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This is Megadeth's 3rd straight comeback album (in a way), and man does it own and harks back to the early days in a way most old thrash bands haven't been able to do for a long time. This albums combines the dizzying sound of the early 4 records with the melodies and catchiness of Youthanasia and (to a lesser extent) Countdown To Extinction, pretty much just like TSHF and TWNAH did but with more emphasis on the thrashing than those two.
The presented lineup here was kickass, as Glen Drover brought a unique style to the band, and had an awesome tone to make his solos pwn our ears in a way like we've never been pwned before, and perfectly compliments Mustaine's crazy pentatonic-tapping shred style. The lead sections are monumental, especially with the classic dueling guitars and harmonic parts, and they are fucking memorable as all hell. Shawn Drover does some great drumming in here too, worthy of being on a Megadeth album. James Lomenzo is a little less audible but still can be heard, but he doesn't seem to make as much of an presence as a current F5 bassist used to, which makes me wish for his return (never gonna happen).
Mustaine has really went on crafting his rhythm playing as most of the riffs on here own everything and anything as only Megadeth riffs can. lyrically this is definatley their most politically charged album, and contain some of the best lyrics he's written since Rust In Peace. They somewhat play off as if this were a concept album, discussing how America and the U.N. would bring about the apocalypse through carelessness and some poor decision making. It seems to have somewhat of a Revelations-Christian vibe, since Dave is now spiritual but they don't really seem to be subliminal in that direction to affect the music negatively.
The songs, Highlights: The first 4 tracks are some of the best tracks under Dave's belt. Each has a great chorus and amazing solo sections. "Sleepwalker" is just a nice dizzying masterpiece, and a solo section that feels like an earthquake to introduce us to Drover's chaotic style. "Washington is Next" does sound a bit like "Wasted Years" , but better and the duel harmonies of the intro and solo pwn all in it's path. "Never Walk Alone" uses the Tornado/Vortex riff but hey it still great and a cool harmonic soft part is definatley pleasing to the ear as well as the catchy chorus. The tilte track is one of the best songs they've ever written, simplistic but bludgeoning, with another amazing singalong chorus and there is a great duel solo towards the end. Other highlights are the groovy "Blessed Are the Dead" and "Play For Blood", the ending of "You're Dead" , and the weird groove of "Burnt Ice" all are great.
The weak parts, well, everyone slams the remake of "A Tout Le Monde", and I think it's quite inferior to the album and original, plus Drover's solo will never match up to the almighty Friedman's. It's not horrible though. "Gears of War", man talk about a botch up. It's not a bad song, but the sound effects and way Mustaine sings isn't the way I originally heard it. There is a youtube vid of them in 2006 at Six Flags and Mustaine sings this at a lower tone plus everything (mainly the drumming) is much more simplistic and it was extremely effective."Amerikhastan" starts off a bit silly, but is rather an effective catchy song.
Overall it's a must own for metal and Megadeth fans alike. This pretty much owns most metal and rock today, and the fact that Dave has been doing this for 2 decades is a testament to his greatness. Their new album is arriving very soon and this is a reminder that only good should be coming out of Dave and the boys the way it was meant to be.