Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Megadeth's "Super Collider"

I dont think it's any surprise to anybody that Megadeth happens to be my all-time favorite metal band. Everything about Megadeth's first four albums, to me, are near flawless. They definitely hit their peak with "Rust In Peace". And up until about 4 years ago, I was a 90's Megadeth snob ("Rust In Peace" excluded). I wouldn't touch the material with a blind man's cane. But one fateful intoxicated night, I decided to give the albums a shot. Lo and behold, I came to, and realized that there are some gems in said material. I've since come to terms that there are only 2 Megadeth records I DON'T like ("Risk" &"United Abominations"). Are the 90's albums full-fledged Megadeth records? No. But they do have a lot to offer in terms of melody, hooks, and Mustaine-isms. You're probably thinking, "Isn't this a "Super Collider" review?". Fuck you, it is. But with any conversation, you need a little context. Im giving you a lot.

Fast-forward to 2005, Megadeth (or MegaDave) made their return with "The System Has Failed". I loved it, and still do to this day. For me, it was a combination of classic Megadeth (see: "Kick the Chair & "Back In The Day") and 90's Megadeth (see: "Scorpion" & "Of Mice & Men"). Then came along "United Abominations"... A total dud. THEN came "Endgame". Awesome. Then came "Th1rt3en". Weak. I still like "Th1rt3en", but it's very weak in comparison to "Endgame". But there is a trend: Great, lame, Great, weak. "Super Collider" should be great, right? Im still not sure. It's weak now, but when "Endgame" first came out, I wasn't all too big on it. It wasn't until a few spins of the disc later that I realized that it was truly a return to form.

Without further ado... "Super Collider".

The first track is "Kingmaker". This was the second single release, and frankly, it should have been the first. This is typical fast Megadeth-fare. It's a step above being totally mediocre, but a notch below being great. I guess the classification would be "good"? The chorus is the best part of the song (the case with most songs off this album). There is also one guitar part ripped right out of "Sweating Bullets". You'll know it when you hear it.

Second is the title-track "Super Collider". And a VERY weak title-track it is. This was the first single released, and got a massive backlash upon release. And understandably so. I actually do like this song, but this is not the song to sell a Megadeth album to Megadeth fans. It may cause some Foo Fighter fans to open their wallets, though. It also has themes borrowed from "I'll Be There" which is strange to me considering the song is called "Super Collider". The lyrics have almost NOTHING to do with a super collider. With a title like "Super Collider", it should be fast, heavy and aggressive. AND... It's the title-track. When you have a weak title-track, you know have a problem. Having a great title-track that is hard to compete with is a good problem to have. Having a weak one that almost any song can compare to, not so much.

The third track is "Burn!". This track is fun, but nothing special. It opens with a fairly-forced guitar solo intro. The verse riff reminds me a lot of "Burning Bridges" (and no pun is intended). And the chorus may turn some people off due to the cheesy nature, but sometimes Mustaine can pull off cheese (see: Sweating Bullets).

Next up is "Built for War". This song pisses me off a bit. The vocal pattern used by Mustaine just doesn't work. He drags out the verses and injects "Built for War" between each one. The only section that works for me is the choir-like chant Mustaine does about midway into the song.

The fifth track is "Off The Edge". For the most part, the song is pretty generic. But it's the chorus that saves the song for me. The riff almost makes you want to dance, and the vocal pattern used by Mustaine compliments the riff as well.

"Dance In The Rain" is the sixth track, and is composed of classic Megadeth themes (lyrically). It's essentially about big brother, the monitoring of Americans, corporate handouts, etc. Nothing specifically new, but like I said, classic Megadeth themes. Musically it's interesting, but nothimg special. It does however, transition into a shredding-fast riff but doesn't take off from there. There isn't a coherent beat. It's mostly a series of fills. This is also the track that David Draiman from Disturbed does guest vocals on. Because every Megadeth fan was waiting for the day he would appear on a Deth album. All cunting aside, he's not even that noticeable. They have what appears to be a megaphone effect on his vocals that makes him sound distant. The further the better, the further the better.

Next we have "Beginning of Sorrow". Nothing about this song stands out. Like, at all. Maybe the unlikable chorus? I guess.

"The Blackest Crow" is the eighth track, and is an interesting one. Fucking Willie Nelson did guest banjo on this track. If I had to compare, this would be similar to "Have Cool Will Travel", except much darker. Does this achieve being a good Megadeth song? Im not too sure. But I do enjoy it due to the eerie cajun elements injected into the song.

"Forget to Remember" is track 9, and may quite possibly be my favorite track on the album. There are a lot of songs I can compare this to. Two of which are Megadeth's "Black Swan" and Sodom's "Buried In The Justice Ground". This isn't a particularly heavy or fast Megadeth song, but could easily be on "Youthanasia" or "Cryptic Writings". The chorus (again) is the most outstanding part of the song. Personally, I love it. It's almost uplifting an sad at the same time. Kudos.

And the last original song on the album is "Don't Turn Your Back". Not a strong song, but enjoyable. And yet, ANOTHER song in which the chorus is the outlier.

Lastly, we have a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat". And sadly, it's the second-best song on the album. Aside from it being a killer cover, Mustaine's vocals are what shine here. The chorus calls for a grunt-like vocal chant. And not only does Mustaine do it flawlessly, it's something you've never heard him do before either.

At this point, I wish I could say I loved "Super Collider", but I'd be lying. There aren't enough moments to warrant it being "really good". I kinda' like it, but that's about it. It has the same problem "Th1rt3en" did. Though, the one improvement over "Th1rt3en" was the production. Which is odd, because they went with the same producer this time around. It's also unfortunate about Dave Mustaine's vocals. On "Th1rt3en" and now "Super Collider", he growls more so than sings. And I am not going to fault him for it. Reason being, it's all due to the neck surgery he had done years back. They told him he would lose some singing ability, and that's evident. But what I WILL fault him with, is his lyric-writing. The previous two record's lyrics were so simple, predictable and cheesy. I know he still has it. Just look at "Endgame".
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