Review Summary: The sound of complacency.
Megadeth is, flat-out, a confusing mess. The 2009 album saw the band thrashing hard enough for our very own Trey Spencer to hail the album as "Rust in Peace Part 2" and it seemed that the addition of Chris Broderick was a match made in heaven. How could it not be? Chris is, unquestionably, one of the most technically talented guitarists in metal today. Frankly, if he wanted to be, he could be the most talented guitarist in whatever genre he wanted to be in. Yet 2011's Th1rt3en
suffered long strokes of mediocrity between recycled and poorly reimagined songs. Somehow, though, the Megadeth faithful, with Endgame
not too far off in the rear-view mirror, held out hope that this would only be a palate cleanser while the band worked on their next true opus.
Well, Super Collider
is here and it's proof positive that our hopes were in vain. And when you look at the inconsistency of frontman Dave Mustaine in recent years, the fact that Super Collider
is an inauthentic feeling mess begins to make sense. Dave's kicked out album after album from 1985's Killing Is My Business
fueled by either personal hatred, political rage, or both. 2004's The System Has Failed
and much of 2007's United Abominations
were nothing but huge attacks on the Bush administration. "Peace Sells..." was released in 1986 during the Reagan administration and begged equality between dark magic thrash dirges. And now we have a born-again Christian who campaigns for Rick Santorum and writes the bizarre abortion ballad of "The Beginning of Sorrow?"
Sorry, Dave, I don't buy it. If this is the crap we're going to get from your current direction, you need to pledge your soul back to Satan and get back to voting Democratic right this minute.
Musically, Super Collider
falters in its inability to deliver the kind of hooks and powerhouse solos we know Broderick and Mustaine can provide. Its best moments come in David Ellefson's bass grooves, which begin the album on a high note that quickly plummets into obscurity amid steeping piles of steaming "hard rock" mediocrity or worse. Admittedly, "Kingmaker" may be the album's most memorable track given its hallmark Megadeth choral shout of "I wanna be the king... kingmaker!" And, despite its horrible lyrics, "Don't Turn Your Back..." (continuing Mustaine's love affair with the ellipses) marks one of the album's few solid tunes, thrashing hard and delivering solos with punch and poignancy not seen anywhere else on the record.
As for the rest of the album? It's instantly forgettable. There's no reason to put yourself through the dull faux-aggression of "Built For War"'s insistence that war is what your fists are for, nor is there any rationale to listening to Dave Mustaine shout "burn baby burn" and moan about having "the fire" over and over again. Unless you're really into that kind of thing.
Truthfully, Super Collider
is just a Megadeth album born of complacency and issued with only the faintest interest in remaining relevant. What ought to be a dream team making Globetrotter-style shots that amaze and astound are satisfied making the lamest layups with the occasional alley-oop. Is all hope lost for Megadeth? No, but a considerable amount of the future glory to be captured by this band rests squarely on the shoulders of Dave Mustaine and his ability to find the sort of inspiration that motivated his past thrash classics. And if you ask me, so long as he's content to be a part of the 1%, rather than a part of the 99% he used to represent, Megadeth is doomed to follow Metallica down the rabbit hole of obscurity in age and "maturity."