Sound — 9
The System Has Failed, Megadeth's tenth studio album, is a trip back to the bands familiar thrash metal roots, a sound that had been nearly dropped in their previous radio-rock heavy album, Risk, but was reinstituted in The World Needs a Hero. it's also the first album prior to frontman and rhythm guitarist Dave Mustaine's damaged nerve accident. This album is the polar opposite of Risk, baring lots of thrash oriented riff work, political lyrics, and solos played by featured ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland. Pure, heavy hitting, Megadeth.
Lyrics — 8
Vocally, it's what I've come to expect of Mustaine. While not as growl oriented as the bands early releases, it still packs that thrash angst that Mustaine is infamous for. Still, no real thrills in that department. Lyrically, it's an excellent effort. Songs like Blackmail the Universe and Kick the Chair are lyrically ingenious and contain many of the standard lyrical puns Megadeth is known for. The lyrics also suit the instrumental work as well, with the cynical anti-political songs having strong thrash metal support.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, it's an extremely strong come back following Mustaine's accident, and a definate improvement on The World Needs a Hero. I didn't experience any real disappointments with the album, knowing as soon as the riff came in on Blackmail the Universe that Megadeth was back, but it's still no match for the bands early work. it's no Peace Sells by any means, but it's a nice breathe of fresh air from their previous more radio oriented albums. I love Blackmail the Universe and Kick the Chair. They both seem to fit the general theme of the album's title as well as the cover artwork (which, in itself, is another awesome thing on it's own). Would I recommend this album? Sure. Fans who have grown accustomed to the less intense sounds of Risk and The World Needs a Hero may feel a little out of place listening to the album, but fans of the classic thrash-oriented Megadeth will find some gems here. Megadeth fan or not, I'd suggest all metal fans at least give this album a try.