3.5 Stars out of 5
Things have been rocky for Megadeth the last few years. In 2013, the band put out SUPER COLLIDER, which was universally panned and mocked by fans. In 2014, mainman Dave Mustaine reinjured his neck, requiring another surgical procedure which prevented Megadeth from being on the inaugural Motorboat and put a stop to touring. Then, the unkindest cut of all, guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover left the band, citing creative differences. But you know what, ‘ol Dave is at his best when his back is up against the wall and everyone has written him off! First, he replaced Broderick with Kiko Louriero (Angra) and Drover with Chris Adler (Lamb of God). Then, they recorded DYSTOPIA with something to prove.
The best thing I can say about DYSTOPIA is that it actually SOUNDS like a Megadeth record! It’s angry, political, diverse, blistering, and intricate. This is a return to form for Mustaine after the missteps of SUPER COLLIDER and THIRTEEN, which were both too rock oriented. DYSTOPIA is a thrash / progressive metal album with many of the signature Megadeth sounds: Mustaine’s snarl, heavy riffs and drums, scorching solos, and lighter interludes. Dave sounds pissed off, and I really think that is key for a good Megadeth record. The riffing is furious to start off “The Threat is Real” and it is very catchy. Adler’s drumming is outstanding throughout the album, this is the best Megadeth’s drums have sounded since RUST IN PEACE. There are many nods to older material, the end of “Dystopia” reminds me a bit of the chaotic “Hangar 18” ending, the beat of “Death From Within” sounds a little like “Blackmail the Universe” and “Post American World” sounds like “Symphony of Destruction.” David Ellefson makes his presence felt with a great bass intro on “Fatal Illusion”. Kiko Louriero is solid throughout and he melds well with Mustaine.
DYSTOPIA is a good but not great record. Dave’s vocals are very overproduced and overdubbed, never sounding completely real. I guess at this point his voice is so shot; this is what they have to do. Compared to their last two albums, DYSTOPIA seems great, but I don’t think it is as good as 2009’s ENDGAME, which is an overall heavier record.
Recommended for Megadeth fans and fans of progressive metal. This isn’t 80’s thrash anymore, but some of the classic Megadeth elements are there.
- The Threat is Real
- Fatal Illusion
- Death From Within
- Bullet to the Brain
- Post American World
- Poisonous Shadows
- Conquer or Die (instrumental)
- Lying in State
- The Emperor
- Foreign Policy (Fear cover)
Dave Mustaine – Guitars, Vocals
David Ellefson – Bass
Kiko Louriero – Guitars
Chris Adler – Drums
Buy album: http://megadeth.shop.livenation.com/Product.aspx?cp=14580_80085&pc=FXBNMDTBN012