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Very Good Heavy Metal - 86%

FragKrag, January 23rd, 2009

Well, nobody can say this is a thrash metal highlight with a straight face, but it sure is a great heavy metal album. I don't think many people are surprised with this direction that Megadeth took, I mean, Countdown is not too different. This was probably one of the first Megadeth albums I REALLY got into. I remember each song getting 100+ plays the first week I got the album. OK, so it is definitely slower than Megadeth's previous releases, and it is not very technical, but it is extremely catchy, I mean just look at the cover. The album has more hooks than Rattlehead's mouth, that's for sure.

So the most obvious differences are probably the drums, and the speed of the album. Menza's drumming simplified, and got slower. There are no more of those light-speed riffs present in songs like "Poison was the Cure". The solos are also more simplified. Hell, I think even Dave's voice changed a bit for this album. The songs have also become quite melodic with the addition of some melodic interludes that exist in "Victory", "Addicted to Chaos", and many other tracks on the songs.

The high point of the album is definitely the chorus and though much slower, the the riffs still do have something to offer. The riffs on "Train of Consequences", and "The Killing Road" are among some of my favorites. The majority of the tracks are all decent. They all have the signature Megadeth riffs, and maintain a degree of crunch in them. I don't think anybody can disagree when I say that the riffs are catchy. They stick in your head, and it's quite easy to recognize them within the first 5 seconds of each song. Whether it be the pick scratching intro of "Train of Consequences", or the opening of "A Tout le Monde". Ellefson's bass line has also been given more dominance. There are more Peace Sells-esque bass intros, and the bass lines are louder, and heavier. A very obvious example of the bass dominance would be "Family Tree".

However, this album has some major shortcomings. The solos... well they have been simplified and slowed down to the point that most of them would have been considered riffs on the first 4 Megadeth albums. Bad! Bad! The overall speed of the album is sacrificed for the catchy tunes. The songs lack the ear splitting madness of the first 4 Megadeth albums, and the songs can't really deliver the speed induced high or the punch of the previous songs.

Though most of the speed is lost, you can hear echoes of the Megadeth of the 80s in the songs like "Victory", and "Reckoning Day". Quite literally when it comes to "Victory". The songs do preserve some of the speed and aggression of the previous albums, and "Victory" has those catchy lyrics.

The best songs of this album are probably "Victory", "Train of Consequences", and "Family Tree". They all have their own catchy parts. Victory preserves the Megadeth essence, Train of Consequences has those catchy riffs, and Family Tree probably has the catchiest chorus of all Megadeth songs.

Overall, I'd say by heavy metal standards, this is near the top, but for Megadeth standards, it is a fairly strong release. The thrash elements have fallen back, and have been replaced with catchy choruses. I think some die hard thrash fans can enjoy this album too. I would recommend this album to anybody that likes heavy metal, and thrash metal, or just to anybody who likes metal in general.