Sound — 7
Wowwee is this the album Megadeth fans have been searching for! Kiko is able to work his technical abilities into the music, while staying melodic. The soloing on the past few Deth releases haven't been very great so this fresh and much needed! "Post American World" has some of the tastiest soloing you will hear from this century. Dave wrote some killer rhythm parts, note the similarity between the riff in "Fatal Illusion" to "Black Friday." The blazing fast, chunky rhythm sections is what really makes this album worthwhile. The opening riff to "The Threat Is Real" will make you shake! And the intro solo on "Poisonous Shadows" will give you goosebumps! Speaking of that track, it is very similar to "Promises" from "The World Needs a Hero." Chris Adler and Junior really clicked in this album, their rhythm sections are tight with no room for error. Now onto the subject of Dave's vocals on here, no one seems to like them but I have always loved his snarling style. To me the vocals were a highlight compared to "Endgame," "Th1rt3en" and "Super Collider." Good to see the boys return to thrash.
Lyrics — 6
If you've heard a Megadeth song you can probably guess this department. I personally enjoy Mustaine's lyrics and this album is no different. Highly political (see "Post American World"), heavy on the war and death ("Fatal Illusion," "The Threat Is Real," "Bullet to the Brain"), and even a more touching song, "Poisonous Shadows." As I stated above, it is eerily reminiscent of "Promises." Mustaine doesn't really change up his vocal style for this so I can't really comment on that other than the fact I think his performance was pretty strong.
Overall Impression — 7
If I had to compare this to any albums of Megadeth's it comes to close to being like "Rust in Peace" but I am NOT saying it is "Rust in Peace" because there is quite a bit of filler in this. The fourth track "Death From Within" is okay but after "Conquer or Die" it starts to lose me. It's an instrumental and even though it doesn't touch "Into the Lungs of Hell," Kiko is really able to show off in this. Then it drops off going into "Lying in State." "The Emperor" is a ridiculous track and the lyrics are somewhat dumb, but the Fear cover of "Foreign Policy" was a disaster. I'd call this album a wannabe somewhere between "Peace Sells...," "So Far, So Good... So What!" and "Rust in Peace." Hopefully nothing happens to this but I'd definitely go out to buy it again! Just not the deluxe edition, that was a waste of my money. No extra tracks, just a weird "virtual reality" video thing that's very laggy and confusing.