Review Summary: Not that great
came out in 2009, it was seen by many as a return to the band's former glory. However, for all the hype surrounding this release, I really don't see what makes it so special and outstanding.
The album opens promisingly enough with instrumental Dialectic Chaos
. Featuring great melodies and the trademark solo tradeoff between Mustaine and Broderick, the song is a great way to open the album, and reminds me a little of So Far, So Good...
which likewise opened with a similar instrumental. The second song however, This Day We Fight
is nothing special. A lot of people praise this song because of its thrashiness that supposedly harkens back to glorious days of old. However, the song sounds very forced to me. I don't see it as a natural product, but as a rather contrived one. It's like Dave Mustaine said to himself "Hey, let's make a really fast and heavy song to prove that we can still play thrash." Even though the riffs are fast and technical enough, the song simply lacks proper dynamics and accents to make it really thrashing like let's say Take no Prisoners
off Rust in Peace does. Besides, the solos are not especially noteworthy.
The third song is 44 Minutes
and it is a quite interesting one, as it is a very melodic and catchy piece. This song's formula is definitely successful, including the radio transmission recordings that are present in its opening. The lyrics however are a bit cheesy and dumb: "Getting schooled until they shot Achiles' heel / and brought down the beast"
. Meh. Then comes 1,320
which is also a very catchy number, but in contrast to the previous song, it takes a more speed metal approach. However, the lyrics are again boring. Do we really care about drag racing? Come on... that's really un-metal. Bite the Hand
is the album's weakest song. Nothing really interesting going on here. However, the song that follows it, Bodies
is a really underrated song and one of the album's high points. It is somewhat midpaced and unimpressive at first, but then segues into a pretty cool harmonised melodic part 2:17 in. And then comes a culminating thrash finish, with what I consider as Mustaine's best solo on the entire album (2:53).
The title track
is again pretty good, being very varied by changing pace and riffs several times. I like how it changes from gloomy to thrashy to a more classic heavy metal finish. Definitely one of the album's stronger numbers. Following it is The Hardest Part of Letting Go...
and it's perhaps the most unusual track on here. I like it, it's definitely not bad. Pretty creepy, but adds some variety to the album. Head Crusher
is everyone's favorite and it is not hard to see why. Opening with a blistering solo, it then proceeds to be an utter thrashfest with fittingly gory lyrics. Arguably the best song on here, however, is How the Story Ends
. It features very effective and hard-hitting riffage, with fittingly ominous lyrics and the best solo on the entire album. Chris Broderick is seen by many as overly technical and lacking emotion, but on here he balances very well between technicality and memorable playing. Closer The Right to go Insane
is alright, I guess. Even though the lyrics are a bit lame, the chorus riff is pretty good, and so is Dave's ending solo.
By now you've probably noticed how I've described most of the songs simply as "alright" or "pretty good". Not "excellent" and "amazing". I think the album's biggest problem is that there isn't a single song on it that really stands out and makes you go "Wow!". United Abominations
had such a song in the face of Washington is Next!
. The System Has Failed
had such a song in the face of Kick the Chair
and Blackmail the Universe
. Hell, even Super Collider
had such songs in the face of Kingmaker
and Dance in the Rain
. But Endgame
, simply put, does not have such a song, around which the record can be centered, and the album suffers for that.
Another big problem is the production. Now, I can forgive the almost inaudibility of the bass, as it is quite frequent nowadays. The problem here is that the band went for a wall-of-sound approach in the production, which, although effective at times, does not work on a record that tries to thrash. Thrash metal requires careful stop-start interplay between the guitar and drums, with clear and distinct accentuation that helps build dynamics. This is not present here, and often the vocals and guitars are too-blended and indistinct to make an impression.
is an alright record with some strong points, but lacking a strong center that would have helped it live up to the hype.
-How the Story Ends
-The Hardest Part of Letting Go