Saturday, 13 July 2013

Megadeth "Super Collider"

In the seven or so months since I started this website, I’ve never been so nervous to write about an album. The reason being I’ve never disagreed more with fellow reviewers on an album. Megadeth have been an established metal band for a couple of decades now. Everyone knows the story, but for those who don’t I’ll be happy to share; Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine was originally the lead guitarist and co-lead vocalist of a band. Metallica was the name of this band, you may have heard of them. Anyway, he was kicked out from the band practically overnight, and to get back at them he started Megadeth. They are coined a thrash metal band due to the aggression and personal anger that was heard in the bands first few albums, and because of the movement of thrash metal that was developing directly around them. Some of these “thrash” albums the band released were pure excellence, such as Peace Sells...But Who’s Buying and Rust In Peace.

One thing fans have to get over, however, is that Megadeth are really no longer a thrash band, nor did they EVER claim to be. Nobody seemed to mind this reality when the band released their very positively received 1992 album Countdown to Extinction; an album that was so clearly a response to Metallica’s sudden commercial success. Fans and critics alike didn’t seem to mind that the album only had two or three good songs on it that were unanimously well received, centred around another seven or eight songs that are mediocre to just good. At least their next effort, 1994’s Youthanasia, which was also met warmly with fans and critics, elevated the new found heavy metal sound of the band so that pretty much the whole album, while still not thrash, was filled with terrific traditional heavy metal songs.

It was after this that the band started a bit of a downfall, with the next three albums all being relatively mediocre, with their moments but still lacklustre. It is because of this era of the band that fans have found themselves sceptical of any note that the band plays, a lot of the time judging it before they even hear it. After a couple of albums that weren’t panned but weren’t the best received, the band released Endgame, which was by all intents and purposes a return to thrash metal. In hindsight this may have not been the best thing for Megadeth to do, because it put in to fans heads that they are still a thrash metal band. This is why when 2011’s TH1RT3EN was released, returning the band to traditional heavy metal, fans backlashed (while critics thankfully didn’t so much). I will admit to finding that album to have a few filler tracks that I wasn’t pleased with.

So that brings us full circle to the bands 2013 release Super Collider, an album that has, surprise surprise, been panned by fans and critics. I find many of this reception is due to the album’s title track and leading single; a track which sounds sort of commercially friendly, but no more than a song like 1992’s Foreclosure of a Dream, yet everyone seemed to love that song.

Tracks such as Kingmaker, Burn! (despite its bland lyrics) and Don’t Turn Your Back... are full on balls out metal tracks mixing melodies with shredding guitars and double bass drum kicks. Built For War is another of these tracks in terms of its aggressive approach, but this is a track that I DO find to be less than significant. I do really enjoy its apocalyptic bridge though. A song like Off The Edge has a slower pace, but has just as much aggression as these previously mentioned heavy hitters. Much like the title track Super Collider, the songs Beginning of Sorrow and Forget to Remember do have a bit of a commercial feel to them. The former of the two would be one of the least significant tracks on the album, but Forget to Remember shows some terrific song writing in terms of its heavy chugging riff and its melodic chorus.

One of, if not the most experimental moment in the history of the band, would be the track The Blackest Crow. Anyone who listens to the song instantly hears Dave Mustaine on his slide guitar, something unheard of in previous metal songs in general, let alone Megadeth songs. It gives the song an intentionally old bluesy feel. That is until its heavy hitting chorus of course.

The album ends with a cover. While I’m not sure how necessary it was so cover Thin Lizzy’s irish hard rock classic Cold Sweat, I must say the band does an absolutely terrific job in covering it. Having heard a few covers of the song in the past, particularly by Helloween and Sodom, and hearing how rather half assed those versions of the song were, I was relieved to hear Megadeth’s version. They down tuned the song a bit, but besides that the song is completely true to the original, including Dave Mustaine NAILING the classic guitar solo originally done by virtuoso John Sykes.

So you can take this opinion or leave it, but Megadeth have released an album that they should be proud of. Unfortunately they can’t possibly be proud of it thanks to the reception. Knowing Dave though, the more negative the reception, the more likely he’ll be to include more songs from this album in to the bands setlist. The album is no Peace Sells or Rust In Peace, but it was never meant to be. It does, however, stand out compared to the bands more recent albums for sure.


Dance In The Rain” –­ I find this track to sum up Megadeth’s entire career. I hear three parts in this song. There is Dave Mustaine speaking out lyrics to the song in front of double bass drums and thundering guitars, something Dave has done numerously throughout the bands career, then the speaking turns in to singing, in front of the same thundering guitars and drums. Up to this point, the song reminds me of something from something off of the bands 2007 album United Abominations. Then the end of the song, after the melodically shredded twin solos, is when the song picks up into a practical thrash masterpiece. This brings in Disturbed/Device frontman David Draiman providing a guest vocal performance. The sheer feeling and aggression put in to this last minute of the song is practically the greatest moment on the entire album.



8 (Out of 10)


Track List:

"Super Collider"  
"Built for War"  
"Off the Edge"  
"Dance in the Rain" (Featuring David Draiman)
"Beginning of Sorrow"  
"The Blackest Crow"  
"Forget to Remember"  
"Don't Turn Your Back..."  
"Cold Sweat" (Thin Lizzy cover)


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