Megadeth's New Album Endgame Appraised Track-By-Track
, August 12th, 2009 13:11
Mountain-conquering man of metal Mark Eglinton gets stuck into Megadeth's new album Endgame and finds a surprising return to form from Dave Mustaine & co
A maelstrom of instrumental, technical thrash is never a bad way to kick any album off. With Andy Sneap (also responsible for Megadeth's 2007 effort United Abominations, a steaming pile of merde, and the kind that spirals round to form a delicate peak at that) behind the desk this lead track is tight, sharp and not so over indulgent that it swallows its own tail. It's a gallopingly complex track with lead breaks shearing off all over the place giving new guitarist Chris Broderick, whose name Dave Mustaine has been hollering from the rooftops to anyone who'll listen, an early chance to show his mettle. And the consensus is yes, he can shred it like a MOFO.
This Day We Fight
Similar in tempo to the opener but with a whole lot more menace, this is the kind of material that Megadeth generally do really well, but for whatever reason haven't come close to lately. Mustaine's voice, while spitting the usual luminous green bile, has a deeper, more commanding tone all round. It's vast improvement on recent albums where he tended to sound like he was passing five-pointed gall stones through his vas deferens. This wouldn't sound at all out of place on their seminal Rust In Peace and the guitar interplay is suitably awesome. It's Megadeth at their best and a real high-point. Oh, and Broderick once more plays like Marty Friedman never existed.
An epic intro dominated by police radio messages reporting a violent felony in progress. This is a more measured tempo, staccato riffer with a more traditional verse/chorus structure like, let's say, 'Trust' off Cryptic Writings. It's a story about a shooting spree, and actually pretty melodic stuff. The mid section becomes more complex with some manic soloing that's just the right side of guitar onanism. This is rapidly becoming this album's calling card, but on the whole it's solid if unspectacular stuff saved hugely by Sneap's seriously muscular production
Apparently the length in metres of the standard drag racing strip, this is that type of unusually unhinged thrash a bit like ' 502' off So Far, So Good, So What. It's all about fast cars and the riffs are similarly high-octane, making such dumbass subject matter almost acceptable.
Bite The Hand That Feeds
Typically bitter and twisted 'Deth song title. "Just like the mad dog, you bite the hand that feeds" says Mustaine. It's a mid-paced and crunchy riff reminiscent of their late 80s output but hardly anything revolutionary. Sure, the production gives it a modern feel but you can't help feeling that the fuel gauge warning light is going to flicker on soon in Mustaine's 'ideas' tank. Nevertheless, his own rhythm parts though are jaw-droppingly precise, and once again enhanced by the quality of the production.
Bodies Left Behind
This is better, a prime Megadeth medium range thrasher. Mustaine's lyrical tirade continues with snarled barks presumably aimed at personalities with whom he's disagreed in the past. The entire world, then. Like a lot of the tracks there is some space dedicated to showing off the hugely talented musical talent engaged here. As a result, the climax of the song is guitar Armageddon in the form of 'Mustaine vs Broderick' dueling in an ice-pyramid under the ocean, or something.
Doesn't Mustaine just love this kind of subject matter? A regime inflicting a brutal new world order on innocent civilians etc - it's probably a bit like being in his band. "Attention! Attention! All citizens report to your district detention centres" says the goon with the megaphone before we get a satisfyingly chuggy riffscape straight from the late 80s. Again the latter part of the song involves the accelerator being buried directly to the floor amid guitar hero meltdown.
The Hardest Part of Letting Go... Sealed With A Kiss
Oh shit, here we go; it starts like something off Risk, surely the band's all-time low point. Dave Mustaine should not do ballads as he sounds like his testicles are being fed through a garlic crusher. An unexpectedly grandiose sweep of strings like Guns 'n' Roses at their pompous worst introduces a heavier (thankfully) body of a frankly unusual track. Those who liked 'A Toute Le Monde' will probably love this, but thrash it certainly ain't.
Having been touted around for weeks now this, the first single, is a perfectly acceptable, straight-ahead metal track which in truth is one of the album's highlights; fast, power-metal that's a bit like 'Painkiller' era Judas Priest. It's as uncompromising and unintelligent as the title suggests. Mustaine's snarl is the key here as only he could deliver this with such vitriol, and there's more intense playing too as he and Broderick trade lead breaks. It's a welcome return to no-nonsense, well produced technical metal and a good advert for where Megadeth are at at this point.
How The Story Ends
Track ten is a long time to wait for what is one of the album's killer tracks. It's thrashy and hook-heavy with some totally killer dual guitar work dialled in as well. It's reassuring that there are strong tracks lurking at the end of an album like this and it gives the disc an air of consistency that some of Megadeth's recent albums have totally lacked.
Nothing Left To Lose
An ominously rumbling bass intro ushers in a rather predictable and plain riff that makes a lot of fuss about going precisely nowhere. Yet true to form, Megadeth rescue the track: the tempo builds to a frenetic conclusion of both track and a surprisingly sturdy album.