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Mustaine should just write a novel - 66%

Empyreal, June 2nd, 2007

I'm kind of in the middle of the road on this one. It's clearly not an offensive album at all, nor is it Megadeth's best yet or any semblance of a thrash album (although I could care less if they made the second coming of Rust in Peace). None of the songs are outwardly terrible (perhaps save for the pitiful remake of "A Tout Le Monde"), and overall this album is fairly solid. I think that's the main problem with it though---this album doesn't really do much of anything, or try to go anywhere. It just starts somewhere and ends in the very same place, like a hamster in a spinning wheel. United Abominations is a passable, but thoroughly uncreative and uninteresting piece of work. Mustaine just isn't challenging himself like he used to, he's taking the easy way out and making 'easy listening' metal that virtually anyone can enjoy, blandly faceless and pedestrian. I suspect this is to prove that he can still do metal, but I'd rather him make another rock album like Youthanasia than hear this one.

The other problem here is Mustaine's insane drive to include his political messages into his music. The music is practically a second-class citizen here, what with Mustaine's drawn out spoken word passages dominating songs like the title track and especially "Amerikhastan." There's really no need for that, since I know I don't listen to thrash metal to hear a political commentary, and I'm pretty sure most others don't, either. It would be fine if he worded these into a more lyrical form as he used to, but for some reason he's content with smothering the riffs with those obnoxious spoken word passages. Mustaine's singing has degraded here, too. It's more like talking than actual singing, a lot of the time, and it just doesn't flow well with the music. It doesn't help that the lyrics aren't really written with many catchy hooks most of the time (there are exceptions, like how the chorus of "Blessed are the Dead" never gets out of my head), like essays. If Mustaine has so much to say, he could just include it in the damn liner notes of the booklet, or better yet, write his own novel. Then we could enjoy some of the songs here that were butchered by his monologues.

The songs without spoken word passages are fine musically, such as "Gears of War", "Blessed are the Dead", "You're Dead" and "Burnt Ice", and the two opening tracks are very nice as well with some decent riffs and shredding solos. But not one ounce of emotion is invoked here, not in the least. It's passable and well played heavy metal, but it's just not very energized. Mustaine has always wanted to best Metallica, and perhaps he has done that musically, but at least Metallica invokes aggrivation or anger in their listeners these days, actual emotions, which is still more than can be said for Megadeth. For Megadeth fanboys, this is the shit, and you'll probably enjoy it more than I did. This isn't bad, and maybe I'll even play it sometimes, but Mustaine can do better. Recommended only to the Megadeth diehards.