Megadeth – Endgame (2009, Roadrunner Records)
- Dialectic Chaos
- This Day We Fight!
- 44 Minutes
- Bite The Hand
- The Hardest Part Of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss
- Head Crusher
- How The Story Ends
- The Right To Go Insane
Dave Mustaine – Guitars, Vocals
Chris Broderick – Guitars, Backing Vocals
James LoMenzo – Bass, Backing Vocals
Shawn Drover – Drums
Producers: Andy Sneap & Dave Mustaine
Total Time = 45:05
I have been a Megadeth fan since their debut album KILLING IS MY BUSINESS…AND BUSINESS IS GOOD in 1985. When I was growing up back then the Metal world was diverse and intertwined, you could listen to Megadeth or Anthrax alongside Poison and Motley Crue and sprinkle in AC/DC and Yngwie Malmsteen in for good measure. It was less about labels and categories and just about the music, success was based on street cred as well as gold & platinum records. I have bought every Megadeth record when it was released, even RISK (1999)! Somewhere in the middle of his career, Dave Mustaine cared more for competing with his old band Metallica and catering to the fashionable trends the Metal world went through. For me, the last pure Thrash album Megadeth made was RUST IN PEACE (1990). That’s not to say the other albums are bad…..just different. For about 10 years, Megadeth released albums that failed to live up to their old school legacy even though they had quality performances. In 2007, UNITED ABOMINATIONS came out and I was skeptical but the band’s live performance impressed me and I listened more closely to the album…..it became #11 in my Top 15 Albums of 2007. Now ENDGAME is here and I’ve given it a closer listen…..another solid Metal record for Mustaine and company! It’s an album that harkens back to the Megadeth of old.
The album opens with the powerful thrashing instrumental ‘Dialectic Chaos’ that showcases the solo tradeoffs between Dave Mustaine and new Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick (ex-Jag Panzer. ex-Nevermore). The instrumental immeadiately leads into the ultra fast ‘This Day We Fight!’, a song that truly sounds like early thrashing mad ‘Deth. So it’s a great start to another highly anticipated album but ’44 Minutes’ is bound to bring a bit of controversy. Most older fans (like myself) always want bands to stay true to their early/classic sound and they usually revolt against any stylistic change. I’m not really one of those fans (unless the music just suck, remember RISK?) so I’m cool with the fact that ’44 Minutes’ is Heavy Metal but not pure Thrash. One of the controversies around UNITED ABOMINATIONS a couple years ago was that there were a lot of heavy tracks and driving riffs but the songs weren’t fast enough. I liked the diversity of that album and I’m glad to see the band continue that pattern now, it breaks up the album a little and shows off a different side of the band, a groove if you will. It’s an expansion fo the overall sound not a detraction. Get all that?
Anyway, more thrashier moments occur in ‘1,320’, including a great solo section, and ‘Bite The Hand’, a song that starts off with a grooved main riff but moves into speed territory. ‘Bodies’ has a solid bassline from James Lomenzo that really makes the song but it reminds me of something from the radio friendly CRYPTIC WRITINGS (1999). The chorus on ‘Bodies’ has that melodic touch to it that might scare some people off but the twin guitar work is superb and saves the song, especially the solo that moves into breakneck speed. If you follow anything Mustaine has done then you know that many of his songs are politically charged and the title track ‘Endgame’ is exactly that. Another Heavy Metal track that moves into faster paces thoughout, Mustaine waxes poetic on the current status of the U.S. government, the President, FEMA, the Patriot Act and the state of the country in general. ‘Endgame’ could easily fit on UNITED ABOMINATIONS or THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED (2004) and it’s definitely one of the better songs on the album. The pace slows right down with ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss’ for the first half and then speeds up with the second. It’s a tale of two songs really, the beginning and end being the almost ballad style of ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go’ and the middle being the frantic speed of ‘Sealed With A Kiss’. I like the two dynamics coming together so this is definitely a highlight for me. Old School fans will like the straightforward Thrash of ‘Head Crusher’, even if the lyrics aren’t that strong. Same with ‘How The Story Ends’ but it has a more rhythmic groove to it. The last song on ENDGAME is ‘The Right To Go Insane’ and it starts with a simple bass intro and moves into a pulsating main riff. Again, it’s another solid track with a great solo trade-off.
ENDGAME is not a pure Thrash record, although it has some old school Thrash moments, it’s definitely more regular Heavy Metal with a slightly slower pace. Maybe it’s the fact that the lines that define what Thrash is today are blurred but Thrash doesn’t always have to be about speed. If that was the case then a ton of Black, Death, Power and Progressive Metal bands out there are a lot faster than Megadeth is. Today’s Thrash has more to do with heaviness and power rather than pure speed, would you call Dragonforce Thrash? Dave Mustaine has taken the best elements of old school Megadeth and the Megadeth of the last 10 years and combines them to make another solid album. I’ll be honest, I still haven’t fully recovered from the experimental Nu-Metal of 1999’s RISK so any new Megadeth record I’m going to approach with caution. The good news is that ENDGAME is a solid record and sits alongside UNITED ABOMINATIONS as a powerful counterpart. ENDGAME may not be the pure old school Thrash album older fans desperately want but it is a formidable album with many Thrash elements and it’s very heavy.
‘Dialectic Chaos’, ‘This Day We Fight!’, ’44 Minutes’, ‘The Hardest Part Of Letting Go…Sealed With A Kiss’, ‘Endgame’