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The title sounds like a torture device, but this listen is no 'torture'. This is a seriously great headbanging song, and clearly announced to the world that Megadeth were still the best of the big four. That aside, it's not a song that would sit comfortably on Rust in Peace, and it's only one of 3-4 outstanding songs on the Endgame album. The other great song on there is 'This Day We Fight', but that wasn't released as a single. And yes folks, Endgame is not even half as good as Rust in Peace.
There's nothing generic about Rust in Peace and 'Head Crusher' is pretty generic in its style. This doesn't matter, especially as 'generic' can't often be leveled at this band. What this song does have in common with those less generic classics of the past, is that it's just as aggressive. This is partly because of the aggressive generic riffing, with its excellent guitar tones, and it sounds crushing. Some of the plaudits should go to producer, Andy Sneap, who's absolutely nailed the recording and final mix. Also, unlike Killing Is Business, with it's sudden changes and random guitar solos, this is just straight forward thrash. There's nothing flashy about this song, and it doesn't try to pander to different fans. And it doesn't try to emulate Killing Is My Business or Rust in Peace.
Mustaine's vocals on this song are not as strong as the last album. He doesn't have a wide range, so he makes the best use of the low notes. His voice sounds rough when he snarls, but what he has on his side are some really fun, dark lyrics. He sounds like a sadistic madman in this song, and that creates the right knd of atmosphere. Yes, there's enough about this song to make it a part of Megadeth's concert setlist. I'd go as far as to say that it's a modern-day classic. This is a great song and one of the best the album has to offer, along with 'Dialectic Chaos', '1320', and 'The Right to Go Insane'.
If any band is going to revitalize the old-school thrash scene, it’s going to be Megadeth. With their latest song they continue to prove themselves a powerful force. “Headcrusher” is as firmly rooted in the classic style of the eighties as Slayer’s new material is derivative. There isn’t a Big Four anymore – consider Megadeth the top of the pack.
Megadeth, unlike the other three associated bands, did not suffer under the weight of groove, grunge, and mallcore. Their mid-era albums dipped in quality, yes, but for entirely different reasons. They never sold out, and as such they did not need a comeback. Rather, “Headcrusher” is simply a continuation of the early and recent Megadeth albums, albeit with more thrash introduced to the usual heavy metal formula they have employed since Countdown to Extinction.
The potential for a great album is apparent straight out of the gate with the fantastic lead that opens up the song. Somehow it evokes visions of nuclear warfare and imminent disaster, but that probably is a result of the use of the incredible Rust in Peace production. Said production perfectly enhances each and every instrument, while giving the guitars a crystal clear yet still bludgeoning quality perfect for the song at hand. Meanwhile, the drums and bass thunder at blindingly whiplash-inducing speeds. And that’s a quality sorely missing from other old thrash bands’ new material – the speed, unadulterated and unrestrained.
Mustaine’s voice has aged much better than a lot of other vocalists from his era. Those who have never liked his singing won’t be swayed by his performance here, but others who either believe it works with the music or just plain like his style will be impressed. He’s still as potent as he was twenty years ago, likely because he isn’t like Araya and as such doesn’t scream his lungs out.
All of the riffs scream “Rust in Peace” to a degree that an unaware listener might mistake it as a track off that album. The chorus riff is particularly infectious, almost as much as the opening lead, and is made even more so by the lyrics. Speaking of the lyrics, they’re some of the best Megadeth have come up with in a long while, actually entertaining and imaginative while spewing their tale of violence, unlike recent Slayer works that use death and violence in a completely generic and uninteresting way.
It’s still too early to tell if Megadeth can keep this up, what with only one new song available, but if “Headcrusher” is any indication, chances are looking good. Sorry, Metallica and Slayer, but I think I’ll be sticking with Megadeth for the foreseeable future.
Don't let the title of this review deceive you, this is actually a fucking beast of a song. It's just not the type of track that would have fit on “Rust in Peace” and I don't really get why people are thinking that this song is a preview of some “Rust in Peace II.”
There's only one valid criticism of this song (the vocals don't count because this is really Mustaine's BEST vocal performance yet! Even better than UA..). It's generic. Yes, it's fucking generic. The riffs, the drums, the basslines, even the vocal patterns. If I could sum up this song in one word it'd be 'generic.' But seriously, who gives a shit? When was the last time Megadeth wrote a truly generic thrash song? Hell, did they EVER write a generic thrash metal song in their career? No. Megadeth's brand of thrash was always different from their peers, Mustaine had a better sense of groove and melody than most thrash metal guitarists and it shined through in their music. Another thing which defined Megadeth in their thrash heyday was the almost unpredictable nature of their music. The sudden changes, the seemingly random placement of the guitar solos, the strange timing of the vocals (especially in Killing Is My Business). This, ladies and gentlemen, is Megadeth's first and only (so far) generic thrash song and that, my friends, is the reason this song kicks so much ass. Head Crusher does not try to be anything but straight-up thrash fucking metal. It does not try to be overly flashy like Megadeth's last album or try to appeal to different sets of fans like the album before that one. And last but not least, Head Crusher does not try to emulate the 80's Megadeth AT ALL.
