Sound — 8
This is a different sound for thrash-pioneers Megadeth. Featuring a more melodic and slower sound, as well as clearer and catchier lyrics, it's definately not what most fans expected. This is the last album featuring guitar-virtuoso Marty Friedman, as well as the last record featuring long time drummer Nick Menza. it's evolves on the premise of Cryptic Writings, holding catchier vocals, and a more filed down and radio friendly rock sound compared to other critical releases in Megadeth's career. Marty's influence, as well as the producer's, influence on the album is obvious with newer elements implented such as minor electronica and disco influences, as well as country influences, within the music. it's a different sound for Megadeth, which, while in itself is disappointing for fans of the Countdown to Extinction era and prior, is not, as a whole, a bad effort.
Lyrics — 7
Vocally, Dave shows different side of himself with more high pitched and typically radio rock work and less of his characteristic growls and anger. While the vocals are something that fans could potentially enjoy, however, lyrically I think the albums lacks a bit. it's still Dave's work, you can tell, but it just doesn't seem to meld well with the new radio rock friendly sound. Songs like Prince of Darkness hold that infamous dark tone that Megadeth is known for, but instrumentally feels hollow, to me at least. Like I said before, it's a different direction for the band, and while a good effort, I feel it falls short a bit.
Overall Impression — 7
Its an alright album overall. It falls short of certain levels, and of course, being a fan of Megadeth's earlier work, it strikes a disappointing chord with me. It's not a bad album, but it's not a great album either. Songs like Breadline and Time: The Beginning shine vocally, and songs like Crush Em do carry extremely catchy and singable choruses, however, I feel this album just doesn't live up to the name of Megadeth. If it was stolen or lost, I'd replace it, simply because I own all the albums, and still appreciate it from time to time, but it definately wouldn't be high on my priority list.