Sound — 9
Megadeth returns with another record, despite their very tight touring schedule. This album is very important in that it brings back co-founding member bassist David Ellefson, and you can definitely hear that he is back on this new record as the band sounds more comfortable and tight in their new lineup than they did with bassist James LoMenzo in "EndGame". I'll take track for track to give you guys a sense of each song and what to expect. 01. "Sudden Death": This is the track that was written for "Guitar Hero 6: Warriors Of Rock", it was also nominated for a Grammy award, but lost to Iron Maiden's "El Dorado". there's a few new things since its original release. The strumming part on the open string has changed in that there's now an effect on it, and instead of going right to left it goes all around you if you have surround sound. there's been some minor tweaks with lyrics and therefore Mustaine has re-recorded the vocal track. Besides that there's not much to say if you already have heard it, its a really good track, but maybe a little too many solos, but hey, it's Megadeth, so solos are always good. 02. "Public Enemy No. 1": The lead single of the album, this track has been played continiously live. A simple track by Megadeth standards, and one of the more hard rock songs on the record, it's about the infamous gangster Al Capone. The main riff is typical Megadeth, but would we want anything else? I think not. It's definitely not sounding like anything off of "EndGame" or any other record, this is "Th1rt3en", and not anything else. Also, Chris' solo in this one is fantastic. 03. "Whose Life (Is It Anyway?)": This song is inspired by the sound of punk rock, and you can definitely hear that, but it's definitely metal too. It's about other people trying to change who you are, what clothes you wear, what personality you have, definitely punk rock material, and definitely Mustaine lyrics too. It's form is simple, but it's a good tune, but I would really like some more technical stuff from Megadeth as that's what they're generally known for. 04. "We The People": The political song on this album, this song is very heavy and dark, and very fitting to this album. Mustaine is snarling about how he doesn't think there's equality and how we the people die in revolution. Also, one of his twitter updates referred to one of the lines: "Our founding fathers, are rolling in their graves". It's also really nice how it ends really lightly with a few clean notes. 05. "Guns, Drugs & Money": Centered around the poor life of drug addicts, the music blends perfectly with the lyrics. The thing that makes this song is the pre-chorus, it has the energy and Mustaine's voice blends perfectly with it. I just have the feeling that this (along with another track I'll mention later) will be a track that Megadeth won't play live, it just has that feeling. 06. "Never Dead": Another video game song! This one aimed at the Capcom game named... Well, "NeverDead". It starts out with this 1 minute creepy intro, and then explodes wildly with Shawn double bassing with his life, and this really aggressive riff playing with it, arguably the best riff on the record. The best part of this song is the solo switching, Mustaine and Broderick's playstyles fits really well together, and this track proves that. 07. "New World Order": Written as a demo during "Youthanasia", this is the first of 3 other songs that Megadeth is rehashing on this album, this one being the least changed of the 3, simply because it doesn't need changing. Only thing missing is that Shawn's playstyle isn't as aggressive as Nick's was during the last part of this song, else its an improvement of the shaggy old demo we had on the "Youthanasia" remaster. The guitar tone that is playing during the opening riff really ain't what I like, just a personal preference, it sounds poor in my opinion, but that doesn't ruin a great song. 08. "Fast Lane": The least impressive song on this album, even though it's called "Fast Lane" it's not as fast as you'd think. Double bass at the start and chorus is nice, but the verse just feels like it doesn't fit, and the lyrics are pretty unimaginative. The chorus is pretty good though, and so is the rest of the song, but I just can't get the picture of Dave Mustaine as a jetplane out of my head (you'll know when you hear it). This is the second song that has the 'won't be played live' feel over it. 09. "Black Swan": Second of the rehashed songs, this one was recorded as a demo during the "United Abominations" recording, and therefore being the newest of the rehashed songs. Only thing that is changed is that the old intro has been replaced by a nearly "Head Crusher"-esque start solo which gives the song a more aggressive feel which fits this album