Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Riffs or lead(s) gringos! - 65%

Xyrth, November 20th, 2011

I’m not superstitious either, but in this case number thirteen really means BAD LUCK for Dave, the other Dave, and the lads. AND the fans! This album is really disappointing, though I’m not exactly the greatest Megadeth fan out there. I can name several thrash metal bands I vastly prefer to listen to, but I consider Rust in Peace one of the greatest albums ever and an absolute favorite, easily among my top ten metal albums. Besides classic Megadeth albums, I have also fairly enjoyed the band’s 21st Century output, especially their previous album, Endgame, which I found to be interesting and engaging, with varied songs ranging from speedy numbers to moodier and catchy but still heavy tunes. I was hoping for at least a continuation of that quality with TH1RTH3N, maybe even an improvement, as Endgame was good but far from perfect. Instead, MegaDave has produced a really lackluster album, a resounding step back, back to their mid-late 90’s mediocre material.

The main problem here, are the riffs. That’s almost the only thing wrong with this album, but it’s more than enough. At this stage of their career, you can’t (or shouldn’t) expect a band like Megadeth to have production issues or bad musicianship, and of course none of that is found here. However, sub-par riffage and mediocre songwriting are constant threats to any band, novice or veteran alike. And this album features really boring and uninspiring riffs found in most of its thirteen compositions. Moreover, most songs are totally forgettable and just plain boring. There’s not much to hold one’s attention on, though the album starts in a deceiving way with its strongest songs, “Sudden Death” and “Public Enemy No. 1”. Not excellent, legendary stuff, but altogether quite enjoyable and memorable. The first one is a faster, lead-filled tune, that harkens back to their 80’s classic stuff, and the second one is more akin to their heavy/thrash hybrid style of the 90’s, catchy and radio-friendly yet worthy of attention.

And that’s about it folks. The rest of the songs, are totally disposable exercises in amazing (from a technical point of view) soloing and a few catchy vocal lines the ones only MegaDave con utter. Like I hinted before, musicianship here is rock-solid. But there’s not much cohesion keeping it rolling. Those sweet solos and choruses are mixed with insipid rhythms and mediocre song structures. Lyrics are best left unmentioned please. Not even mighty David Ellefson shines here like he should. And is not that the songs sound the same, they don’t, and are rather diverse, from mildly fast thrashers like “Never Dead”, “Fast Lane” and “Wrecker”, to heavy groovy tracks such as “We the People”, “Guns, Drugs & Money” (the mariachi ending was a nice touch though) or “Deadly Nightshade”, to the most obnoxious of the bunch, the ballads “Millennium of the Blind” and “13” itself. Bad luck to us all.

Truth be told, there’s only another song I could consider a highlight of sorts, and that would be “Black Swan”, a limping warrior amidst crippled soldiers. Deep inside the album, it grabs your attention right as it starts with a nice lead intervention, waking you from the somniferous effect induced by the rest of the tracks. Its greatest asset, are the memorable vocal lines, but it also boasts decent riffs. Ironically, the only thing keeping it away from stellar status is that it lacks a strong solo, unlike other, less-compelling songs of the album, and instead we have a few-second inoffensive fret-board attack. However that’s not the case, sadly. Again, bad luck to us all.

Deth’s thirteenth (so sick of that number by now) album ends up inoffensive and bland. In comparison, the so-so but overall better Worship Music by Anthrax sounds like a modern Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?. To leave things clear, I wasn’t expecting or craving for a Rust in Peace part II, that would be entirely naïve. But neither did I expect something as bad and tasteless as Cryptic Writings. This record is not entirely worthless, but I wouldn’t recommend it even to rabid Megadeth fans, although I’m afraid that won’t stop them from lauding this album. And again, bad luck to us all.