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Let's get something straight here. I haven't enjoyed Megadeth's last three albums (and I don't own 'The World Needs A Hero'). Which is funny because I would normally consider myself a pretty big fan of the band, but the last three albums have been such over hyped ear disease that I literally gave up all hope, especially after seeing how terrible they are live these days (2011 Big Four show in UK).
'Public Enemy No. 1' is a breath of fresh air. It combines the styles of both 'Countdown to Exctinction' ('Skin O My Teeth', 'High Speed Dirt') and 'Cryptic Writings' ('She Wolf', 'The Disintegrators'), only the solos still aren't quite the same, and Dave's voice isn't as great. On the last two albums, Mustaine has gotten by just croaking horribly instead of actually trying a vocal melody, and I have hated him for it. Thankfully, with 'Public...' he finally sings a proper tune, albeit in a lower octave than I'd like. But it's a step forward. He sounds insanely weak live, but this studio performance is absolutely fine!
Unfortunately, part of the enjoyment of the song rides on the fact that the verses are quite similar to the intro of 'Hangar 18', the verses of 'Tears In A Vial'. That's the reason some of their newest stuff sounds like old Megadeth. Not because he's actually writing something good, but because he's ripping off his own riffs all the time. But I can't complain, because for once he's quite successful doing it on 'Public Enemy No. 1'. The only other small complaint is the obvious attempt at trying to copy Marty Friedman's soloing style in the middle solo, albeit in a rather tame fashion. But it's better than Broderick and Mustaine's usual faceless guitar wankery.
'Sudden Death' was a bit too generic thrash for me, a little bit too similar to things off 'Endgame'. But this track is making me look forward to the stupidly titled 'TH1RT3EN'. My only worry now is the track list. It includes two songs, 'Millennium of the Blind' and 'New World Order', which were the titles of slightly pedestrian demo tracks from Megadeth's last truly brilliant album 'Youthanasia', so I'm guessing Mustaine has committed the sin of being a total cheap ass and rerecorded them, no doubt to get people to rave about the 'old sound' being back. Yes. 17 years ago, Megadeth sounded like Megadeth did... 17 years ago. Why put effort in to writing something truly exciting when you can just rerecord your old music and pass it off as new? Anyway. All things considered, 'Public Enemy No. 1' is a great little track, and in my eyes a sign that Megadeth can do some good in the music world once again.