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Monday, October 24, 2011

Megadeth - Thirteen Th1rt3en review

Year : 2011
Genre : Thrash Metal
Label : Roadrunner Records
Origin : United States
Rating : 6.5 / 10

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I like Megadeth and it will remain so even if the band decides to put out records with silent sermons on them from now on. Dave Mustaine is the creator of relentless bursts of brilliant songs, - let alone solos, you can have much of Symphony of Destruction's solo, but you can never have enough of it - and maybe it is just "normal" - bleh! - to put out an above average record from time to time. I can imagine that many fans will flame this LP right from the cover of it, stating : "The cover art, with the notorious Megadeth lich giving you its back, marks a conscious detachment from the meta-expectation resonated by the fanbase, as a hive entity. Oh yeah? Then let me rebel on high octane, because, frankly, I think the cover art is great, but I mainly am here for the music. So, let's see what Megadeth brings you with 13 in 11.

Opening track Sudden Death sounds to be an OK enough-type starter declaration, which does not at all mean that you must miss out on the profound sings of anti-inspiration the song's fabric exhibits. Notice the anatomy of the main riff. A cheap construction, to be honest. Fret abuse committed in the name of All Things Chromatic, only the "name" itself failed to accept the invitation, making this pneumatic computer riff pack everything but a playful function.

Public Enemy No. 1 is the hilarious anti-Rocky song of the '80s, and it has charm written all over it, just don't remove the clothes from this one. A verse with an interesting, odd rhythmic structure in the vocals is the peak moment of the track in my opinion, yet the chorus, unfortunately, is not all that tight. If the actual chorus would be a pre to introduce a catharsis the song in my opinion is lacking of, then I'd be sold without question. But right now, this is a song with a much more muscular verse than it can offer as its chorus. The chorus conveys a feeling of restraint, whereas you'd expect the mofo the song is about to embark on his rampant run. Absolutely great, classic Megadeth verse, and strange chorus. It reminds me of the staggering song Moto Psycho from Megadeth, which features a chorus that sounds surprisingly scant and uninspired to me, compared to the standards of the band. "Every! Body! izza! Moto! Psycho!" Me too, me too!!

The next track, Whose Life It Is is directed to the angst-fueled metalcore generation, probably. Dave Mustaine's start when he sings : "ooooooo" is kind of disturbing, I think. The song itself is a risk free microwave thrash statement, and its tools to garner the appreciation of your angst-ridden nervous system are limited down to the act of abusing good willed power chords who have no sin regarding the matter at all. It is an abuse in the sense that the melody on top of them is very lackluster, in my opinion. Dave asks with a pretended adolescent angst : "Hey, just whose life is it, anyway?"

Hey, just whose record is this, anyway?

Simplistic thrash mechanics, terribly submissive lyrics. Dave submits to the metalcore angst. "You hate the way I wear my clothes, you hate my friends and where we go, just whose life is it, anyway?" ... and so on and so on. Just whose lie is it, anyway? A present from Dave Mustaine to the apotheosis of metalcore frustration. Dave. YOU : don't need to do THIS.

Next track, We The People has this political rant-theme going on. Retrograde TV show metal riffage, with lyrics coming through the comfortably constrained armchair-rebellion register. The song has a frightening zoo metal vibe at its core, and, if you would be listening to this track with pop instruments, this one would be a Boney M piece the band - Boney M - decided it is not worth including on an LP after given a second thought for the matter. The song ends with a tight, short instrumental interlude, but this is a cheap attempt to bloat the virtually non-existent raw charms of a pretty pale delivery.

Guns, Drugs & Money starts out frighteningly enough, because a song with such a title invites grim suspicion right away. Fortunately, this caveat is eliminated on spot, because this song is one of the more stable installments. My most fond sentiment of it is that of a cute detective cartoon riff, on top of which Dave is singing : "Guuhhhhhuuns, Dhruuuugs, and muhhhhhhhuuuneeey". Oh, man. What about the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits, the tits??


Never Dead starts out with atmospheric civil war drums, complimented later on by the first truly proper moment of the spin, finally! Superb rumble and killer "we don't give a shit"-grade riffing prepare the sonic domain for a classic Megadeth chorus that has that evil catchy factor. Tight verse, superb chorus, and an elegant instrumental break in the middle. A thoroughly fine piece with great pacing all over it.

With the next track, New World Order, Dave Mustaine offers his input on the Illuminati. Hello, Hollow One! The song has a restrained, tasteful structure that revolves around three primal sequences, and the short instrumental jam that lasts from the middle to the end, makes this one a better looking track than the majority of its direct predecessors.

