Megadeth

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Another summer, another discography thrash band run. This time, working my way backwards through Megadeth's albums. Here's my brief analysis on the last 22 years...

Dystopia
Pretty solid. I understand why a lot of folks love this record. It's definitely the heaviest, fastest, and most brutally competent Megadeth has sounded in years (most especially thanks to Kiko and Adler). Mustaine's vocals sound mostly terrible, but the production is stellar and many of the songs are killer. This record makes it vitally apparent that my ratings this time around will be much more lyric-based than before, as Mustaine's anti-government life goals have simply gotten to a point where he sounds like a fool.
Rating - 6.8/10
Worst Songs - Post American World (yeesh on that chorus, Dave, you can do so much better), the incredibly stupid and bad cover of Foreign Policy
Best Songs - Dystopia, Fatal Illusion, Poisonous Shadows, Conquer or Die, Lying in State

Super Collider
I feel like I remember this one not being as bad as everyone says it is, but...it truly is that bad. Most of the songs aren't actually terrible, they just sound hollow and lifeless. You know you've got problems when your best track is a cover. This album could disappear and it wouldn't matter.
Rating - 4.3/10
Worst Song - Burn!
Best Song - Cold Sweat

TH1RT3EN
Another truly terrible album, this one is just misfire after misfire. There's some angst and typical Davey anger going on, but the songs are just truly awful. Three tracks are worth listening to, some others are fine as Elevator Deth, overall this whole album is also a huge skip. The re-recording of New World Order is worthless (and wasn't a stellar track to begin with).
Rating - 4.4/10
Worst Songs - Most of them.
Best Songs - Sudden Death, Public Enemy No. 1, Black Swan

Endgame
The fire is definitely alive on this record. Nothing here makes my favorites list, but the overall quality is pretty high. At worst, it's forgettable or repetitive, but there's nothing I'd outright skip or lambast here. In general, the songs lack some of the catchiness that I love in Megadeth's best songs, but the thrashiness and power is undeniable. Similar to Dystopia, this one is solid through and through.
Rating - 6.8/10
Worst Songs - the stretch from 44 Minutes (even though the chorus is an earworm) through the title track
Best Song - This Day We Fight

United Abominations
Starts off very strong and takes a pretty steep dive in the second half. The band sounds pretty fired up, the playing is good across the board, Mustaine sounds good, but the inspiration seems to run out halfway through (as evidenced by the silly inclusion of a perfectly safe retread of A Tout Le Monde). It's a decent Megadeth record due to the stronger tracks, but not very consistent.
Rating - 6.3/10
Worst Songs - Amerikhastan, You're Dead
Best Songs - Washington is Next, Never Walk Alone...A Call To Arms

The System Has Failed
I have long held the opinion that this record rules and is the best thing Megadeth has done since the early 90s. Luckily for me, I still feel that way. It's not amazing, but there's no truly bad song here. Mustaine's vocals are on fire (as much as they can be), the solo work by Chris Poland is excellent, and the songwriting is catchy as hell. Dave really channels all the pop sensibilities he learned in the late 90s into the classic thrash that Megadeth fans desire. True, it takes a real hard dip at the end, but the first 85% is great. A truly good record and easily my favorite of the last two (or three) decades.
Rating - 7.3/10
Worst Song - Shadow of Deth/My Kingdom
Best Songs - Kick the Chair, The Scorpion, Tears in a Vial

The World Needs a Hero
The only thing I give this album points for is trying new things. There's elongated songs, horn sections, acoustic ballads, lots of double bass...but the songwriting is just poor. When it hits, it hits hard, but mostly it's a bloated mess of songwriting misses. The rampant dialogue segments give me a migraine. I give props to Al Pitrelli for adding some classical and blues flair during his leads, but they can't save this mostly uninspired, aimless record.
Rating - 4.8/10
Worst Songs - title track, Moto Psycho, 1000 Times Goodbye, Losing My Senses
Best Songs - Dread and The Fugitive Mind, Disconnect
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
Some thoughts:

— I’m tired of conservative America’s obsession with the military.
— Just like Dystopia, this sounds tight as hell. They are on full frontal force with the production and the riffs are great.
— It struck me that Mustaine has been singing in a position that, while different to his approach in earlier years, allows him greater voice control and he’s actually a pretty strong singer TBH.
— Verse is stock Megadeth, definitely hear the “Black Friday” in it. Chorus is pretty great though.
— The last two riff changes rule big time.

