Review Summary: A Failed Comeback1 of 1 thought this review was well written
After the atrocious 'Risk', Megadeth put themselves in a dilemma; either split up for a while and take their time in releasing a great comeback album or continue pushing out an album every two years with poor results. If there is one word that could sum up 'The World Needs A Hero', it'd be “rushed”; most of the album is loaded with chugging and unsatisfying half-riffs which replace the quality riffs and boring choruses like the ones found on the title track, '1000 Times Goodbye' and 'Losing My Senses'. That said, this album is still miles ahead of 'Risk' and proved that Dave Mustaine hadn't lost it completely.
In fact, I'd say that the opener, 'Disconnect', is Megadeth's best opener since 'Skin O' My Teeth' and suggests that the album will follow in the vein of the melodic style of 'Youthanasia' through the emotional vocal delivery, smooth transitions from one riff to the next and good use of dynamics. There are a few other songs that also are quite good, like 'Moto Psycho', which, despite the stupid sounding chorus (a guilty pleasure for me, though), is driven by a nice riff and has a unique swing to it. Another high point for the album would be 'Dread And The Fugitive Mind', which is similar to 'Sweating Bullets' in the stop-and-start verses but is different in that it is faster-paced, less heavy and aims for a more epic atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the whole album wasn't at this level as Dave Mustaine seemed to be on a downward slope creatively and 'The World Needs A Hero' just shows him trying harder. It doesn't help that Marty Friedman has left Megadeth for good at this point and has been replaced by Al Pitrelli, who does an impressive job, but it'd be difficult to beat Marty Friedman. This is also the last album to include David Ellefson for a while, which is a shame, because he sounds great here, giving the music a very audible and powerful deep sound.
'The World Needs A Hero' proves that Megadeth needed a break after producing one album every two years since 'Cryptic Writings' and even though the break was due to his arm injury, it would have been a wise decision to make even if that hadn't happened, as most other bands would've disbanded after that much time together anyway. This may be an improvement from 'Risk', but it still cannot live up to the standard of Megadeth's past work. Only get this if you are a die-hard fan of Megadeth.