June 13, 2024

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American thrash metal act, MEGADETH, simply will not call it a day. At a time when many other legendary names in the game have dropped off due to retirement or actual death, vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine & his hired group of musicians (remember he wants everyone to know he is the sole founder of this band) have released studio album number fifteen in 2016. Mustaine has selected the title ‘Dystopia’ for the collection of ten original tracks and one cover. ‘Dystopia’ is defined as an imaginary place where people are unhappy and scared because they are not treated very nice. Yawn. For starters, I think it’s pretty weak Dave could not come up with an original name for the release. What is it with mainstream metal giants using duplicate album titles? FYI, sir, the band ICED EARTH already used the same title back in 2011. And didn’t Dave & BLACK SABBATH use the title ’13’ that same year too? Anyway, its meaning oddly enough fits perfectly with how Dave gets along with the rock media today as he has indeed been very outspoken over the years (to a definite fault at points), for let’s not forget how the man behaves in a rather petulant manner with the long list of past members that have played in the lineup.

If anyone recalls, Dave was the one that hinted at a reunion of the “Rust In Peace”-era band before the very start of the “Dsytopia” album creation process – which would have only given the fans what they want, the most successful lineup in the history of MEGADETH – right? I sure as hell ain’t making this stuff up. Remember Dave’s son even took a ‘mystery’ picture of Nick Menza rehearsing with Dave again, only for it to all fall apart when money negotiations began and Marty & Nick realized they were going to not have equal pay or say artistically. I must admit Dave’s zany media antics and long-winded political ramblings are still more entertaining than anything Gene Simmons has to say. Okay, so Mr. Mustaine wasn’t exactly going to challenge himself for a unique, never been used before album title (again!). And we ain’t getting no stinking reunion. One thing is for sure, Dave’s definitely got a penchant for letting everyone know he got the short end of the stick at the start of his music career (a little band called METALLICA anyone?)… you see where I am going with this.

Okay, so let’s get to the music. Was all this drama worth it? Is the album going to be a major disappointment like 2013’s “Super Collider”? Well, all harshness aside, I am stoked to be able to write that Mustaine and company have delivered an absolute gem, far more crushing and dark sounding than anything this band has recorded in many years. Produced by Mustaine & Toby Wright, ‘Dystopia’ kicks off with the slamming cut “The Threat Is Real”. The rhythm held down sounds tighter than hell. Remember, two members are out since the last record (Broderick and Drover )… and two new dudes are in: LAMB OF GOD drummer Chris Adler and ANGRA guitarist Kiko Loureiro. I am very impressed with how explosive it sounds, not to mention how killer the bass guitar of David Ellefson rocks. Followed by the title track “Dystopia” and “Fatal Illusion”, it’s evident that these dudes aren’t playing around. The momentum only picks up with “Death From Within” and “Bullet To The Brain”.

Up next are my favorite tracks, “Post American World” and “Poisonous Shadows”, holy shit the riffs are spooky sick and the solos are a notch above the competition undoubtedly. The mastery continues on “Look Who’s Talking” and the instrumental song “Conquer … or Die!” that has an eerie vibe to it. The album concludes with the face pummeling “Lying In State”, the more radio friendly “The Emperor” and one absolutely jamming cover of FEAR’s “Foreign Policy”. Any fan of this band (yes, even if you went away due to the previous poor outing or Dave’s over the top press rants about what a “Waste of Skin” his guitar tech is for fucking up while MEGADETH was out on tour last year) will want to add this album to your collection for the simple fact that it’s too good to deny.


Five Stars
MEGADETH – “Dystopia” (CD)


1. The Threat Is Real
2. Dystopia
3. Fatal Illusion
4. Death From Within
5. Bullet To The Brain
6. Post American World
7. Poisonous Shadows
8. Look Who’s Talking
9. Conquer Or Die
10. Lying In State
11. The Emperor
12. Last Dying Wish
13. Foreign Policy (FEAR cover)