Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Review: Megadeth - Th1rt3en

 Probably the best example of how unconventional my journey of achieving my taste in metal was is the fact that Metallica was not the first of the Big 4 bands that I got into. Long before that I was finding joy in the likes of Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction, the masterpieces from the crazier and lineup-unstable rivals of the Bay Arena quartet, Megadeth. So, needless to say I've been excited about their new release Th1rt3en for various reasons. I could refer to the album title properly as Thirteen, but I'd rather have a chance to write using digits for letters, giving the 12-year old Bebo addict in me a chance to run riot. Also, I get another chance this year to see an awesome classic thrash metal band deliver show they still have the ability to kick ass after Anthrax's Worship Music. That's something that's been necessary as of late, especially after mental scars from listening to Lulu are still very much prevalent. Th1rt3en leaves listeners with a much sweeter taste in their mouth.

Over a career of 28 years and thirteen albums, there's been a noticeable change in the vocals of Dave Mustaine, along with 2009's Endgame, Th1rt3en shows Mustaine's vocals to be much deeper, however, as a consequence, this makes him so much more evil and it's much more suiting for this album. It is very evil throughout. Since tracks like Public Enemy No. 1 are essentially about killing everyone. This doesn't really let me down, I expected nothing less. Similar to Endgame, the main lyrics are largely about fighting, violence, crime y'know... anything that's bad pretty much.
 Musically, the album gives readers a dark and bold array of thrash metal, which though less intimate and intense than that found on Endgame make up for it in their hell-raising metallic pounding. Chris Broderick is showing a greater understanding of making riffs with a hook, best seen in We the People and Fast Lane, which shows Megadeth are pretty much on top of their game. If a sense of intimacy is to be found on this album, Mustaine's lead guitar picking manages to show it off with ease. Black Swan and Wrecker would prove this with ease. Th1rt3en also sees the long-awaited return of bassist Dave Ellefson, who manages to maintain a fiery and powerful rhythm alongside Shawn Drover who pounds the hell out these songs.
 If I were to point out any flaw in the album, it's probably in the one track Guns, Drugs & Money. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, it's just pretty lifeless, weak and generic as Megadeth songs go, thankfully, the unsettling intro filled with riff chugging and soulful lead guitar that makes up the following track Never Dead takes the boredom away instantly.
 Also worth mentioning is the albums closer 13. It's a theatrical, emotion driven piece of glorious heavy metal, made really as a song that shows the Megadeth are still going strong after all the shit they've been through over the course of thirteen albums. What also makes it significant is that it sounds a little similar to the kind of music heard on the Metallica and Lou Reed collaboration, only it's actually engaging and enjoyable.
 Overall, Th1rt3en is exactly what one would want in a Megadeth album. The band play with a raw power and create a sinister vibe throughout. It's certainly the best album that's come out from any group in the Big 4 collective this year.

 Megadeth's Th1rt3en is out now via Roadrunner.

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