Sound — 9
Oh man, what an album. Most bands that get to this point in their career usually have a funny way of making the fans lose interest. But however, Megadeth really seemed to have pulled off a really nice one here. Even though this album was done around 2003-2004, you could swear that it's a classic and that it was done at some point in the 80s! The return of Chris Poland just further made this album seem so, with leads and riffage that brings you back to the good old thrashy days of "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying." Really old-school-sounding guitar tones and leads that could be no other than Megadeth; truly a must-have fer 'Deth fans. Dave's vocals have lost a bit of their kick from the actual early days; but the layering of both the guitars & vocals really shows you that even though these guys are getting kinda old, they've also really matured musically! In fact, I've heard that Megadeth has been using some old school recording techniques lately that they were using in order to get the sound that they have now, so like their latest "greatest hits" compilation says: "Back To The Start" indeed.
Lyrics — 8
Well, as I just mentioned ealier, the actual vocals themselves are not quite what they used to be in terms of range and everything; but that's generally pretty normal, everyone gets old. But anyways, along with the natural maturing of the members; so to came the maturing of the lyrics. Songs like "Scorpion" really show this since the themes in the songs show that there's more to 'Deth than meets they eye. Plus there's the ever-great-sounding classic style tunes such as "Back In The Day" which have grooves that really take you back to those early days.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all, this is one of the best Megadeth albums ever released in my honest opinion. Of course it'll never compare to anything done during the Marty Friedman years; but hey, that doesn't mean that it's still not a great album. In the least, this is the greatest 'Deth album to have been released in recent years. The best tunes for me are defintely "Kick The Chair", "Scorpion" & "Back In The Day," but don't let those tunes throw you off; the whole album is worth as much time as you can give it. Hell, even the shorter tunes like "In The Shadow of Deth" act as great segues into other tunes (which are quite reminiscent of Rust In Peace's "Dawn Patrol"). If only perhaps some of the solos were a little more extravagant, this would've been an even sicker album; but I suppose you can only go so far slapping 3-one minute & a solos in almost every song! Other than that; this is pure Megadeth baby! So just sit back and enjoy the tunes. If I ever lost this, I'd have to run up and kick that SOB thief's chair over and show him how to "Die Dead Enough"! No, not really; but I would be goddamn pissed I'll tell you that.