Overall I like it. It’s a pretty strong first single.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
D801224D-F623-4125-82C6-4E8688302B48.jpeg

1. “The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!” (5:04)
2. “Life in Hell” (4:12)
3. “Night Stalkers” ft. Ice-T (6:38)
4. “Dogs of Chernobyl” (6:12)
5. “Sacrifice” (4:08)
6. “Junkie” (3:39)
7. “Psychopathy” (1:20)
8. “Killing Time” (5:13)
9. “Soldier On!” (4:54)
10. “Célebutante” (3:51)
11. “Mission to Mars” (5:24)
12. “We’ll Be Back” (4:29)

Bonus Tracks:
13. “Police Truck” Dead Kennedys cover (2:29)
14. “This Planet’s on Fire (Burn in Hell)” Sammy Hagar cover, ft. Sammy Hagar (5:04)

A little sad this wasn’t the full 18 tracks they said they had in store, but hopefully that just means they used the strongest from the writing sessions. The cover is worse than I expected but not baaaaadddd. Tracklist has some interesting titles, and I’m a little surprised to see that “We’ll Be Back” is actually the closer. Didn’t expect that at all. Interested I remain.
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard
Idea for artwork is great but why it looks like promo for Asssassins Creed video game.
LOL. I’m guessing they were going for the plague doctor motif, but it wouldn’t really look like Vic anymore with a bird mask on.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
I've seen them live in 2020 ( Dave's first post-cancer show) and 2022. Dave's vocals have been a pleasant surprise both times, this year's performance in particular. And yes, he sounds strong in the new single too.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
My Megadeth re-journey continues with the 90s...

Risk
This album gets a lot of shit. And it is mostly undeserved. It's a good, sometimes great album with some of Dave Mustaine's best, most adventurous songwriting and easily his greatest overall vocal performance. There's a couple clunkers here and it's obvious that Dave wants something super radio friendly, but even the lamest songs are catchy as hell. You will never change my mind that this is a good record. It just shouldn't be a Megadeth record.
Rating - 7.2/10
Worst Songs - The Doctor is Calling, Seven
Best Songs - Wanderlust, Ecstasy

Cryptic Writings
Similarly to Risk, this one gets a lot of shit for being a product of the 90s and continuing to chase trends. That said, I think it's actually a stronger record than its predecessor and certainly better than most of their post-90s material. Despite the poppier tone, Dave has some of his most killer, most interesting riffs here (see Mastermind, Vortex, the entire spectular ending of She-Wolf). Though there are far stronger, and more metallic, songs here than on Risk, I actually think it's slightly worse. Still a solid record with a bunch of high marks.
Rating - 7.0/10
Worst Song - Have Cool, Will Travel is truly awful
Best Songs - She-Wolf, Vortex, Trust, The Disintegrators

Hidden Treasures
Technically a b-sides EP and not a true album, but figured I'd mention it anyway. It's got some pretty bad songs, two classics, and a couple average tunes. Not much to say about it, really.
Rating - 6.1/10
Worst Songs - Problems, the first three
Best Songs - Angry Again, 99 Ways to Die (both should be classic setlist staples) and the music in Diadems rules

Youthanasia
This one soured slightly over the years. I remember as a teen I rated this one almost as highly as Countdown, but boy was I wrong. It's plodding, it's repetitive in tone, and overall just not a stellar record. Don't get me wrong, there are still some classics and great songwriting here, but the album as a whole is pretty average. Nothing stands out as being terrible, but most of the songs live in the 7-8/10 zone and I wouldn't care to hear most of them in a live setting. As a collection of songs, it's consistently decent. I still rate it higher than most 'Deth records, but it certainly signals the end of their classic era. The first four songs rule, though.
Rating - 7.5/10
Worst Song - Black Curtains
Best Song - Addicted to Chaos

Countdown to Extinction
Easily my favorite Megadeth record. Sure, it has some flaws, but the overall quality of songwriting, performance, and production here is just fantastic. My only real complaint about this album is some of the lame choices made towards the end of the record, such as the horribly lame Psychotron or the ridiculous voice acting in Captive Honour. Mostly, this album fucking rips and represents one of the best attempts at changing a band's core sound while remaining pretty true to the same energy.
Rating - 8.7/10
Worst Songs - Psychotron, Captive Honour
Best Songs - Countdown to Extinction, Ashes in Your Mouth

Rust In Peace
I truly don't know what else can be said of this record. It is a classic. It defines and perfects the thrash metal genre and remains a crowning achievement in the Megadeth catalogue. It's every part the equal to Master of Puppets, and instrumentally it's far, far stronger. The riffs are exceptional, the performances even better, and it is just a joy to listen to every time. Does it have some lesser songs? Absolutely. But honestly, who cares?
Rating - 9.0/10
Worst Song - Poison Was The Cure
Best Songs - Holy Wars, Tornado of Souls
 

Boroking

In the mire of an ancient swamp
My Megadeth re-journey continues with the 90s...

