Friday, January 29, 2016

the new Megadeth does not suck? really? (by Akerblogger)

Akerblogger is a friend of Metal Bulletin Zine. Recently, Akerblogger wrote something curious: a mostly positive review of Megadeth, a band that some people say is terrible and that others say that they are terrible, but not as terrible some other people might think at other times.
Akerblogger is:
"I listen to a lot of metal and read a lot. I also like to write a lot and listen to metal, a lot. I thought I'd bring it all together to form Akerblogger: a blog that has nothing to do at all with the band Akercocke, unless they reform (please reform)." In addition, Akerblogger can also be described as: "An extreme metal blog for extreme metal fans. We'll find you weird and wonderful new music from the weird and wonderful corners of the extreme metal world."
Below you will find the links to Akerblogger. Make sure to check it, friends. *
Album Review: Megadeth - Dystopia (2016)
Dystopia is very good. It has the energy and diversity of a rejuvenated band; Mustaine seems more intense and angry throughout, his vocals seem gruffer, his snarls more menacing and the tone of the album as a whole owes more to the angsty political persona of early Megadeth, heavily influenced by hardcore-punk bands like Fear ('Foreign Policy' is a Fear cover). Kiko Loureiro and Chris Adler are a near perfect fit for this refreshed sounding Megadeth: Adler's rhythmic and frantic pedaling brings back a pummeling speed-thrash edge and Loureiro's progressive-eccentricities (he has three writers credits on the album) brings about a rather flamboyant and creative touch.
It's a diverse album with tempo-changes, spiralling solo after solo, acoustic passages, melodies and groove galore and, I think to it's minor detriment, there is perhaps too much indulgence, or if not indulgence too much going on; the speed-thrash aggression pops up from time to time and that intensity mixed with progressive touches is when Megadeth are at their best, but too often it does not maintain that intensity, rather it slows down to a more groovy, still quite angry, and melodic NWOBHM-esque sound. It's ultimately down to taste, the slower tracks really aren't bad at all.
The first three tracks, the three singles, maintain a thrash-energy that permeates from song to song; 'Dystopia' is a great Megadeth song with a melodic groove and sleak transitions; it has an underlying aggressiveness that seems genuine, not forced. 'Fatal Illusion' opens with a crunching riff leading in to Ellefson's punchy bass popping into the mix alone segueing to dual guitars and the trademark Mustaine snarl: It's well written and certainly heavy-metal, a long way from the hard-rock filth that was Super Collider.
Following on, 'Death From Within' seemed a little uninspired, it's steady and bland riffing littered with quite interesting licks, the drumming interesting, but it was all quite conventional; it didn't quite manage to reclaim the energy from the previous songs, although this would probably be the best song on Super Collider.
'Bullet To The Brain' illustrates the importance of an imaginative rhythm guitar; Kiko and Mustaine interplay, they are both near-virtuoso's and they're not afraid to flaunt it: the solos soar and switch between dramatic and frantic, soft and forceful, the guitars sing as they harmonise and fluctuate back and fore. Kiko and Mustaine really seem to work well together. And Kiko's influence is even greater on the next three songs - 'Post American World', 'Poisonous Shadows', and 'Conquer or Die!' - as Kiko is attributed, along with Mustaine, with writer credits. These three tracks feel a lot more different: the acoustic opening to 'Poisonous Shadows' is a well-placed rest, there is an atmosphere that doesn't feel too cheesy or forced. The three songs have that progressive-power metal eccentricity that one attributes to Angra. But, and this one of my few gripes, my issue is that, although these three tracks are decent enough, they seem to stop the album in its tracks; it feels a bit plodding and less furious. 'Poisonous Shadows' is the closest thing to a ballad and, although not bad, is that what we really want from a Megadeth album? We know the band have so much potential, and they've shown us that with some of the previous tracks, so hearing this shift in tone is a bit of a let down. (Still better than Super Collider).
The rest of the album though, following on from the instrumental 'Conquer or Die!' is fantastic; it really sounds like old-school Megadeth at times and, with shitty 80's production values, I'm sure Dave Mustaine could try and palm off a few of these songs as once-lost-now-found unused studio recordings from Peace Sells. 'The Emperor' is another fun, fast-paced melodic gem; it's cheesy and eccentric and idiosyncratic with fantastic musicianship and catchiness (it even has a Tom G Warrior ughhh thrown in): isn't this all we really want from life?
It’s maybe not a good thing that my two favourite tracks on first listen were covers: ‘Foreign Policy’ a cover of 80’s hardcore-punk band Fear and ‘Melt The Ice Away’ (a Spotify bonus track, so it probably should not count, but I listened to it as part of the album before realising) a Budgie cover (Welsh hard-rockers from the 70’s). Before knowing this I had noted the punk-thrash simplicity of 'Foreign Policy' and it made sense after finding out it was a cover. Even as a cover it's a fantastic track, each member really shines through. The same can be said for 'Melt The Ice Away', Chris Adler in particular has some great fills.
All in all I am pleasantly surprised by this album. I was expecting it to be good based off the singles and based off Mustaine's recent return to a reasonable level of sanity. It really does have that unpredictability and diversity that Megadeth do so well: solos melt in to solos, solos fuse into grooves and eccentric bridges, bouncing bass interludes merge with gruff snarls and diverse drumming. It's extravagant but still espouses an 80's thrash-hardcore-punk sentiment that Megadeth seemed to be missing before. The lyrics, I find, still make me laugh - more likely cringe - at times, but this is Dave Mustaine, he's more of a stereotype, a cardboard cut out of a rock-star these days; he seems a bit more normal but he is still an anomaly. Dave Mustaine is a concept, an idea, a feeling, a movement deep inside of us all; he is human - well, half-human half-robot - and so I can forgive him.
It's better than Super Collider!
Rating: 8.25/10

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