Megadeth - Endgame (2009) Feb 24, 2010 0:04:26 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Feb 24, 2010 0:04:26 GMT -5
Now that is a great Megadeth album.
After several albums that were either good or just OK, Dave Mustaine and company have finally delivered the album that Megadeth fans have been wanting to hear for the last 15+ years. Endgame really is the end of years of frustration over an underachieving band. While none of Megadeth's albums over that span were bad, none of them were up to the standards of Peace Sells or Rust In Peace or Countown to Extinction (or even Youthanasia, for that matter).
Endgame is up to those standards.
And not just in the songwriting and performing departments, either. Sonically, Endgame is the best produced Megadeth album since Youthanasia, and arguably since Countdown. Mega Producer Andy Sneap has become one of the very best in the Metal business. He is the Max Norman for the 2000's and into the new decade. The guitar tones and the mix on Endgame are fantastic and Sneap deserves a lot of credit for his work on the album.
Mustaine also deserves credit for taking his songwriting back up a notch or two, back to where his songwriting quality was in the early and mid 90's (and arguably adding some of the mid 80's in there as well).
The album opens with a great stage setter in, "Dialectic Chaos," which is a great two and a half minute instrumental intro, more or less, featuring some fantastic soloing from both Dave Mustaine and current Mega Axeman Chris Broderick. It leads into, "This Day We Fight," which easily could have been on Peace Sells. It is fast, it is heavy, and it features Dave's trademark frantic rhythm guitar parts (which are almost like leads, in a way). It's got enough melody to be accessible, but it's fast, thrashy, and heavy enough to please fans of the heaviest side of Metal. After that 1-2 punch it's pretty clear that Dave means business (and business is going to be good).
"44 Minutes," is more of a Countdown meets Youthanasia type song. An upper mid-tempo song with plenty of great meodies played with brutal aggression, this is another track that holds up well against just about anything that Dave has ever done previously. And just in case anyone was getting worried that the album might veer into more mainstream territory (like Youthanasia, which was in my estimation a very underrated and underappreciated album), Dave comes roaring back with, "1,320'," which is another uptempo, fairly heavy song(although not thrashy) that features some really nice changes. Again, this song would have fit well on Countdown or even Rust In Peace and held up as one of the better songs on either album.
"Bite the Hand," brings the band back to the fast, but not thrashy ground that works so well for Megadeth. The melody that separates Megadeth from all the pretenders is present on this song in a big way. Even the riffs have strong melodies - without losing any of their power. (Actually, the melody tends to gives the riffs even more power.) "Bite," is another winning song, as is the chugging, moodier, "Bodies." Mustaine is extremely skilled in writing good heavy but melodic songs like this that have good musical hooks as well as good vocal hooks, with a strong sense of metallic groove.
Dave gets extremely political with, "Endgame," and regardless of your political persuasions it's hard not to appreciate the more progressive metal leanings of the song. Not really Prog Metal, just leaning that way - it's complex and filled with changes and good riffs.
With, "The Hardest Part of Letting Go... Sealed With a Kiss," we get another two part song. The first part is a moody acoustic piece, which works as a solid intro, and the second part is a galloping song that again combines power and melody and some occasional Gothic Metal riffs (not too far removed from early Rainbow music from Ritchie Blackmore). The intro is repeated at the end, which gives the song a tremendous sense of dynamics.
Speaking of dynamics, the whole flow of the album has a great sense of dynamics, never falling into a rut stylistically. After the previous song's heavy reliance on melody we get the fast and crushing, "Head Crusher," which is another trip back to a time when peace sold well. (But who was buying?) Heavy, aggressive, with a couple tempo changes, this is another example of how to write a great Megadeth song.
And, truth be told, there isn't a clunker on the album as the last two songs are just as strong as the rest of the tracks on Endgame. "How the Story Ends," is another grinder that marries catchy (but heavy) riffs and solid melodies. It has an effective chugging Metal groove that almost forces the listener to move something (bob your head up and down a bit, air drum, tap your foot - it's hard not to move something while listening to it).
Ending Endgame with, "The Right to Go Insane," Dave chooses not to go out with a thrashy track, but instead with a more Black Sabbath-esque ("Zero the Hero") type of riff and groove. Heavy, somewhat dark, melodic, atmospheric - this song is another great track that closes out the album in style.
This is probably the album that should have followed up Cryptic Writings. It is what the long time Mega-fans have wanted to hear from the band, and it holds up well against most of the best material that Megadeth has released in the past.
After several decent attempts over the last decade that didn't quite hit the mark, Endgame hits the target dead center. Bullseye.