's discography or the unfortunate demise of the band altogether.
Before Super Collider
, I believed in Dave Mustaine. After all, he was the brains behind quintessential thrash album Rust in Peace
, not to mention playing a huge role in bringing thrash metal into full fruition. Even after the highly disappointing Th1rt3en
, I held faith that one day the classic Megadeth spark will spawn another superb piece of thrash metal, and especially after the surprise of Endgame
in 2009, the idea didn’t seem too far-fetched. Surely the psychotic “head crusher” Dave is still in there somewhere, right? Then I heard Super Collider
in full, and sometime during the 45-minute journey of aurally experiencing every worst-case-scenario possible with the album, I came to realize a couple things. First, Dave has very questionable judgments now – including ‘Burn!’ and ‘Super Collider’ on this album are crimes punishable by… well, listening to them – and that Megadeth finally released an album that really, really sucks.
is decent at its best, and at its worst flat out embarrassing. It’s like Mustaine just stopped trying. Sure, Megadeth have had some stinkers in the past. Risk
gets the most flak but it was an interesting experiment and at worst a fun hard rock record. Their uninspired “return to roots” album The World Needs a Hero
had a few cringe worthy tracks but you could still hear hints of their glory days in the form of ‘Dread and the Fugitive Mind’ and ‘Return to Hangar’. Cryptic Writings
had their highlights as well (‘The Disintegrators’, ‘Black Swan’) but sadly no signs of classic Megadeth are found on Super Collider
‘Kingmaker’ is a dull way to open the album – mundane riffs and vocals in a medium paced galloping style Megadeth have rarely done well (exception being Youthanasia
), and keep in mind most songs are in this vein. Next is ‘Super Collider’, a power-chord driven hard rock song in major driven by a layered vocal-dominated chorus – yeah nothing could possibly go wrong there. Then there’s the aptly titled ‘Burn!’ and I wholly despise this song for two reasons: 1) It fools you. See, it has a good riff, one of the few on the record actually. The catch is it’s only played for 10 seconds at the very beginning of the song, fooling you into thinking the album’s going to take an upwards turn when it really plunges itself into the depths of mediocrity; and 2) the abomination of a chorus:
Burn, baby, burn!
‘cause it feels so good
Burn, baby, burn!
Like I knew it would
Wow, what did we do to deserve this heap of shit, Dave? And if that wasn’t bad enough it’s sung over a cheesy glam rock riff even Poison would’ve rejected. ‘Built for War’ has some decent riffs but Dave shouting “built for war!” throughout the song is as unnecessary as it is annoying. The forgettable ‘Off the Edge’ has nothing going for it either, seeing as how its only noteworthy attribute is Dave saying “crazy” about fifty times in the span of four minutes.
Thankfully the second half of Super Collider
fares slightly better. The melodic ‘Dance in the Rain’ features Disturbed and Device frontman David Draiman, and sadly enough Draiman’s guest spot is probably the best display of vocals on the album. It’s a slower, ballad-type song up until the last minute or so when it goes full on thrash; one of the few instances of actual song progression on the album along with being a damn fun outro. Album highlight ‘Beginning of Sorrow’ has one of the few instances of acoustic guitar during its bridge, which itself wouldn’t sound out of place on The System Has Failed
. ‘Forget to Remember’ and ‘Don’t Turn Your Back…’ are tepid hard rock songs about forgetting a relationship (or Alzheimer’s disease according to Mustaine) and friendship respectively, but besides the cliché lyrics and predictable nature they’re not by any means bad. ‘The Blackest Crow’ is certainly the anomaly on Super Collider
– a banjo-driven song about the suffering that comes from loss, and the odd combo of zaniness with dark undertones makes it a clear standout track. Finally the Thin Lizzy cover ‘Cold Sweat’ closes the album on a positive note and proves that, even though Dave’s far past his glory days in songwriting and vocals, the man can still shred.
The fact is that everything about Super Collider
right down to its terrible album cover screams lazy. The musicianship is elementary by their standards – uninteresting drum work (Shawn Drover is possibly their most boring drummer ever), very few windows for Dave Ellefson to show off his chops ‘Take No Prisoners’ style, and little to no shredding period. Dave’s vocals are just awful – he never had a strong low register to begin with and here he’s using it almost the entire time. The lyrics aren’t much better; Dave doesn’t care about even the most basic grammar anymore (”Learn to dance in the rain, instead of wait for the sun”
). All things considered this is nothing more than a shoddy, tired effort from a man who can do much better. Or maybe he can’t anymore. That’s really the worst part about Super Collider
– the ambiguity of whether it’s just another dud in Megadeth’s discography or the unfortunate demise of the band altogether.