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New Music Review: MEGADETH “Dystopia”

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REVIEW – MEGADETH’s highly-anticipated fifteenth album in just over 30 years dropped on January 22, 2016 on the Tradecraft (via Universal) record label. “Dystopia”, produced by Dave Mustaine and Chris Rakestraw, is the first by the band since 2004’s “The System Has Failed” to not feature longtime drummer Shawn Drover and also the first not to feature guitarist Chris Broderick since 2007’s “United Abominations”. These roles have been filled by Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro, respectively. In 2014, drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick announced their resignations from the band, and they would later emerge in a new band, Act of Defiance.

Debuting at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, “Dystopia” is their second highest charting album after “Countdown to Extinction”, which peaked at number two in 1992.  There was some urgency felt with this album; reportedly, Mustaine felt a sense of mortality after learning about the death of Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman. 2014 was especially rough for MEGADETH; bassist David Ellefson’s brother passed away from cancer, Mustaine’s Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother-in-law was reported missing, and her remains were discovered some months later, both of which resulted in limited concert appearances and tours, and Drover and Broderick left the band, giving Mustaine and Ellefson more time for writing. Despite the setbacks, MEGADETH was determined to continue on, and proceed with writing and pre-production of “Dystopia”, originally set for released in late 2015. There was initial speculation that Mustaine and Ellefson might try to reunite the Rust in Peace-era lineup, although there was no statement from the band on the matter. It later came to light that the band had in fact been in discussions with former members Nick Menza (drums) and Marty Friedman (guitar), but were reportedly unable to reach an agreement.

“Dystopia” is a return to the more aggressive style of writing that catapulted MEGADETH to superstardom all those years ago, even if it does contain two cover songs (“Foreign Policy” by FEAR, and “Melt The Ice Away” by BUDGIE), and it is a vast improvement from the last two albums, “Super Collider” and “Thirteen”, but it didn’t blow me away like some of their other releases did, and it didn’t take away from the fact that, after listening to it, all I wanted to do was dig out their old albums and listen to those. Perhaps after listening a few more times, it’ll grow on me.

megadethdystopiacoverMEGADETH “Dystopia”

01 The Threat Is Real 4:22
02 Dystopia 5:00
03 Fatal Illusion 4:16
04 Death From Within 4:48
05 Bullet To The Brain 4:29
06 Post American World 4:25
07 Poisonous Shadows 6:02
08 Look Who’s Talking 4:14
09 Conquer Or Die 3:33
10 Lying In State 3:34
11 The Emperor 3:54
12 Last Dying Wish 3:49
13 Foreign Policy 2:28
14 Melt The Ice Away 3:28
15 Me Hate You 3:44

Total time: 62:06

Megadeth is:
Dave Mustaine – Lead vocals, lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars
David Ellefson – Bass guitar and backing vocals
Kiko Loureiro – Lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, Piano
Chris Adler – Drums

Rick Schwartz
Rick has reviewed new music on a personal and professional level, while building his ever expanding music collection, since a very young age.
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