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This is one of those songs that caters to a specific instrument to sort of show off that musician's ability. In this case, we have Mustaine and Broderick tearing our faces off in one of the most shred-packed songs I've ever had the pleasure of encountering in my life.
Firstly, let me address two interesting points of this song.
A) It was composed for Guitar Hero, which kind of diminishes it because it will always be associated with a video game. I'm going to ignore this fact because at the end of the day, music is music. Besides, I didn't even know anything about this Guitar Hero business. I got "Th1rt3en" when it came out, popped this into my player, and was pleasurably greeted by this face-melter.
B) It's the band's first release since the return of Dave Ellefson, the original bassist and a founding member of Megadeth. I didn't buy any of the records without him because I couldn't consider them Megadeth, so this is refreshing. Megadeth is back!
Now, shall we?
Anyone who listens to metal can tell you, it's a complex art. A single element can't make a song shine; the whole band has to be on point. In "Sudden Death," while the main focus of the song is obviously the lead guitar, the rhythm section is driving hard, giving the song a great headbangable feel, although the rhythm guitar's chromatic scale riff can get a bit repetitive. The song structure is pretty simple; Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Instrumental, Verse, Solo, Chorus. Basically, they took a relatively simple structure and ornamented it with tons of shining lead guitar. Now, being a Dream Theater guy myself, I love artsy, progressive, complicated metal; but there's also a place in the universe for this kind of metal, too. Simple, straight to the point, rock solid, fast, blazing hot, metal.
As for the lead guitar, there's nothing much more descriptive I can say than "WOW." Broderick employs just about every technique of shredding known to man. He's sweeping, tapping, and flying all over the place, just breezing up and down octaves like it's nothing. And I'm not talking about cheap Slayer shredding, just fast randomized alternate picking; he plays guitar like a pianist, with a strong emphasis on arpeggios and the structure of the chords over which he's soloing (this is because he's trained as a classical guitarist). Not only does he burn through mind boggling amounts of notes per second, but he makes his solo rise and fall beautifully with the song. And if you're one of those who's all about "style," he's got you covered. He bejewels his soloing with pick slides, plenty of bends, you name it; we're not just talking fast notes, here. I don't know which guitarist did each individual lead (both Mustaine and Broderick are credited with lead guitar, and there are tons of leads; however, I do know Broderick did the main solo), but the two-measure leads sprinkled into the verses and such do a great job interacting with the music around them. They don't conflict with the singing, as can happen when the back-and-forth guitar/vocal structure is used. Overall, this is one of the best shredding songs ever.
The production was obviously weighted towards the guitars. My only complaint with this song is that it lacked some on the low end; the drums and bass seemed a little left out. The moments when the lead guitar isn't going at it are a bit dull but driving nonetheless, and if at any point there's no lead, you don't have to wait long for it.
Overall, this song was meant to be a shredfest and they achieved their goal. As stated, it's not a complicated song, and it doesn't need to be. There's no shame in a straightforward composition; it got the job done above and beyond expectations. If you're looking for complex, artsy prog, you're in the wrong place. If you're into the guitar, especially shredding, then this song is for you.
Megadeth has been making the rounds with a vengeance since 2007. Amongst the many creations that have ensued has been a consistent adherence to the band’s late 80s to early 90s period where thrash metal was sort of stuck between its all fast and furious all the time Bay Area excesses of the mid-80s and the somewhat slower and milder desire for maturity and progression in the 90s. The overall sound could be likened to wounds inflicted upon the genre at the hands of Grunge being cauterized with a crunchy and furious riff set and an utterly unapologetic to the point of self-indulgent return to the fine art of 80s lead guitar shredding.
“Sudden Death” is somewhat of an odd song out in the midst of all this, not so much because it is a divergence from the established formula, but because all the elements in play are exaggerated to the point of becoming overbearing. While this is definitely a thrash song of a somewhat mid-tempo character, this thing is just flooded with over-the-top lead guitar breaks that seem to be channeling “Hanger 18”, but with a bit less cohesiveness and structure. The epic, military like intro gets a bit bogged down in lead guitar showmanship, but eventually a driving edge emerges in a somewhat restrained yet animated riff set that is fairly repetitive.
Dave’s vocals and the non-lead oriented elements of this song are on point, yet they all seem to be playing towards the solo sections, as if they were written after the solos were composed to fill in the gaps. The production is a bit off, having a definite aggressive edge yet coming up a little weak on the needed percussive punch that occurs on a song like this. Essentially the rhythm guitars and the bass are just a little too quiet, and it shows when the solos kick in. In fact, most of the weakness of this song can be chalked up to a slightly off mixing job that hopefully will be addressed on the upcoming album.
