Review Summary: The System May Have Failed, But Megadeth Haven't!2 of 4 thought this review was well written
'The System Has Failed' may have been originally intended to be a Dave Mustaine solo album, but I think he knew that it was a better idea to call it Megadeth, as the band was basically just him anyway and he would see much more profit than if the silver “MEGADETH” logo had been replaced with “Mustaine” (or something like that). Also, this sounds like Megadeth! The opener, 'Blackmail The Universe' sounds like it could've fit on 'So Far, So Good... So What!' with its heavy riffing, unconventional structure and phenomenal soloing being reminiscent of 'Set The World Afire'. 'The System Has Failed' is the return to form Megadeth wanted to achieve on 'The World Needs A Hero'.
The highlight of the album is certainly 'Kick The Chair', as it could've fit on 'Rust In Peace' with its breakneck speed and high-level technicality. Out of the rest, the song that comes closest to this level would be the nostalgic 'Back In The Day', a song of two halves; the first is a Iron Maiden-esque speed metal song akin to 'Aces High' or 'The Trooper' and the second is an heavy, galloping anthem. Dave Mustaine has brought back the song-writing quality of 'Countdown To Extinction' here and it is very welcome.
Don't expect it to be on the level of the first four Megadeth albums, though, as there is a few things that are wrong with this album. Firstly, there are two pointless interludes on this album ('I Know Jack' and 'Shadow Of Deth') which don't offer anything that couldn't be found on the rest of the album except for 'Shadow Of Deth''s almost hilarious low vocals. Secondly, the quality of the album deteriorates towards the end of the album as most of the best songs on the album ('Blackmail The Universe', 'Kick The Chair' and 'The Scorpion' are in the first half with only one great song ('Back In The Day') on the second half. Finally, there isn't much focus on the other musicians here, as the songs focus on good riffs and vocal lines while mostly forgetting about Jimmie Sloas and Vinnie Colaiuta (although Chris Poland is back as a lead guitarist and is more present than these two).
Overall, this is a very satisfying comeback for Megadeth and is their best album since 'Youthanasia' (not that it says much). I would recommend to fans of the first six Megadeth albums, though again, don't expect to be absolutely blown away and you'll be pleased with this.