I guess comparisons can be made. With KIMB because of the aggression displayed in this song, and SFSGSW (to an extent) because of the nature of the riffs. But like I said before, this track is a different thing altogether. But the generic-ness of this track would have never equaled awesomeness if it weren't for some other factors.
1.) The production. The few bad things about the production on UA have been filtered out and the pro's about it have been made even better. The guitar tone is absolutely crushing, with every chug coming across as a fucking rock being pushed into your ears, in the good way. The drums, while being somewhat slow in the first half of the song, have an incredible punch to them and it isn't any more apparent than it is during the colossal thrash break in the second half of the song. C.R.U.S.H.I.N.G.
2.) The vocals. Mustaine once again makes excellent use of his not-so-wide vocal range, going into the lowest range he possibly can. His voice starts to croak a bit as he snarls out the most awesome lyrics he has written in over 20 years and the only word that can possibly describe the effect it has is 'sadistic.' Mustaine sounds like a mad tyrant here, topping his vocal performance on UA and beats “Sleepwalker” to a pulp. The vocals are made even more better by the lyrics, which as I just said, are perhaps one of the best lyrics to feature in a Megadeth song. If only Mustaine did vocals like these on Black Friday (not saying that the vox on Black Friday sucked, but god-damn...)
3.) The artwork. Enough said.
4.) Like some other people have stated, this song is perfect for a live atmosphere. Everything from the infectious chorus to the mosh inducing thrash break, this song has the potential to be a Megadeth classic and one of their best live songs.
DEATH BY THE HEADCRUSHER!!!
The only thing this song has going for it is that it's a fast song, which isn't saying much because really, most thrash metal songs are fast.
I suppose I'll start with the riffs. Very unextraordinary. Really, any thrash metal guitarist with the slightest bit of talent could write this song. There is absolutely nothing inspiring about it. Straightforward, simplistic, unoriginal. It seems like Dave just thinks if he plays fast, he doesn't have to put any thought into the actual music (which is something that has plagued his songwriting ever since he claimed a return to thrash metal). Most of the song is just Dave tremolo picking the E string and some power chords thrown in. That's it, seriously. It's like he's not even trying.
Another person who isn't trying is Drover, the drumming on this song is just completely stale and boring. Same thing over and over again. No complexity, very few fills, just playing along with the song not trying to stand out. The bass is no better, basically just playing along with the song, staying in the background adding absolutely nothing to the music.
Each instrument should add something to any piece of music, and unfortunately, yet again, Megadeth is a one man show, Dave Mustaine, and he doesn't want anyone taking the focus off of him and his singing. This is just a really bad song. Boring and unoriginal.
First off, this is a pretty good song, but I have a few problems with it.
The way the song starts off doesn't sit well with me at all. It just rushes into this part of the song that feels like it belongs halfway a song. Maybe it'll feel better listening to it as part of the album, as I don't believe the song starts off the album, but as a single the beginning wasn't very good.
The drums seriously lack any kind of creativity, it's just some double bass thoughout the song and it's exactly what you'd expect from a thrash metal band, I suppose. I mean, I guess it's not really a crime that the drums are so tasteless, but still, they could've done something different here.
I do like the promotion and that they released the single for free on their site, though tons of bands do that today I'm not really sure it's really worth noting, or enough to really rise it's score.
I will say that it's better than what most bands put out that have been together for roughly 25 years. It's better than what Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax have put out as of late, to compare it to the other "Big 4" of thrash metal. It's a good song, but pretty average. Don't come in expecting the greatest thing ever, and if this is setting the tone for the album, then I'll most likely be interested in getting my hands on it.
I was very excited to hear that Roadrunner was going to release a good quality version of this song, and to make things better it was free! Honestly who can turn down free metal? I recall them doing the same thing back in 2007 for the song, Washington is Next!, but unlike the previous, they released this to iTunes so you could actually save it to your mp3 player instead of having to be on a computer.
Now on to the song itself. Lyrically, it is probably one of the more brutal songs Megadeth has done. The title, Head Crusher, just about leaves nothing to the imagination. Just check out the artwork they have for it, pretty much says it all. It's not Black Friday's killing spree brutality, but the image that gets conjured into your head of a skull being squished until your brains pour our your ears, damn. I'm not doctor, but I would wager that's got to fucking hurt!
Now on to the reason we all love Megadeth, the music! This song starts out with a blast of classic Mustaine lead work, and from there we got some nice fast riff work. Not the technical type from songs such as Poison was the Cure, but more primitive open E chug thrash approach with power chords in between. The riff itself actually sounds a bit like Trapped Under Ice from Dave's old band. After two verses and choruses comes a nice breakdown followed by a pretty good mosh part. The outro solo by Chris Broderick I would guess, though not as memorable as the intro solo, is still good, and has some smoking rhythm work behind it. The drums maintain a very aggressive feel throughout, which is very important as the shitty drums just about killed Kick the Chair from The System Has Failed. James LoMenzo keeps it tight on the low end, but as a die hard old fan, I would just love to have Dave Ellefson back, for nostalgia.
This is a good way to start out the new album, and the free download is some nice promotion for once by Roadrunner, hopefully they don't screw this up again by changing the first single. Nobody want's to hear Megadeth do a duet, like last time. Expectations are high for Endgame, I much doubt Megadeth will disappoint. And this is FREE right now, so what have you got to loose?