In short, this song is definitely gears towards being a climactic opener to what should be another fine album, but it also seems to have been constructed with equal attention towards one-upping Dragonforce on Guitar Hero. While I can’t fault Dave for wanting to sprinkle a little extra sugar on the cereal, this is almost along the lines of sprinkling a tablespoon of it onto a mid-sized bowl of Frosted Flakes. The first couple of bites might be tasty, but after a while it starts to make your teeth hurt. But then again, too much is preferable to too little, something that Metallica should have figured out more than a decade ago.
It's simple, "Sudden Death" has to be the best face-kicking single from Megadeth since "Hangar 18" and "Holy Wars". Yes, I know...it comes from a video game, and the whole purpose of the game itself is to break your fingers into a thousand pieces, but you have to give them credit for a solidly well-balanced track. You get solo after solo in a frantic swirling of riffs along with an apocalyptic vibe going on. The bass is quite audible and helps the gloomy, kinda tragic environment. In addition, the drums have their portion on the rhythm as they tend to give some variation to the song.
Talking about the instruments made me realize that there's actually solid work in this aspect. While there's a lot of soloing going on (let's face it, the whole song is about it), you can hear the other members of the band pretty neat and crisply. It is as good as you can get. It seems the lesson was learned and now the guys from Megadeth are giving a huge importance to the production and mixing on the records.
But what's a good single without a good portion of thoughtful, meaningful lyrics, along with a mean razor-like voice, right? You get to see a more mature songwriting here, another lesson learned and practiced in "Endgame". I love political and social lyrics, but this kind of writing chills my nerves, and it's damn refreshing to see a Megadeth track talking about other things than internal demons, past conflicts, conspiracy theories, etc. As well, the voice sounds pretty sharp, more in a vibe of "Peace Sells.." era, angrier and direct to the skull.
The only flaw I could find in the track is the kinda monotonous riff from the second guitar all along. Well, I think there's a better way to make shine the marvelous soloing through the piece. Either way, it gets sort of boring hearing the same chords again and again and again.
If you're a hardcore fan of Megadeth like me, get the single and keep your fingers crossed for something like this on the next album coming up. If you're not a core fan, get it anyway. It's a hell of a track, damn it!
Endgame was a successful album for Megadeth, and the best thing they have done since the mid 90s. This makes this song even more disappointing. The worst thing about this song is the repetitive rhythm guitar. It plays the same dull, simplistic half-thrash riff throughout 90% of the song. The guitar leads are all over the place but lack the intensity the band possessed with Rust in Peace; even Endgame was a better example of intensity. They aren’t bad, just Megadeth are capable of so much better. Dave’s vocals are in similar fashion to how they have been lately with his nasally singing voice but lack the aggression and passion he displayed on Endgame.
So all of this makes for a very boring heavy metal/hard rock song. This is just a song written for a videogame and probably towards an audience that is not very acquainted with heavy metal. It’s a shame Megadeth took a step back after the promising Endgame. Let’s hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Well well well! What do we have here? Suddenly, Megadeth decided to create a new song for Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock huh? We all know that Endgame was a very successfull album, and that it was considered Rust In Peace 2. This song could've actually been on Endgame! In fact, I added it as track 12 to my Endgame album just to get the feeling that it was an Endgame track. At least I can tell you all one thing. If this song had been on Endgame, it would've been the best damn song on there!
I didn't think Mustaine would be able to write such great songs anymore. However, it seems I was VERY wrong. This song is a guitar-attacking song indeed! I guess Mustaine knew what he was doing when he was gonna write this for the new Guitar Hero game.
The song starts off with a really cool intro that is kind of unusual for Megadeth songs. The intro lasts for a while, as solos keep coming and coming. After this is over, the verse kicks in with it's "strumming the sixth string!!!" riff. Mustaine starts singing, as more solos kick in every second. This madness goes on until the chorus arrives, which you can hear is a lot more modern Megadeth-ish. The chorus is ended with Dave yelling, "Your sudden death from above" as a little solo goes on in the back. Then we're back to another verse of pure guitar pain, immediately followed by a nice solo. Damn this song has many solos!
The rest of the song is actually a LONG solo, which has to be the best solo I've heard this year. And that's pretty much it. This song is awesome! What more can I say? I would go as far as to say that it is one of the best songs Megadeth has ever made. So if you thought Deth was dead, then you'd better watch out, for your sudden deth from above may come before you know it!