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Decent rock album, yes. But not good for Megadeth - 65%

BlackMetal213, July 27th, 2016

After the fairly big success of Megadeth's 1997 album "Cryptic Writings", Dave and Co. decided to continue down the route of mainstream heavy metal and rock music. Unlike "Cryptic Writings", however, "Risk" is not a metal album. Really, there's hardly any metal here at all. Save maybe for a few riffs. "Risk" is definitely a decent album and at times pretty darn good. But is it a good album by Megadeth? No, not really. This album would have totally been fine if it had been released by Dave Mustaine as a solo album or something but really, it should not have been released under the Megadeth name.

This album just sounds...weird at times. "Insomnia" is one of the album's singles and right off the bat, something feels a little off. There are some catchy riffs and a violin which is something Megadeth had never incorporated into a song before. Some of these cool ideas exist throughout the album but they really are few and far between. "Insomnia" really is one of the more boring songs, but is definitely better than the horrible disco abomination that is "Crush 'Em", which was another of the album's three singles. So, what was the other single? One of the album's strongest tracks, actually, titled "Breadline". This song has a bit of a classic rock vibe and maybe something along the lines of ZZ Top. This song has some really catchy riffs that, while poppy, really work well. The solo is probably one of the album's best (let's face it, this album only has like two or three really good solos) although it's fairly simple, to no surprise. Another pretty cool song with some awesome riffs is "The Doctor is Calling". "Prince of Darkness" also shows a bit of a doom influence but this song sounds far more boring in my opinion, which is one of the album's main flaws. It's a fairly decent song but drags far too long. There is almost an atmosphere of grunge, doom metal, and classic/glam rock molded all together into one. "Wanderlust" is also one of the album's best songs and showcases a western bluegrass/country rock hybrid sound. Yes, you heard that right. This song's chorus, solo, and that section in the middle of the song is sick! The album's closing tracks are the real gems, though. "Time I" is a somber piece of acoustic music that definitely retains a grunge influence but doesn't sound weak or cheesy. This is followed by "Time II", obviously the second part. Out of all the songs on this album, it may be the hardest. There is even what sort of resembles a speed metal riff at the beginning of the song. This is the ONLY moment that even slightly hints at Megadeth's classic sound. The solo in this song is also really, really cool.

So yes, the guitars have some moments and I'd say 5 of the 12 songs are really worth listening to all the way through. Although most songs do contain some cool ideas spread sporadically around. Unfortunately with only a few riffs sounding like something Megadeth actually would have written, and some songs like "Seven" and "Crush 'Em" sounding downright silly, this is definitely the worst album by Megadeth before the abomination and the far inferior "Super Collider", which I already reviewed. Dave's vocals here sound a bit lackluster and sometimes he just sounds weird. Like when he growls in "Prince of Darkness". This isn't even a growl that would sound cool in death metal or something. Instead, it just sounds like he's trying to be...mean? I don't know, but it's weird. I'm glad Megadeth decided to play metal again after this album for awhile because the entire band, save for Marty Freidman who wanted to further his venture into alternative music by leaving Megadeth to play J-pop, realized this album was a misstep. Well, I know Dave Mustaine realized this. I'm sure most of the other members of Megadeth thought the same.

In conclusion, this is a pretty decent album for the rock/alternative genre and has it's share of killer songs but should not have worn the Megadeth logo. This 1999 album will always remain infamous as Megadeth's most experimental album but to me, it's not their worst. It's just their second worst!