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Megadeth – Endgame: Review

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

In exactly two weeks (September 15), the highly acclaimed thrash metal band, Megadeth, is due to release their twelfth album. Since the reformation of Megadeth, they have released two albums; this is to be their third. It consists of eleven tracks, summing up to approximately 45 minutes. Though this upcoming record is entitled Endgame, it is doubtful that this album will mark the end of Megadeth.

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The Music (rating: A-)

  1. Dialectic Chaos (Instrumental)
  2. This Day We Fight!
  3. 44 Minutes
  4. 1, 320
  5. Bite the Hand
  6. Bodies
  7. Endgame
  8. The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed With a Kiss
  9. Headcrusher
  10. How the Story Ends
  11. The Right to Go Insane

On a side-note, I personally feel “How the Story Ends” would be a much better conclusion to the record. But moving along…

Endgame, as you would guess, is a monster guitar album. In this collection, you will find a collection of hard-hitting riffs and blistering solos supported by heavy basslines and lots of double bass. However, do not expect anything beyond standard regarding the vocals. By no means is this a typical thrash album, but it is a predictable one. It basically embraces the standard conventions of thrash metal, but executes them at a high level.

Although it is good, this album does not touch their second release, Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?, and is not even in the same ballpark as their masterpiece, Rust in Peace. To Testament fans, this could be seen as the Formation of Damnation of Megadeth. Though Endgame is much heavier than it’s predecessor, United Abominations, they are relatively equal in quality. Both very good albums, though neither with enough spark to elevate it to a higher ground. Between the two, United Abominations had a greater vocal performance, but Endgame had more creative riffs. However, if you’re love for metal is rooted strictly in its heaviness, you will find yourself something special in this album.

But as stated earlier, there were issues with the vocals on this album. And I do recognize that Dave Mustaine’s snarly voice can be unappealing to many. That, however, is not the issue at hand. In this album, there is absolutely nothing special about the vocals in terms of range, control, phrasing, or dynamics. With more effort in this area, this album could have been what I would consider a Megadeth classic to be. At their concert a few months ago, Mustaine could sing the classics perfectly. So I am led to believe that he simply does not have as much care for the vocals in his songs anymore. This could possibly be due to the fact that Megadeth has been constantly referred to as a guitar band and he sees that the vocals will make little difference to the appreciation of the music by the fan-base. Or it could be because his music has been getting heavier and this is his own way of making the vocals more complimentary. Whatever the reason, I am not impressed.

However, the instrumentals are quite impressive. Shawn Drover, although not groundbreaking, does a great drum performance on this album. In general, his beats and fills are rather predictable for thrash, but he does show himself to be more capable than the standard drummer. The same could be said about the bassist, James LoMenzo. He is rather impressive throughout the record, but I would not say there was anything too special about the bass. But of course, the two are flawless in their duties as Megadeth band members: guitar support.

The guitar in this album is phenomenal! It is truly amazing how, after over twenty years, Megadeth’s guitar work is still able to excite the mind in ways unimaginable. The riffs are graced with such mastery and creativity, as well as diversity. They are among the best that Megadeth has had to offer since Rust in Peace. The guitar solos are mind-blowing as well, making this album a triumphant debut for the new guitarist, Chris Broderick. Still, he is unable to match the likes of former guitarists, Marty Friedman and Chris Poland. Despite being an awesome guitarist, I doubt Broderick will be able to impact a Megadeth album as strongly as the former two. Nonetheless, the guitaring by Mustaine and Broderick is quite stellar.

Having a guitarist (Mustaine) as the primary songwriter, Megadeth is, and always has been, a heavily guitar-based band. For this reason, it is not necessary for the other band members to display extraordinary musical talent. If they are able to compliment the guitar parts to the best of their ability, then they are able to be a part of what could be recognized as a masterpiece record. Where the bass and drums did a fine job of this, the vocals were quite lackluster. For this reason, I doubt this album will be universally renowned as a masterpiece.

Overall, this was record was very well done. It is not a must have (depending on your standards), but it is worth listening to. The guitars were excellent and the support instruments strongly emphasized the excellence of the guitars. Apart from the vocals, I have no complaints about this album. Thought it won’t be seen as a classic, Endgame can be recognized as a strong effort as well as a sign that Megadeth is not nearing the end of their game.

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  1. Colin
    September 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    The Right To Go Insane is sweeeeeet

  2. Adrian
    September 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Regardless, looks like this one is a must for me, can’t wait!

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