American guitarist Dave Mustaine was an early member of thrash metal band Metallica until being fired in early 1983. Following this he and bassist Dave Ellefson formed a new thrash metal band called Megadeth.
The band’s debut album “Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!” surfaced in 1985 and featured guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson alongside the two Daves. Second album “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?” in 1986 was the last to feature that line-up but was a much more successful record, reaching number 76 in the US.
Poland and Samuelson were replaced by Jeff Young and Chuck Behler respectively for 1988’s “So Far, So Good… So What!”, a number 28 hit, but the two new men were themselves ousted before breakthrough album “Rust In Peace” in 1990 which saw the introduction of guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza.
This line-up would remain stable for another three studio albums before Menza withdrew from the band during 1997 needing knee surgery with former Y&T man Jimmy DeGrasso taking over.
Friedman left the band following the poorly received “Risk” album in 2000 and a number of guitarists, drummers and bassists have graced the band’s ranks at various points in the years since. The band took a break between 2002 and 2004 following a nerve injury to Mustaine’s left arm which left him unable to play guitar for that time. During that time he and Ellefson had a falling out with the latter only returning to the band in 2010.
Now featuring Mustaine and Ellefson together with Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro and Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler, the band are back with their fifteenth studio recording “Dystopia”. This follows the 2013 album “Super Collider” which itself received something of a mixed response. So how will the new record fare?
Well my initial reaction as “The Threat Is Real” blasted out of the speakers was wow this is good, any why the hell is it that Metallica seem unable to make music this good anymore?! Fast, furious, technically brilliant – a classic Megadeth track in the making.
“Dystopia” itself is slightly more sedate and melodic but still has that classic Megadeth sound, in fact it’s very reminiscent of the “Rust In Peace” era. Whether you consider this to be a retread or not there’s no denying that it is another massive tune. Perhaps it’s significant that the band had apparently tried to reunite with Friedman and Menza before Loureiro and Adler were brought on board in terms of this record’s classic Megadeth vibe.
Loureiro sounds as if he’s been with the band for years, as his playing seamlessly blends with Mustaine’s. Ellefson is as solid as ever and Adler’s percussive assault in perfectly attuned to the music on offer here.
“Post American World” hints at “Countdown To Extinction” numbers “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets” but comes out as a genuinely classy track in its own right. This, together with the title track, “The Threat Is Real”, “Lying In State”, the instrumental “Conquer Or Die!” and “The Emperor” are highlights on this album.
This is an excellent Megadeth album. In fact I’d go so far as to say it’s the best I’ve heard from them in years. Time will tell if it stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of “Peace Sells…” and “Rust In Peace” in the long-term, but right now I’d say it looks pretty promising!…
1. The Threat Is Real / 2. Dystopia / 3. Fatal Illusion / 4. Death From Within / 5. Bullet To The Brain / 6. Post American World / 7. Poisonous Shadows / 8. Look Who’s Talking / 9. Conquer Or Die! / 10. Lying In State / 11. The Emperor / 12.Last Dying Wish / 13. Foreign Policy / 14. Melt The Ice Away / 15. Me Hate You