Risk
This album gets a lot of shit. And it is mostly undeserved. It's a good, sometimes great album with some of Dave Mustaine's best, most adventurous songwriting and easily his greatest overall vocal performance. There's a couple clunkers here and it's obvious that Dave wants something super radio friendly, but even the lamest songs are catchy as hell. You will never change my mind that this is a good record. It just shouldn't be a Megadeth record.
Rating - 7.2/10
Worst Songs - The Doctor is Calling, Seven
Best Songs - Wanderlust, Ecstasy

Cryptic Writings
Similarly to Risk, this one gets a lot of shit for being a product of the 90s and continuing to chase trends. That said, I think it's actually a stronger record than its predecessor and certainly better than most of their post-90s material. Despite the poppier tone, Dave has some of his most killer, most interesting riffs here (see Mastermind, Vortex, the entire spectular ending of She-Wolf). Though there are far stronger, and more metallic, songs here than on Risk, I actually think it's slightly worse. Still a solid record with a bunch of high marks.
Rating - 7.0/10
Worst Song - Have Cool, Will Travel is truly awful
Best Songs - She-Wolf, Vortex, Trust, The Disintegrators

Hidden Treasures
Technically a b-sides EP and not a true album, but figured I'd mention it anyway. It's got some pretty bad songs, two classics, and a couple average tunes. Not much to say about it, really.
Rating - 6.1/10
Worst Songs - Problems, the first three
Best Songs - Angry Again, 99 Ways to Die (both should be classic setlist staples) and the music in Diadems rules

Youthanasia
This one soured slightly over the years. I remember as a teen I rated this one almost as highly as Countdown, but boy was I wrong. It's plodding, it's repetitive in tone, and overall just not a stellar record. Don't get me wrong, there are still some classics and great songwriting here, but the album as a whole is pretty average. Nothing stands out as being terrible, but most of the songs live in the 7-8/10 zone and I wouldn't care to hear most of them in a live setting. As a collection of songs, it's consistently decent. I still rate it higher than most 'Deth records, but it certainly signals the end of their classic era. The first four songs rule, though.
Rating - 7.5/10
Worst Song - Black Curtains
Best Song - Addicted to Chaos

Countdown to Extinction
Easily my favorite Megadeth record. Sure, it has some flaws, but the overall quality of songwriting, performance, and production here is just fantastic. My only real complaint about this album is some of the lame choices made towards the end of the record, such as the horribly lame Psychotron or the ridiculous voice acting in Captive Honour. Mostly, this album fucking rips and represents one of the best attempts at changing a band's core sound while remaining pretty true to the same energy.
Rating - 8.7/10
Worst Songs - Psychotron, Captive Honour
Best Songs - Countdown to Extinction, Ashes in Your Mouth

Rust In Peace
I truly don't know what else can be said of this record. It is a classic. It defines and perfects the thrash metal genre and remains a crowning achievement in the Megadeth catalogue. It's every part the equal to Master of Puppets, and instrumentally it's far, far stronger. The riffs are exceptional, the performances even better, and it is just a joy to listen to every time. Does it have some lesser songs? Absolutely. But honestly, who cares?
Rating - 9.0/10
Worst Song - Poison Was The Cure
Best Songs - Holy Wars, Tornado of Souls

Agree entirely about Risk which I was listening to only yesterday. It’s a great hard rock album with fantastic solos and one of Daves best vocal performances. It should have been a solo project perhaps, but I believe it’s stood the test of time and people can get a lot of enjoyment out of it as long as they don’t go in looking for metal.
 

KidInTheDark666

What's yours is mine and what's mine is mine too
Yeah, Risk is pretty decent but still definitely my least favorite Megadeth record. The only songs that I return to are Insomnia, Breadline, and of course Wanderlust.
 

Jer

The dotage of a dotard

I’ll be interested to see footage of Soto singing Megadeth songs live. As for the album, I’ll need to hear more to know if it’ll be worth my time or not.
 
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