Before I review the actual album, I will be honest. I have not bought a new Megadeth album since the early 1990’s, when I bought Countdown To Extinction. I loved that album (still do) but for whatever reason new Megadeth was never on my radar again until now. This new album seemed like the one that would get me back in the fold. There seemed to be a buzz about it, and there were rumours about a reunion of the Rust In Peace lineup. That never happened, but by then I was on board.
Also, before the review, some information about the album packaging. I bought the Deluxe Edition. This comes with the cd and virtual reality goggles in a special package. I spent a little extra for this version. I kind of figured it might be a little gimmicky but tried it out. WOW. DOUBLE WOW. This thing is awesome. After you download an app to your Apple or Android phone you fit it in the goggles and enjoy. There is an interview segment that the band answers pre-selected questions from fans, and a 5 song mini concert. Everything was in 360 degrees, so you could turn around, see the cameramen, watch the drummer, guitarists, bassist etc. It is the closest thing you will ever get to actually being on stage during a Megadeth concert. It is absolutely wicked, and brilliant. There is also a cd only, vinyl, Japanese cd version, and a Best Buy exclusive deluxe version only available in USA with extra songs, but I wanted the album right away, and with the low value of our dollar, I bought the best version we have up here. Now on to the review.
The Threat Is Real – Sacred chants and bongos begin this song off until what we have all been waiting for kicks in. Wailing guitars. When Dave Mustaine sings we instantly know what band this is without even looking at the cover. His voice is unique. I love it, but I can see how it would be like nails on a chalkboard to some. The song has a great beat, with pounding drums, and screaming guitars. Great song to start the album off.
Dystopia – Starting off more like melodic rock than metal. The new guitarist, Kiko Loureiro (from Angra) shows us why he was welcomed into the band with open arms. He is awesome, that’s why. New drummer Chris Adler (Lamb of God) is no slouch either, and he pounds away with welcome abandon.
Fatal Illusion – Fuzzy, distorted, almost out of tune guitar starts this one off in a haze. Then the drums pound you into submission, while the guitar shrieks and moans. The bass kicks in for around 10 seconds of chunky, funky goodness. Warning: if listening to this song for the first time in your car, the high pitched warning beepers are not from behind your dash, it is from the song. Aggressive, super fast drum rolls and high pitched guitar squeals end this one off on a high note.
Death From Within – This song starts a little mellow but after about 30 seconds I begin to smile. It sounds a lot like Sweating Bullets, which is one of my favourite Megadeth tracks. Moving forward by looking back is often a good thing for a metal band. The back and forth vocals between Mustaine and the rest of the band is a nice touch.
Bullet To The Brain – Army marching band style drumming start this one off. Unfortunately no parade I have ever seen included sweet, metal driving guitars though. Dave’s voice is much mellower here. He sings it lower and slower to begin with, but eventually his inner screamer needs to be set free. The dilemna will be what to do with your hands. Going from punching the air chanting “No, No, No”, then air drumming, and air guitar. My hands got a work out from that one. I can see this being an awesome chant for the audience to sing along.
Post American World – This song sounds a little like Symphony of Destruction, which is awesome in my book. The sound is awesome. One of the best, if not the best on the album. I have a little bit of a nitpick with the lyrics and title. The album cover artwork (which is brilliantly done by Brent Elliot) shows a post-apocalyptic world. “This planet’s become one spinning disaster”…..and ….”Why cower to all those that oppose the American world.” C’mon Dave. You know the world is not America right. No matter how much you may think that it revolves around your country, it actually revolves around the sun. Another point about the placement of the song title on the cd jewel case. There are little nibs (dimples, tits). Not sure what to call them left by the injection molding equipment used to make the jewel case that block some of the lettering in this song. In 2016, I do not know why this is acceptable. Some of my cd cases have them and some do not. This was the first time I have noticed them, and now they kind of bug me.
Poisonous Shadows – Some soothing acoustic guitar to cleanse the palette, then a single drum pound. Shredding and more pounding ensue. The song has a similar beat to Sober. Even non Tool fans have to admit that was a great song, with a driving beat. Dave sings this is a more subdued tone, he almost has an Alice Cooper like quality here. The mix of angelic, growling background singers add a nice touch. The rolling drums and wailing guitars bring this one over the top.
Conquer Or Die! – More acoustic guitars, this time with a bit of flamenco finger picking. I loves me some finger picking I say. The drums and guitar take over this song, and they do such a fine job of it Dave doesn’t even feel like spoiling it, so no need for lyrics. There is a monstrous, robotic voice over at the end in case drums and guitar are not enough for you, and the only thing added for extra oomph is the odd church bell chiming in.
Lying In State – Full on thrash metal song here harkens back the ’80’s heydays. Dave tells us to forget his new found softer vocals. He’s going all out here. A little more of the Symphony of Destruction snarls mixed with new guitar riffs make this a near perfect blend of yesterday and today.
The Emperor – This song sounds like the most modern sounding Megadeth song ever. More like fast, hard driving rock than metal. It sounds to me like something Dave Grohl had input in. Foo Fighters meets Megadeth. The awesomeness (and egos) would be too much for any building to contain to ever allow this to happen though.
Foreign Policy – Squealing guitar starts off. Then more fast beats. It almost has a punk feel to it. No wonder. It is a punk song. In fact it is a cover of a Fear song. Fast, screaming, repeating the same lines over and over. Beating you over the head until you either get it, or get lost.
A really great all around album. Who knew Dave could focus his inner hard rocker or punk self. The elements of earlier albums are mixed with modern touches to make a Megadeth album to be proud of. Obviously it is my favourite since Countdown To Extinction, but I have read many other huge Megadeth fans say the same thing, so it may be true. I may even go out on a limb and say it is even better. Does anyone know a good flak jacket manufacturer?
As for the packaging and special added features this edition gets a 10/10.
As for the album itself, a solid 9.8/10