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A temporary loss of steam to the engine - 70%

doomknocker, November 3rd, 2011

It's been one hell of a ride for/with this reborn Megadeth entity. This is said with a healthy amount of loyal worship on my end, but I've also held them accountable to more than a few bouts of questionable antics, both musical and personal, that have transpired over the years. Now granted, I know that Mr. Mustaine in this day and age isn't the same Mr. Mustaine from over 20 years ago (to which he's rather unfairly criticized for nowadays by a few "elitist" fools out there), but WHO here in this world is still the same idiot today they were in the past? But it shouldn't matter, really…what matters is the overall output, the reason why you checked the fucker out in the first place, and, even today, I feel that Megadeth's music is still relevant, if not MORE relevant than before, as they continue to make us wake up dead with increasingly killer post-millennial material.

So let's see how this new album stands in its own right...

Going in, I had that sinking feeling that whatever would come next would have a hard time trying to outdo the devastating "Endgame", which itself was quite the hard act to follow, and for that I cannot fault "Th1rt3en" in any hang-ups it possesses due to such high expectations. Instead, what we get here is a solid affair in its own right, if a touch underwhelming with its lack of overt violence and rage. Still, its strengths seem to lie in the band's songwriting area, where potent riffs and surprisingly dark melodies replace the more brutal musical ends, and it looks like we have one of the more complex-sounding modern Megadeth releases in a while, the result of a long time of tightened chops and clenched fists. There's no real sensation of just phoning it in like a few of their contemporaries have done lately, and the thick guitar riffs, fluidly-fast solos/leads, lyrical odes of corruption and darkness, punishing machine gun drums and Dave's agitated snarls (the last one still at all time highs), and the sheer monstrousness of songs like "Sudden Death", "Millennium of the Blind" and "Wrecker" get the juices flowing as best as they can.

Still, for as great as it is in the end, I'm afraid I'll have to admit that there were moments that I wasn't really absorbed into the album as I’'d been in the past few years. It could be a number of things, but it seems that the biggest sin is that some of the topics are starting to get a little tired and long in the tooth ("We the People", "Sex, Drugs and Money", "Fast Lane"), and even Mr. Mustaine himself doesn't sound as passionate about them as he used to be. Granted, he's still Dave, and he's still pissed, but after it starts with a strong opening, the album becomes like a roller-coaster, where it deflates a bit as it bores on through, only to end up coming back to life before being buried once more. As I've stated before, the sensation of pure unadulterated venom is in more scant quantities this time around, and the fist to the face is now just a mere hard shove, which could leave a few listeners a bit languid and listless. It's a shame that a band I'd held a flag so high for so many, MANY years couldn't leave me spellbound as they'd done in the past, but this really isn't anything to hold against them.

At the end of the day, "Th1rt3en" is a pretty good foray into modern heavy metal angst, something that is what it is in spite of itself. Chances are I'll still gives this little doozy the time of day time and again, but probably not as much as some of their other, stronger albums. Nevertheless, this is good for what ails you in this day and age. Trust me.

Originally written for The Offering