Studio album number fourteen then is it Dave? What way are we going to see you swing this time? Maintaining the momentum of the past couple of awesome return to form albums or do something else completely? You guys know where this review is heading right?
I really don’t know what to make of this album at all. Judge it as a Megadeth album and I have a feeling the majority of ‘Deth fans are more than likely going to be disappointed. Gone is the speed, the ferocity, the technicality, the balls to the wall aggressiveness of the likes of Endgame and The System Has Failed. This album is very much an extension of what was heard on Th1rte3n and also reminiscent of the style of World Needs a Hero.
Is this album a sign of Mustaine and the ‘Deth boys slowing down in their old age and heading towards a more hard rock, commercial feel? Opening track Kingmaker fills you full of eager anticipation with a right good galloping attack that has a great groove to it as those comfortingly recognisable Mustaine vocals snarl. Sadly, that anticipation is shot to pieces with title track Super Collider that is so far removed from what you would expect it’s completely jarring. It yells commercial single, it yells rock track, it yells unsuitablity for Mustaine’s voice. It yells “THIS IS NOT MEGADETH”. You know the biggest problem with it? The track has a huge whiff of cheesy hair rock about it. It’s no wonder there’s been so much vitriol directed at it online since the track was released as a single.
After the anticipation of the album opener your whole attitude shifts on this title track and you’ve suddenly got that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re heading for a train wreck of a metal album. Thankfully though the rest of the album doesn’t quite stoop to these levels. Burn! is very reminiscent of Burning Bridges from World Needs a Hero while Built for War has, dare I say it, a strong Metallica-like groove to it. Title track aside this album definitely carries a pace about it that’s far more like World Needs a Hero than anything else.
There’s a simplicity to the tracks on this album that feel almost alien to what Megadeth have created in the past and can create at the drop of a hat normally. Off The Edge is a perfect example of this and I hate to bring Metallica into the equation again but this feels like the way they approached the tracks on the black album. I don’t, however, think this will be quite the commercial success for Megadeth as that was for them.
Even cameos from David Draiman in Dance in the Rain and Forget to Remember do little, if anything, to raise this album to any great level. Dance in the Rain shows that glint of the Megadeth of old in its second half but that’s gone and missed before you realise it. Forget to Remember is simply instantly forgettable and so middle of the road bland that it makes you want to cry out in anguish.
To my ears there’s only one great track on this album and that’s the terrifically atmospheric The Blackest Crow. Far removed from Megadeth’s style it may be, but it immediately conjures to mind Joss Whedon’s Firefly. It has a dirty western frontier feel thanks in no small part to the excellent ukelele and strings work. Different indeed, but for once in a good way.
If ever there was the thought that Megadeth were perhaps running out of steam or ideas, finishing the album with Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat just seems to confirm this too sadly.
It’s not a bad album, it’s definitely not a great album. It is just definitely not up to the usual Megadeth standard that I certainly have come to know or expect. Maybe newer fans will take to this with a more open mind and enjoy it more than I did. As an old school Megadeth fan I’m finding it decidedly underwhelming.
The real litmus test for the tracks certainly lies in wait when they’re played live. One hopes they take on an altogether better feel than on the album.
Super Collider is released on June 4th through Mustaine’s own Tradecraft label.
2. Super Collider
4. Built For War
5. Off The Edge
6. Dance In The Rain
7. Beginning Of Sorrow
8. The Blackest Crow
9. Forget To Remember
10. Don’t Turn Your Back…
11. Cold Sweat (Thin Lizzy Cover)
Dave Mustaine – Vocals/Guitar
Chris Broderick – Guitar
Dave Ellefson – Bass
Shawn Drover – Drums