Sound — 10
Dave Mustaine is the most overt media whore in the music industry today. Literally since the day he scheduled his studio time for what would become ENDGAME, Motormouth Mustaine has made it his personal quest to be featured on the major news outlets each and every day with some kind of waxing poetic. Whether he's been spewing about coffee, journalists secret agenda to stir the pot, or the creation of this new album, it just seems like Mustaine has been more than willing to share his every last thought. In short, the Internet is Dave Mustaine's personal Twitter page. While much of his ranting has been fairly frivolous, there was one statement that caught my eye. He stated, more than once, that ENDGAME was a throwback album to the RUST IN PEACE era. For me as a Megadeth fan and musical worshipper, that's a pretty big statement. After listening to ENDGAME multiple times, it's not a fully accurate statement...but it's pretty damn close. By my definition, ENDGAME falls as a throwback album alright...an amalgamation of the style featured most prominently on the band's three biggest albums COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION, RUST IN PEACE and YOUTHANASIA. Simply, this is the best Megadeth album since that era ended.
Lyrics — 10
In pure Mustaine form, he doesn't take a long time to make his point known that he's recaptured his metal roots. This Day We Fight kicks things in to high gear with it's hyperspeed riffing that is very, very similar to Rust In Peace. It's clear that Mustaine really felt there was something to prove with ENDGAME, and he's done his best to do just that. Each and every song rocks in it's own way. Mustaine sounds great; both with his menacing snarling vocals and with his guitar work, which is stronger than it's been in at least three albums. While Mustaine may have refound the metal, the guy that energizes ENDGAME is guitarist Chris Broderick. The former guitarist of Nevermore and Jag Panzer is a monster throughout, especially when he and Mustaine take turns trading leads. His sound is fairly distinct and adds a slightly new dimension to songs like 44 Minutes, and it just flat out works. On the back end, bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Shawn Drover are more than competent at keeping the songs driving forward with a massive underside. Musically, this album stands on its own with great performances all around.
Overall Impression — 10
The playing though has never been the issue with Megadeth; a band that's always put out music with only the most skilled musicians providing their best performances. The hit or miss for Megadeth has always been the songwriting. While albums like THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO, RISK and about half of CRYPTIC WRITINGS didn't quite measure up, it's clear that extra effort found it's way to ENDGAME. That's not to say that Mustaine simply wrote the way he used to. Listening to songs like The Hardest Part Of Letting Go...Sealed With A Kiss, you realize that there's some fresh ideas here that would have fit years ago into this band's repertoire. Still, songs like Headcrusher or 1,320 are classic in their structure, scope and overall direction. There's a lot of old school vibe here to be sure, but there are some ideas that just work well with the more classic sound.