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Criminally Underated - 75%

SufferingOverdue, April 24th, 2003

This is another album that gets a bad rap in the metal scene because for the most part is so different from anything else the band has done in the past. It's hard to deny that Cryptic Writings is definitely different from Megadeth's previous albums, it's still packed full of some nice songs.

The opener "Trust" seems to owe a fair bit to Metallica's "Enter Sandman", you can pretty much sing the entire "Enter Sandman" lyrics over it and it wont sound out of place at all. Still it's a decent song, a nice catchy, midpaced rocker. Infact most of this album rarely does reach a "breakneck" speed, "The Disintegrators" and "FFF" are both pretty fast offerings, and "She-Wolf" waters down the intro to Metallica's thrash "Disposable Heroes" and puts down a very catchy heavy metal song. There is some experimentation here, "Mastermind" and "Secret Place" (again owing to the Black Album sound), are very fresh sounding and quite cool in places. "Almost Honest" and "I'll Get Even" are pretty much AOR rock songs, whilst they're not particularly bad they're still nothing to get excited over. The album does have weaker points, particularly "Have Cool, Will Travel", the use of the harmonica is a very nice idea but the main riff in it just isn't that inspired. On another plus side, the sampling of the Searchers' 60s hit "Needles And Pins" works well giving the subject of Dave's heroin-warning tune "Use the Man" which plods along nicely with the rest of the album.

All in all this definitely a 90s hard rock album, and it's easy to see why people get a little shocked/turned off by it when they hear it, but to me it's still a decent record of some intelligent and well thought out experimental rock with a few rougher edges. Nice work.