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Megadeth | Dystopia

Label:  Tradecraft/UMG
Release Date: January 22, 2016
Rating:  3.5 out of 5
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February 01, 2016
By Richard Ahlgrim
Thrash metal band Megadeth released, Dystopia, their 15th studio album on January 22.  After the band’s drastic musical change seen in their previous album, Super Collider, this album is a nice shift back toward the heavy, thrash roots of Megadeth.   The variety of musical changes that have occurred throughout Megadeth’s years have been primarily caused by the assortment of members they have gained and lost.  Dystopia features Megadeth’s founding members Dave Mustaine (vocals and guitar) and David Ellefson (bass) along with Lamb of God’s drummer, Chris Adler, and Angra’s guitarist, Kiko Loureiro.

follows suit with many past Megadeth albums and contains a lot of political conspiracies and end of the world talk.  Most of these political views are cryptically worded in the lyrics which makes them not blatantly obvious.  Although Mustaine’s voice has gotten rougher and deeper, the vocals in this album sound great!  One part of this album that I disliked was that many of the songs sound similar and aren’t memorable.  The few songs that were memorable included: Fatal Illusion, Poisonous Shadows, and Conquer or Die.

The album begins with “The Threat is Real”, which starts off with Middle Eastern sounding singing.  This same Middle Eastern sound is found throughout past Megadeth albums, such as Rust In Pieces.  This song is a perfect example of the very political meanings disguised by vague lyrics.  Although Mustaine never says who the threat is in the song, the Middle Eastern sounding intro can be used to make a simple guess.  “The Threat is Real” was released as a single, along with “Fatal Illusion”, before the album was released.

“Fatal Illusion” has some great guitar riffs and fantastic drumming, but the reason this song really stands out among the rest is its bass solo.  This entire album is filled with intricate, fast, and heavy guitar solos backed by Adler’s remarkable drumming.  The huge amount of solos and lead guitar riffs create a bit of a jumble and causes most of the album to be remembered as great riffs and small pieces, instead of memorable entire songs.   The piece of “Fatal Illusion” that is memorable is the amazing bass riff near the beginning.  Many bands don’t include bass solos, and Megadeth rarely features one, which makes “Fatal Illusion” stand out.

The next memorable song on Dystopia is “Poisonous Shadows”.   For this song Megadeth changed up the sound of the album by including an orchestra.  This is my favorite song on the album for a variety of reasons, first being the orchestra; the orchestra is very prominent in this song, but still doesn’t over power the heavy, thrash feeling of a Megadeth song.  Although “Poisonous Shadows” might be a bit slow for some Megadeth fans, the lower intensity of this song allows for Mustaine’s voice to sound smoother and closer to how he sounded in earlier albums.  Another reason this song is memorable is the lyrics; they are thought provoking and strangely haunting, which fits Megadeth well.

Following “Poisonous Shadows” is the next best song on the album, “Conquer or Die”.  “Conquer or Die” is the only instrumental song on the album and begins with a soft guitar intro which explodes into a heavy instrumental piece.  Instrumental songs aren’t common on Megadeth albums which cause this song to stand out more than any other on the album.  “Conquer or Die” is one of the most interesting songs to listen to and contains some of the best guitar riffs in the album.  Due to its lack of words, I can only make assumptions on the meaning of “Conquer or Die”.  From what I can tell, it’s about how quick, crazy, and terrifying conquering a new land is, which is shown through the dark, heavy guitar riffs and fast paced solos.

The last songs that stand out are the final two songs on Dystopia, “Foreign Policy” and “Melt The Ice Away”.  Both of these songs fit the album and Megadeth’s style perfectly and would have blended in with the rest of the album, except that they are both covers.  “Foreign Policy” was originally by Fear, a punk band from Megadeth’s hometown of Los Angeles, California.  “Melt The Ice Away”, was originally by Budgie, which is seen as one of the first heavy metal bands.  Based upon who they covered, these two songs seem very thought out and fit seamlessly with the rest of the album.

Dystopia was filled to the brim with fast paced, amazing guitar solos, heavy bass, and great drumming, but lacked in variety and lyrics.  I believe that Megadeth’s current line up of members work very well together and put out a great album!  Megadeth earned their spot as one of thrash metal’s Big Four and Dystopia lives up to Megadeth’s legend.   
Facebook Comments: Keep 'em clean folks!
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