Saturday, April 18, 2015

Megadeth - Th1rt3en (2011)

We all know that Megadeth can change their musical and mental mood in a dime, and judging by the cover of the band's 13th album, they turned a couple of other things as well. I mean, why in god's name would you turn around your beloved mascot so that his back is shown on your cover? It just doesn't make sense, and neither does the title. Who in their right set of mind would name their album "Th1rt3en"? Sure, this is album number 13 for the band, but just because your band has reached a impressive goal in your career, it does not mean you can do anything to boast that achievement. This makes Megadeth look like fools, which unfortunately is not the first time.

So it could have been a better start for the return of bassist David Ellefson, and it didn't turn any better when it was discovered that most of the set list in "Th1rt3en" consisted of old songs that has been previously released in deluxe editions, b-sides and video games. For the common man, these songs might be new, but not for the hard core Megadeth fan, which ultimately takes away some of the excitement that comes with a new album.

So let me go through which songs are "old". Both "New World Order" and "Millennium of The Blind" appears as bonus tracks in the 2004 remaster of "Youthanasia" ( "New World Order" is also featured in the Duke Nukem soundtrack from 1999), "Black Swan" was released as a bonus track for those who pre ordered "United Abominations", and "Sudden Death" was originally special written for the game "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" (A game that also includes "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" and "This Day We Fight!", all three songs are incredibly fun and difficult on guitar). Out of these 4 songs I would recommend 2 of them. "Sudden Death" is a fantastic shredding piece that fits perfectly in the game it was written for and the solos are just a blast to listen to (the chorus is pretty wimpy though) and "Black Swan" is a great song with fine musicality and sweet catchiness.

The new songs holds a great variety when it comes to pure quality. Some songs does succeed in standing its ground and delivers a pretty good mix of thrash beats and more commercial melody lines, while others could more or less be described as train wrecks, especially when you look it from a lyrical stand point. The first single, "Public Enemy No. 1", may be a cool catchy tune about Al Capone with a galloping main riff, but I just face palm when I hear Dave trying to find as many words as possible that rimes with one, and why is the band bragging so much in "Guns, Drugs, & Money"? Just why? Then we have the out right weak songs, like "Whose Life [Is It Anyways?]" and "Fast Lane" that just makes you want to hit the skip button as soon as they come up.

Fortunately, "Th1rt3en" is not completely filled with awful songs. I really enjoy the aggressive, but still very melodic "Never Dead" that brings one of the coolest solos the band has made in the 21st century, and the ending "13" is a nice way to end the album with its slow and hauntingly beautiful tempo. These songs together with the old material definitely makes up for some of the inconsistencies that this album is displaying, but it is obvious that the band went a little too experimental with "Th1rt3en", even if it at first sounds like a normal modern Megadeth album. I miss the anger, I miss the fury, and most of all, I miss the guitars that only gets the spotlight in like two and a half out of the thirteen songs.

So yeah, "Th1rt3en" is a step back for the band in a lot of points, but the overall image of the album is still pretty decent, just not fantastic. Several songs in here are good and worthy of giving a listen to, but to each good song in this album, there is at least two bad/mediocre songs to accompany it. It might have been because of that Dave Ellefson is back in the band and influenced the song creating process enough to steer it back into the 90's direction, but I really do not care since it would have been difficult for the band to top "Endgame" anyways. "Th1rt3en" will always be a decent album that just happens to have a really stupid name and a cover that doesn't make sense. Not Megadeth's finest work, but far from their worst.

Songs worthy of recognition: Black Swan, Sudden Death, Never Dead

Rating: 6,5/10 Wreckers

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