Saturday, January 23, 2016

Megadeth - Dystopia (2016)

After listening to their entire discography, I have learned a few things about the thrash metal legends Megadeth. One is that Dave Mustaine musically is a very complicated man. Not that he writes 10+ minute epics or so, but he has a nasty habit of making complete u-turns when it comes to the style and sound from album to album, especially in his later years. Even if "Th1rt3en" was far from an awful record, how could anyone expect that the next step from that was "Super Collider"? I know that I did not want to believe how bad that album was, but I could not hide away from the ugly truth. And now, three years later, he has made an even bigger change for this, the band's 15th studio album. Fortunately for us, it is for the better.

The most obvious change is in the personnel. Gone are Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick, and in comes the Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro to bring some power into the band. I really wondered if Kiko was the right choice since he comes from a different type of genre, but it turns out that he did a fantastic job on the record, and it also seems like he has made a great connection with Dave, which is crucial if you want to stay. What about the drums? For "Dystopia", the Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler was hired in to do the work, but for now, Megadeth has no official drummer, and I think it is a shame that Adler is not in the band, because he fits right in the mold, but I also understand that he wants to fully focus on Lamb of God, so I am okay with it.

Back to the album, a very, VERY beautiful album. Seriously, that album cover is the exact opposite to the one on "Super Collider", and here is why. 1. it is not a cheap Photoshop version of an previously existing photo, 2. it looks metal as fuck, and most importantly 3. Vic Rattlehead is on it! This is without a doubt the best cover since "Peace Sells...". Oh what? I need to start talking about the music? Okay, okay, I am on it.

It is a good thing I mentioned "Peace Sells..." before, because that is the exact album I thought of while listening to "Dystopia". This album is more of the classic Megadeth, which is more or less what the fans always want. Now, I do not think Dave made this album for the fans, because it still has some of the more modern Megadeth in it, but something has hit the thrash nerve in Dave, and I bet it was Kiko.

Just take "Fatal Illusion" for example. It is textbook "Peace Sells..." material right there, starting off carefully, luring the listener in with its heavy riffs, just to catch him off guard with a tempo change that takes everyone for a frantic ride. This really takes me back to the good old days (well, it would if I was actually born back in those days).

Even if "Dystopia" is filled with old time references, it still feels modern and fresh, like a continuation of "Endgame". Songs like "The Threat Is Real", "The Emperor" and "Death From Within" would fit right in that album. What also glads me is that Dave is pissed, and has let out his social critical opinions again. You may not always agree with the man, but hot damn, he is a lot more fun when he is mad.

In the end though, I feel like "Dystopia" falls a bit short at the end of the album, delivering mixed results that feels like filler material. Still, "Dystopia" is a great thrash piece, and it feels like the member changes has given the band a much needed face lift. It may not hold all the way, but it sure feels good that the band is back on track, doing what they do best, thrashing it away with lots of riffs, solos, and anger. However, knowing how unstable Dave can be, one should not relax and think that they will stay like this forever, it can change anytime, even in the next album. Let us hope that he does not.

Songs worthy of recognition: Fatal Illusion, The Threat Is Real, Death From Within

Rating: 7,5/10 Post American Worlds

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