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The new Megadeth. Will it live up to the expectations? Will it surprise the hell out of me? - A lot of questions turned up when I heard about "United Abominations".
I heard the "Gears of War" single a few months ago and thought it was acceptable, if quite unspectacular and generic. It was far away from thrash metal and I was already expecting another mediocre 'Deth album with a few good songs and a bunch of fillers. So I set my expectations rather low and downloaded this album to be sure it wouldn't be a bad bargain when I bought it.
Luckily, my expectations were surpassed.
Some vintage Thrash influence managed to creep back into Megadeth, more so than on this album's predecessor. Now, don't expect another "Rust in Peace" but a few moments of former glory finally got back into the sound. Some riffs do bear a strong resemblance to pre-1992 Megadeth, coming after you with an almost renewed intensity. Best examples of this are probably "Sleepwalker", "Never Walk Alone" and the second half of "Burnt Ice". The overall riffing could be comparable to a mix of a slight touch of "Rust in Peace"- era thrash riffage + "Countdown to Extinction" heavy metal.
Oh, and these solo sections! Definitely the most surprising highlight on this album. Some of Deth's better solos appear here, and again, the best ones can be found in the thrashier songs. They are usually accompanied by a strong thrash riff and therefore command you to bang your head as hard as physically possible.
Another plus is the improvement in Dave's voice. His old snarl does still appear here and there but his vocals as a whole improved a great lot (they are actually in tune now) and he certainly gained some strength in his voice.
The obligatory odd song on this album is the re-recorded version of "A Tout Le Monde". It was sped up considerably and features guest vocals by the Lacuna Coil singer Christina Scabbia. To be honest, her participation is simply useless. She sings/whispers a few lines on it and her voice was digitally distorted in most parts, which sounds completely ridiculous. The added solo sounds damn good though, but it is too short (longer solos wouldn't be acceptable for the crowd the song is clearly aimed at). The song isn't as bad as people say it is, but well, it still kind of sucks.
Other than this dud, there is no crappy song to be found here, which is a major improvement over the last couple of 'Deth albums.
Highlights are the aforementioned "Sleepwalker", "Washington is Next", "Never Walk Alone" and "Burnt Ice". If you enjoy any Megadeth album after "Rust in Peace", I'm sure you'll enjoy this.
Just one more thing Dave, drop the spoken-word passages. They are simply annoying and unnecessary; you surely got your point across.