Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Megadeth - Endgame

Without a doubt, this was the single hardest album review for me to write.

I bought Megadeth's "Endgame" during the first month. For me, that's pretty rare; I actually tend to get it the day of the release. The main reason I held out was because of the lead-single off the album, "Headcrusher". I actually came close to just outright hating this song. To me, it was nothing more than Dave Mustaine doing some good guitar work, but destroying it with lyrics about getting your head crushed by some machine. It sounded a lot like the idea for "Thumb Hang" by Anvil for me.

On the first listen to the album, and by far the biggest flaw of the album, is the fact that you can virtually cherry-pick the riffs on this album from all of Dave's past work. Some "High Speed Dirt" mixed in with "Take No Prisoners", and a touch of "Mastermind"... basically a little bit off all of Megadeth's albums up to 1992. It was hard to get into these songs at first since I could basically play "name that riff".

That was then... this is now.

The best thing about this album is how quickly it actually grows on you. I wanted to start this review honestly, because as much as I love Dave for all he's done, I think it wouldn't be right to not acknowledge the flaws. But those flaws are actually minor in the end.

What you have is Megadeth not going back in time, but just releasing the album that was being built up since 2004's "The System has Failed" when Dave first came back to the world of metal. Every album since then has seen Dave and Co' step up their game and write fiercer and tougher songs. After 2007's masterpiece, "United Abominations", an album that rarely ever left my CD player OR my MP3 player, ANYTHING would fall in comparison to me on the first few listens.

The album starts of with "Dialectic Chaos", an instrumental in the vein of "Into the Lungs of Hell", but with an action-movie feel to it. It feels like this song could be theme song of "24" or Die Hard! Not only that, but the way it blends so well into "This Day We Fight!" is simply BRILLIANT! For all 3 minutes and 27 seconds, you're rushed through a nightmarish landscape of a battlefield, left to destroy the enemy "for what you believe". The same man who sung about the evil of men "turning plowshares into words" now cries out that we will "no longer turn the other cheek like a coward!" *Sniff* Our little man has grown up!

For more political intrigue, you have the title track "Endgame", a slow-moving, eerie, and electric track, based on the movie by Alex Jones. For those of you who don't know who Alex Jones is, he's a conspiracy theorist who believes the US Government was behind 9/11 and that the NWO is real. "Endgame" deals with a dystopian situation where all the nightmares explored in the movie come true and you must have the mark of the beast to live, and without proper ID a "legal US citizen can go to jail." But that's just silly! Wait, what's that about Arizona demanding papers to prove... you... oh.

Some of the best thrashers in 20 years are on here as well! "1, 320" is about drag racing, while "Bite the Hand" thrashes around with the best of them!

And "Headcrusher"? I take back every bad thing I said about it. It is BRILLIANT. The more you listen to it, the better it gets. It's a lot like "Crush 'em" only... well... BRUTAL!!!!!! Hell, if you don't wind up beating the crap out of someone while listening to it, you most likely weren't paying attention to it!!!

The album closes with "The Right to Go Insane". The dual guitars open the song with a setting sun and a man simply on the edge thanks to the economy going to pure hell. "How will I fact the day tomorrow/ If I can't Make it through today?", pleads Dave as he deals with staggering bills and a job that makes life tougher.

This album is great. To me, a great album is a lot like a great wine: It gets better with age.

The main reason I resisted writing a review for so long is because the hype around an image can easily blur how good the actual album itself is or isn't. Too often do reviews come out about an album is first released and is just a ringing endorsement and very little else. The album has been able to hold up easily on its own, and I dare say that, yes, it is better than "United Abominations". For me, on first listen, it had to compete against that, and the fact that one of my main loves of the album and this band is the political bent of it. Despite being disillusioned at first, they proved me wrong and I'm glad they did.

Folks, get this album. I'm giving it a 9 out of 10!

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