(8/10) A new Megadeth album is always a moment in time that creates some excitement. But in the past it also created sometimes some disappointment since the expectations have been bigger than the actual result.
My most appreciated Megadeth albums are still back in the early days and I still think, that "Peace Sells" is one of the best songs Mustaine ever wrote.
So, with having all this in the backpack I was very curious what Dave Mustaine and band maids have to offer in 2016. Talking about the band, also this time there have been changes in the line-up. The only constant factor is Mustaine himself. Of course, it's his band. However, also Dave Ellefson is becoming more and more a constant factor in the band again, after being back in Megadeth since a few years. Ellefson was part of the excellent early days and now he is back since 2010. His bassplay added something extra to Megadeth's sound again which was so much during the "Risk" days.
The new kids in town are guitarist Kiro Loureiro from Angra as well as Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler who supported live but also during the recording of "Dystopia".
"Dystopia", yes, this is the name of the 15. studio album from Megadeth, that comes with 11 new numbers. One of the songs that have been revealed so far is the opener "The Treat is Real". After having heard the track I got the feeling that "Youthanasia" was just around the corner. The song, and actually the entire album, shows quite some parallels to the band's classic from 1994.
However, the opener is a typical Megadeth song with razor sharp guitars, a galloping rythym and Mustaine's unique vocals. The thunderous title song is next and "Dystopia" confirms the good impression the opener left.
"Fatal Illusion" was published already earlier on the band's website too. A cool bassline, and murderous riffs are dominating this track.
Loureiro kicks off "Death From Within" which is a track that could become a new Megadeth classic since it has the right punch and a chorus that reminds very much of the early days.
Marching drums and an acoustic guitar introduces the listener to "Bullet to the Brain". The tune is kept in a moderate pace and it slowly develops to a real thrasher with a melodic guitar solo half way.
"Post American War" begins dark and slow. The earlier mentioned "Peace Sells" came to my mind when I heard the track the first time. Mustaine & Co. sounds best when they keep the tempo slower, with an hypnoticallly repetition of the riff and focus on pure groove. This works very well with "Post American War" and makes the number to one of the best tracks since quite a while.
The most melodic number on "Dystopia" is called "Poisonous Shadows". The number begins again with an acoustic intro before the six minutes long track develops into a harsh, but melodic metal track. I haven't seen the credits for this song, but with the bombast it carries I guess that Loureiro had some influence on this 'catchy' Megadeth number.
Instrumental song from Dave Mustaine are rare but "Conquer Or Die" is one of those. It's a well done tune with melodic guitar lines. You can almost see the fingers dancing up and down the guitar neck while lsitening to it.
After having had such an intermission it's time for some more angry Megadeth again. "Lying in State" is the name of the track that delivers. It feels like a punch into the face. It is the heaviest piece on "Dystopia" and it hits bulls eye.
"The Emperor" reveals the more rocking side of Megadeth before "Foreign Policy" closes the longplayer. It's a cover version of California punk rockers Fear that is well chosen since it stands for Megadeth's roots, that are, next to metal, also in punk and hardcore.
All in all "Dystopia" is much stronger than I have it expected to be. It feels like the partly new line-up added some new energy to Megadeth. Loureiro's solos are excellent and Chris Adler's punch is lifting Megadeth's sound to another level. "Dystopia" reminds of long forgotten times. It's a journey back in time while heading into the future. Good stuff.
- The Threat is Real
- Fatal Illusion
- Death From Within
- Bullet to the Brain
- Post American World
- Poisonous Shadows
- Conquer or Die!
- Lying in State
- The Emperor
- Foreign Policy
Label: T-Boy/Universal Music
Genre: Thrash Metal
Release Date EU: January 22nd, 2016