Dave Mustaine is back with thrash metal legends Megadeth. Dystopia, released last month is their fifteenth studio album. That’s quite impressive! It is the first album since 2004’s The System Has Failed not to feature drummer Shawn Drover and the first since 2007’s United Abominations without guitarist Chris Broderick. Instead Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro filling those roles respectively.
The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart which makes it Megadeth’s second highest charting album since Countdown to Extinction, which peaked at number two back in 1992. It received generally positive reviews from critics, a return to form after the poorly received Super Collider. It was the bands return to a more aggressive style that was commended most and that is reflected in it’s sales.
Let’s start with the musicianship, which as you’d expect is outstanding. I love Chris Adler’s drumming throughout the album, I hope he stays on with the project for more than just one album. Mustaine and Loureiro’s guitar riffs and licks and sensational with quality guitar solos in every song. Overall Megadeth sound like a band re-energised justifying the hefty overall in band members thoroughly. The production is top notch as well. Dystopia’s sound is crisp and clear. Loud, but not overbearing and overall energetic.
If I’d have reviewed this album after my first few listens I wouldn’t have been too kind on it. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood or maybe it’s just a grower? I’ve had it in my car for about two weeks now and I can happily tell you I’ve changed my mind, sort of. I’m quite relieved to be honest, I love Megadeth so the idea of doing a negative review for them didn’t sit well with me.
The main issue I had, is one I actually still have. The opening tracks for this album, specifically ‘The Threat Is Real’ and ‘Dystopia’ are amazing. No doubt these are top tier songs. The problem is that the opening songs are so good, that it takes everything else a while to catch up to their level. As a result the record loses it’s way at the half way point. The songs aren’t bad by any means and they’ve certainly grown on me the more I’ve listened to them but I still can’t help but feel that this is a top heavy album.
To still be producing music of this quality after fifteen albums is mind blowing, yes they’ve had misses in the past but Dystopia despite my criticisms is certainly a hit. Dystopia isn’t going to change the game, but I don’t think Mustaine really set out to do so. Instead we get yet another good album from a band who refuse to rest on their laurels like other bands could be accused of doing.
Verdict: Thumbs Up