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Megadeth, aka Dave Mustaine, has always had a huge ego and carried big grudges against several bands, most notably his old band Metallica. It seems that the one thing that can fire Dave up to put out an ass kicking metal album is Metallica putting out a “good” album. With Death Magnetic getting tons of praise you knew that Dave would put every effort into bettering them, and with Endgame he pretty much did that.
Opening with an instrumental you get the feeling that Dave is ready to show off on this one and he puts on a clinic at several points on this album. While the album has some tracks that are more typical of later era Megadeth, mid paced tunes with a decent groove and crunching riffs, the highlights are the raging thrashers. When This Day We Fight kicks in you know Dave isn’t fucking around. Supposedly based on viewing the Return of The King movie, this song is about fighting and dying and the music fits perfectly. Great solos by Dave and Broderick fit right in with the fast thrash riffage and his signature vocal delivery.
Megadeth works best when there are solos left and right, and this album is filled with that. No point in waiting for the typical solo section near the end of the song when you can rip those fuckers off at every point possible. 1320 is another fine example opening up with a total Megadeth riff, fast and melodic yet heavy as hell. With lyrics about drag racing the music better keep up and it does. As the song closes out Dave and Chris go on a solo rampage that defies you to not head bang.
Head Crusher is the first single and a hell of a choice for that I think. Opening with screaming solos before settling into the main groove this is just what the title says, a head crusher. Fast guitars, fast drums, and a simple but effective chorus. Death from the head crusher indeed. This song convinced me to buy my first 'deth album since Countdown to Extinction and I'm glad I did.
It’s not all good though, songs like 44 Minutes drag and with the lyrics not flowing very well the song feels a bit disjointed at times. There is a lot of mid paced material here, which Dave does well for the most part, but after the fast thrash of early mentioned songs they can feel like energy sappers at times. But at no point is this album anything less than total metal. No hard rock here, nothing but Dave looking to crush all opposition.
The production is pretty good, not totally compressed to hell and the bass is right there in the mix where you can hear it but it doesn’t dominate and the drums have some punch just like they should. Perfect no, but compared to the shit hyper compressed production so many albums get today I’ll take it.
Lyrically the album isn’t a big departure from early albums, songs about violence, war, the government, shoot outs, etc. It’s good though, and fits the feel of the songs and his unique voice very well for the most part. The title track seems to have been lyrically influenced by the Endgame documentary by Alex Jones, a noted conspiracy theorist.
Is this album going to reinvent thrash metal or take Megadeth to new heights? No. But it is a rock solid album from the king of thrash riffage that will surely delight long time fans and anyone who enjoys good metal.
This Day We Fight, 1320, Head Crusher, How The Story Ends, Bite The Hand