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Mister Burke, Is It? - 87%

Tanuki, June 13th, 2018

Megaton's self-titled debut album is a cherished heirloom of the Mexican heavy metal scene. That image of Skeletor popping a squat on top of earth with an armful of intercontinental ballistic missiles can be found on posters, battle jackets, panel vans, you name it. What did Megaton do to enjoy such a zealous cult following? How was a light smattering of demos and one full-length album in the late 80's enough to inspire such unflinching dedication?

Like their more macabre compatriots Luzbel (Lvzbel), Megaton is electric and decidedly non-derivative in their approach to heavy/speed metal. 'Vida Despues de la Muerte' employs everything from quasi-neoclassical hooks to sudden falsetto eagle squawks from vocalist Salvador Aguilar. If 'Llamado de Rock' had an electric organ solo, it would have been a deadringer of El Dragon, an Argentinian speed metal band that worships at Deep Purple's Machine Head altar. Lead-footed rock 'n' roll riffs are always intertwining with dramatic, high register singing, with both helices forming virile strands of DNA like 'Mala Mujer'.

Unfortunately, Megaton's payload of melodic riffs and exciting vocals is dampened by a fairly diabolical production. My biggest issue is the mix itself; the vocals are even louder than the drums, which are several times louder than the guitars. Who produced this album, Don Dokken? The shambolic mix is all I can think about during 'Con los brazos abiertos'; one of the album's only power ballads, and the only track I skip on a regular basis. The other ballad, 'Principe', at least has the decency to build up to a sizzling Fast Eddie Clarke-style crescendo.

Whether this album's technical infidelity helps or hinders its cult status, I'm pleased to report Megaton deserves to have it either way. Megaton is a tequila-based cocktail of Machine Head, Fire Down Under, and Restless and Wild, and it only takes a mere twenty-eight minutes to gulp it all down. Drink up until the production's pretty.

This review was written for The 1st Diamhea Memorial Review Challenge, dedicated to the memory of Christopher Santaniello.