Megadeth - Dystopia // Rating: 10/10
Megadeth is one of those bands that just produces year after year, especially when it comes to putting out albums and new material for their legions of fans. Unlike many other bands that have been around this long Megadeth never seems to stop going into the studio and coming out with some really original and provocative music.
Dystopia, Megadeth's latest release, shows no signs that they will be slowing down anytime soon.
This album is the bands fourteenth LP since 1985's Killing is My Business...and Business is Good and like every album that has come in between those two previously mentioned albums, Dystopia is ripe with memorable riffs, catchy hooks and lyrical content that almost serves as a warning to open your eyes and take a look around at what you think is your everyday reality.
Beyond being a new LP from one of the pioneers of heavy metal's evolution in the late 1980's, Dystopia is also the first outing for new Megadeth members guitarist Kiko Loureiro from Brazialian band Angra and Chris Adler, drummer for Lamb of God.
Megadeth has survived many lineup changes in the past from the likes of jazz influnced guitarist Chris Poland to the seemingly much longed for days of guitarist Marty Friedmen and drummer Nick Menza. However, no matter what lineup changes occur in the band there is no huge change to the overall quality of the albums the band produces.
Dystopia starts off with The Threat is Real, and it is an opnerfull of high adeneline metal goodness and power. The songs builds into a frenzy of riffs guarentee to make you take notice and lyrical content that is reminesent of a song that would not sound out of place on past albums like United Abominations with the call to see a little bit beyond the veil of the mundane.
For an opening track, The Threat is Real is a great teaser for the journey that is about to come, from the solos to the rythem guitar that backs them, this one takes you for a really fast ride and embraces everything that was once called 'thrash metal.'
Title track Dystopia, which is getting some airplay on the radio at this time, definately has the chops to make a real impact, from the tightness of the musical performance to a hanting one word chorus over some really impressive leads, the title might be a bit depressing, but the groove in this one is more like a utopia for guitar and metal fans alike.
Fatal Illusion begins in a kind of musical madness, giving a sense of audible discomfort before the bass line takes you into another world, where fast rythem licks meld with some spot on drumming. Mix this in with some great lead riffs and you get a song that defientely keep your head nodding and ears atuned.
However this is one of my least favorote tracks on the album, not because the perfomance is not interesting , it just sounded to me like a bunch of admittedly awesome riffs strung together with no real sense of where it was trying to go.
Death From Within puts us back on course as it not only has a catchy chorus that should probably find itself on the radio on some point, but also has some of the best lead playing on a Megadeth track since the highly regarded Rust in Peace in 1990.
Bullet to the Brain benefits from so many little things that made the past thirty plus years of Megadeth so enjoyable. Great guitar playing and that sound that just comes forth whenever Dave Mustaine picks up a guitar.
That might sound like some kind of fan boyish praise, but if you are familar with the tone and nueances that make Megadeth what they are, you will feel right at home here.
Post American World is another of my favorite tracks off Dystopia, the song is clunky, heavy and dark from start to finish. It almost feels like a song that would not seem out of place on an early Slayer or Sepultura album. It is the deaprture track on the album, in the sense that the band seems to play with a slightly different style and an almost 'spooky' vibe.
Therefore it gets high praise for sounding so fresh and crafting something new from Megadeth's already huge pallete of sounds.
Poisonous Shadows shows some excellent palm muting technique with a chorus that does what Megadeth does so well, which is to successfully mix thrash metal staples with a well written chorus that makes the song not only catchy but accessible to even those who might not be the biggest fans of fast and heavy music (who are you people and what is wrong with you?).
Conquer or Die is an instrumental track that starts off with some nice acoustic guitar work before showcasing the musical writing talent currently in the band. It also calls back to those old thrash metal albums by bands like Testament or early Metallica where you could expect a instrumental or two thrown in with the mayhem and madness.
This is the kind of track you play for a friend or family member who says playing metal music takes no talent so they can feel embarrassed for life.
If the last track made your ears relax and soak up the sounds, Lying in State will wake you back up as it blasts in with chugging guitars that never stop. This is a track in the vein of Take No Prisoners or Blackmail the Universe from albums past and it is worthy of the comparisons.
Complex, heavy and well constructed, this is one that will stick out on this album ten years from now.
The Emperor is another of the tracks that stick out on Dystopia, although some may say it is too close to some of the material off of 2013's Super Collider, which some fans found to be too close to a more straight forward rock album which was not to everyone's taste.
Personally I love the simple yet driving blues based rhythm riffs and a great chorus that is so radio friendly that if this one does not find some kind ofairplay at some point then someone really missed a trick.
Dystopia wraps up with the cover of the Fear song Foreign Policy, which besides fitting the overall narrative theme of the album, is a decent cover of a song that shows yet another of Dave Mustaine's influences manifested in cover form, joining past covers of songs by the likes of the Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy.
For a band that has faced so much adversity behind the scenes, various falling outs and lineup changes and all while consistently putting out great new material since 1985, Dystopia once again shows why Megadeth is one of the best bands in metal both yesterday and today.
Dystopia is highly recommended for those with a love of metal, technical prowess and great production, you really need to have a copy of this album in your collection.