Monday, January 25, 2016

Album Review, Megadeth: Dystopia

...If you don't like where we're going
Then you won't like what's coming next....

That's absolutely correct...But as far as Megadeth's new album, Dystopia goes, I like where the band is going I'm pumped to see what's coming next.

Dave Mustaine has changed Megadeth lineups yet again, and he's been making comments through the recording process about how this lineup is the best he's had, and may be the best ever. We expected him to say that, of course. But better than Marty Friedman and Nick Menza? Surely you jest, right?

Dave Mustaine never jests...
And, don't call him Shirley.
He may very well have something here, because the lineup in addition to Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson, new guitarist and drummer Kiko Loureiro and Chris Adler have put together the best Megadeth album since Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. Dystopia is indeed a thrash metal masterpiece. 

Now, those are some pretty big shoes to fill. But, in an interview, Mustaine said that part of his criteria for hiring a guitarist is that the new guy has to be a better guitarist than Mustaine. Whoa! Dave is already among the elite guitarists, and considering the fact that every guitarist gets better as time goes on, he may have to give Steve Vai a call at some point. Maybe, but not today. Because Kiko Loureiro is freaking amazing. 

All of the crazy scales that Friedman did on Rust and Countdown are back. Its blistering. Its amazing. Its one thing to be able to play them, but its another to be able to write them. There is critical chemistry between Mustaine and Loureiro, and it is apparent throughout the album. 

Dystopia is a themed album about the impending demise of our country, brought about by tyrants corrupted by power. It brings out the question, what is the point of power if all you rule is a wasteland? But, that's all that will be left if we can't take the power back. These points are forcefully illustrated in the tracks Post American World and The Emperor.

The album starts with The Threat is Real, which begins with a Middle Eastern female vocal arrangement, then blasts you with a blistering guitar lick. The intro solo is also a Middle Eastern scale on guitar. The guitar work throughout is spectacular. Its about the "refugees" coming through our non existent borders, and how the Muslim terrorists pose a very real threat. Its all true, and I wish more people would realize that. They are starting to in Europe though.

The title track is a nod back to the skill and technique in Hangar 18. Although the songs don't sound anything alike, there are similarities, mainly in the arrangement and feel of the tune. The guitar solos on Dystopia are incredible. There is an epic instrumental called Conquer or Die that starts off with amazing classical guitar. Not sure which guitarist played it though. It slams into a heavy assault on the senses with harmony guitar solos and shred-bliss. Bullet to the Brain also starts with some minor key acoustic licks. They even do a cover of Foreign Policy by Fear. Its an interesting thrash metal take on a punk song, a little more mature than Anarchy in the UK. Fatal Illusion is a hard and heavy chunk fest that features some bass guitar shredding by David Ellefson, followed by dual guitar harmony shredding. Look Who's Talking, a bonus track has a Sweating Bullets feeling to it, with a little more shred and guitar work. A little less choppy too.

Dave's vocals here are among the best I've ever heard from him. He has developed a mean low end in his voice that wasn't there before, and it adds a dimension that really clicks with this direction of the band. Chris Adler has a different style than previous drummers, and he goes funky from time to time particularly in Fatal Illusion. This album as a whole is great. It takes influence from the greatest Megadeth albums and songs, while going on its own direction. Most notably Dystopia has the most blistering/ shredtastic guitar solos since Rust in Peace, which is saying A LOT.

Chris Adler, Kiko Loureiro, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson
So, what am I saying? BUY THIS ALBUM! Megadeth has truly returned to form! Think of the last couple albums as a football team with a backup quarterback, who is just there; not really doing much. Then, the starting QB comes back and annihilates. Remember when Joe Montana came back against the Vikings years ago? Or Dan Marino's first game back after his Achilles injury? Something like that.

Nugent/Mustaine 2016!

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