The new Megadeth album is really an odd phenomenon. Riding the wave of contempt that has grown steadily following a series of boneheaded moves made by vocalist, singer, songwriter, band figurehead and mastermind Dave Mustaine aka Megadave. It seems like everyone in the metal community has been gearing up to hate this record. And for good reason, it pretty much sucks. But not as hard as everyone is saying it does. I would never argue that Dave Mustaine hasn’t made a joke out of himself. Right wing assertions of conspiracies led by Obama and the rest of the government and the born again Christian, creationist ideology he’s recently grown to accept and endorse are batshit insane. In this instance I really don’t care about tolerating other opinions, Dave’s gone off the deep end. I mean he was already a pretty serious douche to begin with but he’s easily topped that in the last couple of years. I came into my first run through of “Super Collider” wanting to dislike it, but for the sake of the objectivity of the review, I’m going to compare the newest Megadeth CD to the band’s previous work and the modern work of Big 4 contemporaries to present an accurate representation of the worth of “Super Collider.”
First I’ll start with the easiest comparison, Dave’s vocals. They’ve always sucked and always will. Dave should never, ever, ever, ever, ever been the singer of Megadeth. If Mustaine left on his own accord, rather than being booted from Metallica, he never would have entered a competition of egos with Hetfield and never would have been the singer of a band. And that’s how it should have been. Objectively as a vocalist, Dave sucks. End of story. But he really doesn’t suck that much harder on “Super Collider” than he did on any of his other albums. I really tried to hear if there was a significant difference and I just don’t. If his talents have slipped with age, it’s certainly not nearly as significant a slip as seen in the vocals of James Hetfield and probable equal to that of Tom Araya’s. It’s not exactly fair to fault “Super Collider” for its shitty vocals if you haven’t faulted classics like “Rust in Peace” or “Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” for them as well. And if you have, well feel free to keep bitching.
Continuing in the same realm, I’ll look at the lyrics. Once again, Dave’s lyrics have always sucked hard. They’ve been corny, fairly basic, and save for a few possible exceptions, devoid of any lyrical or intellectual value aside from basic political sentiments. Let’s look at two examples of lyrics from the band’s first album, “Killing IS My Business … And Business Is Good!” First from the song ‘Loved to Death’: Your body’s empty now as I hold you, Now you’re gone I miss you, But I told you I remember bad times more than good, There’s no coming back even if we could, I loved you to death’ and from the title track: “I am a sniper, always hit my mark, Paid assassin, working after dark, Looking through the night using infra-red, My target on you, aimed at your head, ten thousand up front, ten thousand when I’m through, And I know just what to do, and ya know I’ll do it too”. This is the same level of corny suck found on “Super Collider” and every other album of Megadeth’s career. And honestly Metallica and Slayer have probably seen more significant drop offs in lyrical quality. Their lyrics are still miles ahead of Dave’s lyrics, but Dave has probably been more consistent at sucking lyrically than the other two bands have been at being awesome.
Now for the same analysis of the riffs. Like any metal band, Megadeth is a riff orientated band. The riffs are what often stick in the listener’s head. Solid riffs are what define an album, especially in a thrash album. In this department Megadave has definitely slipped. The riffs aren’t nearly as well defined, aren’t as refined or perfected and aren’t as catchy and solid as on previous Megadeth releases. But there are some actually solid riffs on this album. Songs like “Kingmaker”, “Burn!” and “Don’t Turn Your Back…” feature riffs that are actually pretty solid. And honestly, I really dig “The Blackest Crow”, banjo and all. Compared to the Big 4 bands, (I have never listened to a full Anthrax album so I have nothing to say about them if you haven’t noticed yet) Megadeth has dropped off in the songwriting department on this album more than Metallica and Slayer did on their recent albums. But both of those bands definitely are not as great as they once were. But look at it this way. Metallica has released two albums since the start of the new millennium. Slayer has released three. Megadeth has released 6. That’s 3x Metallica’s output and 2x Slayer’s. More does not equal better, but fans of Megadeth may certainly be able to deal with some drop off in the quality in the songwriting considering the much shorter wait in between albums.
Aesthetically I’ve read some criticism of this album. I’ve heard some people accuse Megadeth of selling out with this album and I’ve definitely seen it criticized for being more of a heavy hard rock album than a thrash metal album. Well once again, that’s Megadeth. The opening riff of “Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!” would fit right in on “Super Collider.” This album, just like every other album toes a line between hard rock and thrash. Megadeth is not the same kind of thrash as Slayer or Metallica. It’s a little different, a little more hard rock. That’s the Megadeth signature sound, take it or leave. Yes this album isn’t as heavy as previous albums, but it certainly isn’t a “Load” or “ReLoad” type of drop off. And I happen to accept and enjoy those two albums by Metallica. “Super Collider” is not weak enough to be completely ruined. I don’t even need to discuss the changes in style undergone by other members of the Big 4, it’s just too obvious.
So that’s my comparison based objective, I tried at least, review of “Super Collider.” Megadeth, like all music is polarizing and subjective. Dave’s personal antics have done nothing to help his case and I think he is to blame for a lot of the negative publicity and criticism of the newest album. It certainly does not stand with the Megadeth classics, but it is not worthy of some of the extremely low ratings I’ve been seeing.
To fairly rate this I’ve decided to split my ten rating points in half. 5 are available based on my opinion as a non-fan of Megadeth and a review that ignores all circumstance and Megadeth history. In this category, “Super Collider” gets a 1.5 out of 5. Now for the other 5 I approximated what I think a diehard Megadeth fan would think of this album based on what I, a Metallica and Slayer fan, think of other circumstantially comparable albums deserve. Here I’ve given “Super Collider” a 3.5/5. This gives the album a total of 5/10. “Super Collider” is worth checking out if you’re a Megadeth fan, and worth ignoring if you’re not.