more. This also features some of my favorite lyrics on this album. It has a really good feel to it, and it's the one song I've been repeating most on this album as it's easy to just set on and listen to. 10. "Wrecker": This song is supposedly about a former girlfriend of Mustaine from what I can get out of the lyrics, wrecking everything he did (quoting "It doesn't even matter how you die, she'll wreck it!"). There's always energy going in this song, and it has a really awesome vibe to it, it takes a couple of listens, but that's really about it. 11. "Millenium Of The Blind": The last of the rehashed songs, this was also written in the "Youthanasia"-period and feature on the record's remaster. This one is nearly unrecognizable from the old one, it doesn't have as creepy and nearly Cthulhu-like feeling over it as the old one, but it definitely stands out from the rest of the songs. The old parts of this song is scattered between the start and end of this song, but not in the way you'd think they were. You'll hear, it's gonna be the very oppinonate song, some will love it, others will be like "meh". 12. "Deadly Nightshade": This song is about a deadly ivy by the same name of the song, Mustaine describes the symptoms of touching this plant in this song. If there's one song where Ellefson really stands out, its in this one. Not only does he get his own bass line in the middle of the song, but the rest of the song the bass just seems louder than usual, and I'm really liking that. My personal favorite on this record, and I'm guessing it will be many others' too. 13. "13": The title track of the record (although stylized differently) and the closing track, this one is about Mustaine's life in general, and this song points to that this could very well be Megadeth's last record. Chris Broderick shows off his acoustic skills in this song with Mustaine playing with distortion behind the acoustic notes, this is more silent than the others, and it fits it really well, it's chorus is also catchy as hell. It gets more aggressive towards the solo and finishes off aggressively until it ends the whole record with one chord that Broderick pulls off elegantly. I'm gonna quote Ellefson on this one "If there's one song that summarises the story of Megadeth, it's this one".
Lyrics — 8
As we all know, the one thing that keeps many people away from Megadeth is usually Mustaine's vocals, but most people listen to only "Rust In Peace" and then maybe calls it quits. This record Mustaine has a stronger voice than ever, and this would definitely be a good album to get into Megadeth with if you're having a rough time with that. I believe the one thing that makes Megadeth is Mustaine's voice, sure it's awful in it's own, but the fact that it's unique and fits good with the music is what makes Megadeth special, of course their solos and riffs are unlike any others', but Mustaine's voice only strengthens the uniqueness that is Megadeth. The lyrics are definitely good on this record, the best is without a doubt the lyrics in "13", while "Black Swan", "Deadly Nightshade" and "Whose Life (Is It Anyway?)" and catching up close to it. However, "Fast Lane"'s lyrics are pretty... Unimaginative, it's about driving as fast as a jetplane, and it sounds silly at times, but that's the only song that is like that though, it has it's charm, but it's just not striking me. Good lyrical content overall.
Overall Impression — 9
Ellefson's return is very apparent, and it's definitely what makes this album worth it in the long end. The most impressive songs are "Deadly Nightshade", "13" and "Black Swan". If this was lost from my collection I would go out and instantly buy it again, because Megadeth is like a drug, except that it doesn't kill you. I also want to mention that Johhny K has done an excellent job producing this. If I should choose between this and "EndGame", it would definaitely be this one, it doesn't have as many boring songs like "EndGame" (this one only has "Fast Lane"), and the good songs definitely blow "EndGame"'s best songs away. The cover resembles Vic Rattlehead, long time mascot, walking away, there's pictures on Vic's funeral inside the CD, 13 sings about how Mustaine is killing himself by playing music, I'm very sad to say that I'm speculating that this will be Megadeth's last record as much points to it, biggest proof being the funeral picture. I'm giving this a 9/10, judging from former Megadeth records, they haven't sounded this good since Countdown, maybe even Rust in Peace, I definitely prefer this over "EndGame", "Youthanasia", and I still have to make up my mind if I prefer it over "Countdown". That's all, enjoy the record, buy it don't pirate it! We want this to hit the charts over the abomination that is "Lulu" so justice can be served!