Review Summary: No one is going to be clamoring for “Rust in Peace Part 2” anymore – this is now the album against which all other Megadeth albums will be judged.
Most bands’ discographies are fairly linear in quality. There may be some minor drops or increases in substance, but basically they remain pretty consistent. Every once in awhile, though, a band will release an album that is far-and-away the best thing they’ve ever done – an album that can be considered a pinnacle of their career and also of their chosen genre. The unfortunate side-effect of releasing such an album is that nothing less than a “Part 2” will ever be good enough. Dave Mustaine learned all about that after the release of the phenomenal Rust in Peace
. Despite the quality of subsequent albums, fans have continued to voice disappointment over Dave’s decision to not rehash that essential album. It’s apparently been enough of an issue that once the band did realign themselves with thrash, Dave had to continually go on record to remind people that although the album wasn’t going to be Rust in Peace Part II
, it was still going to be a solid effort. In recent interviews Dave has now extended that reminder to include the band’s upcoming album, Endgame
, but after one listen no one is going to care.
No one is going to care because this is better than that album or any other album in their discography. While some may see this as a bold statement, it will only seem that way to those that have not yet heard Endgame
. This album is classic Megadeth from start to finish featuring some of the strongest songwriting of their career. The band has managed to mix the balls-out aggression of their earlier albums with the catchy accessibility of Countdown to Extinction
. Within that framework, they’ve also returned a bit of the progressive edge that has been missing since the mid-nineties. This has lead to songs that feature aggressive riffing, blazing solos, dual guitar harmonies, biting social commentary, and a tendency to go off on quick tangents. This is all delivered in a slick production that eschews the muddy sound of United Abominations
in favor of a razor sharp delivery that definitely compliments the music better.
Of course, the majority of credit for any Megadeth album goes to sole original member, Dave Mustaine, but he didn’t make the album alone. Most notable of his current band mates is the recording debut of Dave’s new guitar partner, Chris Broderick. Thanks in part to Chris; the solos are one of the most amazing aspects of this album. He and Dave trade off blazing leads on nearly every track, often times kicking up the intensity levels of the songs in the process. One need look no further than the opening instrumental “Dialectic Chaos” or follow-on track “This Day We Fight” for proof of these shredding solos. This album also features some of the most aggressive riffs of Dave’s career – riffs that manage to be thrashy and modern at the same time. The only minor problem is the same one that a few people have had since the beginning – Dave’s vocals. His raspy snarl is definitely an acquired taste and his actual singing is something that might require some getting used to, but it’s hardly an issue (although “44 Minutes” has its cringe-worthy moments, vocally).
There’s an old poster that features a previous Megadeth line-up with a caption underneath that reads: The World’s State-of-the-Art Speed Metal Band
. Somewhere along the way they deliberately gave up that title, but with the release of Endgame
they have easily regained it. This is an album that does everything right. It’s catchy enough for the Youthanasia
crowd, slick and progressive enough for those into Rust in Peace
, and contains enough pissed off attitude for anyone that misses the days of Peace Sells
and So Far, So Good, So What
. The debut of Chris Broderick seems to have reminded Dave Mustaine just how much fun it can be for the band and the fans to have shredding solos above intense riffing, over the course of an album that hardly ever lets up. This is the album that brings Dave Mustaine and Megadeth back to the forefront of metal and proves that at this point they’re more relevant than any bands they started with.