When one of the biggest thrash bands in the world releases a new album, a reviewer (like me) is of course enthusiastic to listen to and write something about it. Next time, however, I hope that the record company will give us the opportunity to listen to real music files instead of streaming. For me it is harder to judge now how good it really sounds, but I will give it a try.
The 15th album already with three releases during the last five years. Dave has been rather productive lately, and this could have a lot to do with his healthier behaviour and seeing the ‘light’. Since his split with Metallica, he has been angry about a lot of things and he felt betrayed by the band. The last few years it seems he has given all the negative issues a place and finally found some rest. After the average albums ‘Thirteen’ (2011) and ‘Super Collidor’ (2013), I have to say that with ‘Dystopia’, the band (Dave) is really back. The songs are much better written and it all sounds better arranged – the pleasure is back!
On this album there are again some new faces. After the release of ‘Super Collider’, Chris Broderick (guitar) and Shawn Drover (drums) left the band. As new guitarist, Mustaine recruited Kiko Loureiro (ex-Angra) and he asked Lamb Of God’s Chris Adler to fill in the drumming parts. With an excellent drummer like Chris, there sure isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to the rhytmn parts. Almost everything is better than on both predecessors. The music sounds very fresh, they sound again like some young guys who have to prove that they are the next big thing and they are gonna blow all the other new thrash bands away. Even Dave Mustaine of whose voice I am not a real fan, sounds better than ever. A little less nasal and throttled (for me he always sounded a bit like he was taking a shit while recording his singing). Also the cooperation with new guitarist Chris works out very fine.
The album starts with Arabian female singing. Immediately, the sharp and aggressive riffing takes over and the first good song, “The Threath Is Real”, is a fact. It really sounds like an old school thrash song and together with “Bullet To the Brain” and “Lying In State”, it is one of the heaviest tracks. “Dystopia” is an up-tempo track, not only the guitar work and solos make this song interesting, but also the sudden tempo change halfway. Next song “Fatal Illusion” starts like a heavy Machine Head track and combines old school with more modern thrash. Variety is again a key word for this track, variety in tempo and in style. Other songs that catch my attention are the epic song “Poisonous Shadows” and the almost instrumental track “Conquer Or Die”. The first one is a non-typical Megadeth song; it sounds threatening and a bit dramatic. Like on the entire album, also here Chris Adler underlines that he is the perfect drummer for the job. “Foreign Policy” is a cover from a 70/80’s LA hardcore punk band called Fear. I don’t know the original, but with the biting vocals of Dave the song isn’t just a filler.
So far I have been very positive about ‘Dystopia’. Isn’t there anything wrong about the album then? No, not a lot. Of course I am still not a real fan of Dave’s singing, but he sounds better than ever. The other little mistake in my eyes is that with “The Emperor”, they added one weaker track. Although it contains a nice solo, I think the album would be better off without it.
After Slayer, Megadeth is the next of the ‘big four’ to show that they still know how to write a good album – the first signs and sounds of the new Anthrax album are also very positive. Can the biggest of the four do the same in 2016? I have my doubts….
01. The Threath Is Real
03. Fatal Illusion
04. Death From Within
05. Bullet To the Brain
06. Post American World
07. Poisonous Shadows
08. Conquer Or Die!
09. Lying In State
10. The Emperor
11. Foreign Policy
Playing time: 46:41
Release date: 22 january 2016