Key Tracks: “The Blackest Crow”
Old age isn’t going to stop Megadeth! Well, they’re going to try not to let it. Rather unsuccessfully. It’s sad to see heroes fall but it can happen to the best. Dave Mustaine’s lyrics aren’t hitting as hard, the band’s volume isn’t as ferocious. Nothing works well on this record, apart from a few acceptable songs.
First, the music. The band is not achieving the heaviness that they once were. The leadoff track, “Kingmaker,” is not a good song, but it does have flickers of the 80’s thrash. It is readily apparent that these flashes are about the most the listener will get. The album as a whole tends to fall closer to a really heavy radio rock work, lesser than the thrash metal that made the band renowned in the 80’s and 90’s. The drums are beating and the guitars are crunching and rapid-fire, but it is all less than before. It is at least entertaining, as it is still heavy and should be recognized as so. It just is not of the same caliber as their previous successes.
Speaking of declines from previous successes, Mustaine’s lyrics are downright awful. His political leanings have always made for awkward and forced lyrics, but they are particularly cheesy on this release. “Dance in the Rain” is the ‘standout’ on the record, as the chorus is supposed to inspire people to dance in the rain and enjoy life, like life lessons from a cool uncle. An abrupt switch/interruption happens during the song when Mustaine begins to sing about the “racist, sexist wars in the middle class” or something like that. It really doesn’t make sense. Mustaine’s lyrics are consistently forced and corny, and often fail to rhyme or fit into any sort of rhythm.
Halfway through this album, I had to put on “Hangar 18” to be reminded of better times. “Supercollider” is tedious and corny, a bad mix for a thrash metal band. One footnote should be mentioned – “The Blackest Crow” is a well-crafted song, albeit not thrash metal. The track starts with an acoustic guitar rhythm and builds intensity around a more haunting sound than the rest of the album. It is far and away the best song on the album. Otherwise, “Supercollider” is a total miss.
If you like this, try: “From Mars to Sirius” by Gojira.
-By Andrew McNally
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