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So it's WAR! - 90%

doomknocker, September 22nd, 2010

Ah, Megadeth…one of metal’s favorite whipping boys. With the specter of Metallica looming over ever since their formation, it seemed as though poor Mr. Mustaine and company just couldn’t do anything right as the years passed and his former band shot into the stratosphere like so many Jennifer Hudsons to come, and just as unnecessarily. And before I continue, I must admit to having quite the pro-Megadeth slant on my end, though with a discerning, open mind; after all, it was they who got me into heavy metal in the first place, perverting my ears with their twisted, neo-classical, “my fingers are faster than your fingers” brand of music that, essentially, didn’t exist until they came around. However, I still take to their material with a discerning, open mind, knowing that their track history is less than perfect (can’t say the likes of “Countdown to Extinction” and “Risk” were complete, solid works that should have the ‘Deth brand upon them), and I’ve been able to take in their born again, post-“The World Needs a Hero” ascension with as open ears as possible, loving every second of it.

Which brings us to their latest, “Endgame”…

The way things stand, it seems Megadeth have been on one hell of an upwards journey since Dave got hurt, fixed his arm, went to rehab and came back even more pissed off than before. “The System Has Failed” was a multi-track boots to the nuts, and “United Abominations” was a subtle, grassroots movement meant to dethrone the evil’s prince’s iron fists…but we’d hadn’t heard ANYTHING yet. “Endgame”, in my absolutely humble opinion, has to be one of Megadeth’s strongest works to date, where that fine combination of United’s thickness and melody with System’s unabashed fury shoves you face-first into the realm of conspiracy theories and anti-government rhetoric that’s as anarchistic as they come. This works more naturally and rage-inducing with these guys versus the “they took mah rahts!” ramblings of, say, Jon Schaffer during his Sons of Liberty period, which makes this listen all the more awe-striking. This is some truly ambitious, venomous material, as at this point in his life Dave seems to have nothing to prove, doesn’t care who he angers anymore, and lets his guitar and patented snarl do all the talking…and talk they do. As before, the riffs are spot-on and monstrous, the leads and solos are blindingly tasteful, the drum work tight and chaotic, the vocals as spiteful and raging as before, and the overall musical approach throw more ideas at you in single songs than others of their ilk can in complete albums. It’s refreshing to know that, even after all these years, Megadeth still have plenty to say and aren’t relegated to grasping at straws subject-matter-wise (though I think a few may still be turned off by the consistent politico-leaning), and even those that divert from the usual lyrical protocols fit the scheme of things just as well. It’s all wondrous on the speedier tracks of “This Day We Fight!”, “1,320” and “Head Crusher”, especially in the way they augment the slower and more melodious likes of “44 Minutes”, “The Hardest Part of Letting Go…Sealed with a Kiss”, and “Bodies” (NOT that Drowning Pool song, thank God…), going hand in hand to shatter those oh-so-evil preconceived notions of what metal is supposed to be post-millennium. As I may have said before, leave it to the veterans to kick these dumb kids right onto their asses.

In the end, Megadeth once again kick ass and takes names the way only they can do. In a time when we need good, real, face-melting metal, “Endgame” truly is the cold, refreshing oasis in a creative wasteland. Consider this a call to arms.