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I will be honest with you from the very beginning. I do not like this album! I do not like it because it’s simply not heavy metal. It has nothing to do with Megadeth since I have always been a fan of them, even when things were not that good e.g. So Far So Good… For most of the times I admired Mustaine’s attitude and his songwriting. I liked the bands performing and I had great confidence in their skills and abilities. When they turned away from thrash metal, I remained faithful and I kept buying their CDs and supporting them when people I knew claimed that they had been sold-out. But this, well this is something else!
Without any sense of dignity, this ex-metal band, delivers a pointless, strengthless, uninspired album that consists of many, too many, commercial, “radio-friendly” compositions, aiming to non-metal listeners. There is a significant absence of nerve, tension and speed. The majority of the songs are so dull and boring that at times I feel like shooting myself in the head! I never thought I’d find jazz and Rn’B traces in an album of the once thrash/speed metal masters of the kind. The unrepeatable thrashy guitar breaks are no more and the multiple riff changes are gone for good. The guitars are plain pop and the rhythm section is extremely weak. I do not who is to blame for this release, the band, Mustaine alone, the record label, but he surely must be shot to death!
What you get in Cryptic Writings is twelve songs divided into three categories. The first one consists of six, yes six, abominations. Almost Honest and Have Cool, Will Travel are two perfect examples. They have no structure, no basic riffs, no energy, no nothing. Totally, utterly, completely horrible, they belong to the gutter. The few breaks that come out of nowhere can’t save them.
The second category that submits into mediocrity is made of two tracks. The opener Trust is kind of okay though miles away from the spirit of ‘Deth. It’s mid-tempo with a decent riff but still… The other one that stands just above the shit-hole is Sin which is merely a filler but maybe you will be able to listen to it from the beginning to the end.
The only reason that keeps me from throwing away the CD are the songs that belong to the first category, that of heavy metal songs. The Disintegrators and She Wolf are the two well-hidden metal diamonds, behind the wall of shit. They are fast, strong and steady, featuring excellent guitar work, hard drums and a metal feeling in them reminding of the good, old days. The remaining two tracks, Vortex and F.F.F. are pretty damn good with once more nice riffing and they stand out quite well.
If this is supposed to be the natural development and evolution from where Youthanasia left off, then I prefer to be called a primitive savage while I’ll be listening to all the great stuff they did in the past.