Next track, Fast Lane, is another variation on Dave Mustaine's rampantly immense speed fixation. You can't pick the speed theme and crash and burn, pha. The riffing is sexily old school and orthodox, finds great pleasure in the resonance of the continuous chug. Stoic verse, a simple but truly efficient chorus both guarantee another acceptable routine cabaret thrash track. With 20 seconds remaining from the song, the band engages full power efficiency via a furious tempo to wrap the piece up, and this technique - a technique is a trick that works - to make you believe that you have listened to radically intense music, has no other chance than to work indeed, so there you have your 20 seconds of crazily intense music included on this release. Rinse, repeat, my love.

The track called Black Swan could be an OK-type Megadeth song that has that bluesy-, moody tint in its elegantly infectious melodies. Oh wait. I lied. Not entirely. In nature, elements of this song are sewn of the same exquisite fabric that superb statements like She-Wolf or 1000 Times Goodbye are composed of, yet, other elements of it are pretty rigid, and sound more like routine architectural works than legit sonic reflections of inner lamentations.

Wrecker unleashes a sense of restrained, playful female-bashing, and it is all right, as long as you adore women as the most peculiar creatures on this planet, and I'm pretty sure Dave Mustaine does that, too. Women rule, you know, and they are sexier than you. The song is an integral whole in character, yet its fabric is very simplistic, in fact, it is safe to say that it is rudimentary. The riffing your hear in this song is the background music for a Nascar DVD's menu selector feature, for a tender fuck's sake!

Millenium of the Blind reminds me of Guns 'N Roses' Civil War, only that song is more balanced and has much more weighty character. This track has a teenager-metal chorus, primarily assuaged by simplistic 4/4 pummeling , which is toppled by Dave's heavily processed narrative. Another track in the record's body that offers very limited supply of things worth revisiting, in my opinion.

In Deadly Nightshade, Dave Mustaine is your evil circus master in this archetypical cabaret thrash metal installment, and he invites you to enter a world only the brave and determined dares to frequent as a valiant visitor, or something like that. Once again, very standard, monotone 4/4 pummeling with unforgiving powerchord abuse, kicked in the ass for good measure by the ugly foot of a pale, enervated chorus. This song reeks Motley Crue from 1989, and I'm pretty sad about that, too.

Titular track, 13, is a spiritual rant about the paradigm of Nietzschean eternal return, but, if you do not feel like losing your mind right now, - which is a terrible thing to lose - then know that the titular song remains a risk free ballad at the end of the album. As for its main mechanics, it mainly revolves around a shy chromatic melody with which Dave's vocal lead collides in a sober, but not at all too exciting fashion. The mid section brings you TV show riffing for some bars, then, you will get the chorus in standard mid tempo. By that time, chances are that you will be asleep already, so, who cares, anyway. With a core riff that has quite limited capacity to intrigue in rapid succession, the titular track also tells much of this album. This song, 13, would have been the track you lose attention during on a stronger Megadeth release. At personal perceived value, Megadeth's latest has many solid moments, - none I currently perceive as instant kills - and a tad too much of the zoo metal nonsense to regard it as another true gem in the band's already timeless resume. The album feels a bit unbalanced. Whenever the band engages mid tempo on this album, you have that detective cartoon vibe, I think. Well, 13 is not always the lucky number, and the lucky number is not always 13.

Rating : 6.5 / 10

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  1. ahhh shit. Hopefully it's better than the last 3. Is it better than the last 3?? Great writing, great review. Psyched for this.

  2. Many things on it will grow on you proper, my only qualms are the mid tempo zoo riffs, other than that, it sounds classic Megadeth to me. Can't get Public Enemy No. 1 out of my head right now, and do not even want to.

  3. Excellent review, and for the most part chimes with my own early opinions of this album...

  4. @Caveman Ninja :
    I so hoped you would elaborate. I guess your opinion regarding the album changed for the better then, because why would you have given it successive listens if thinking it gets weaker with them. The album, in the long run, in my opinion reveals a kind of cheerful, accessible mood, - diffo not all that aggressive or angry - and many songs register to me like a lively '80s toon-thrash made with atomic production values.

    @Theos25 :
    I'm a huge fan of Frank Gambale, and he has laid out the mighty epitome of the terrible zoo riff in his song "6.8 Shaker". The track itself is superb, in my opinion, which does not prevent it from starting out with-, and return to a zoo riff. If you listen to that song, the Ultimate Meaning of All Things I Mean by Zoo Riff and Zoo Metal will collide into you as a mammoth, so be prepared.

    If you can endure the track from its start to the 11th second, you will already know what I mean by the term, and here is a link for this example :


    The "zoo riff" is a sonic entity which sounds to me as a pattern that exhibits no redeeming values other than it exists, and most often seeks to summon a stale/shamelessly cheap sense of bluesy slickness, and retardation-tinted cheerfulness. Like it expects the listener to behave like a chimpanzee on the peak of massive antidepressants for no apparent reason. The zoo riff is the one that is out to harvest appreciation - in my opinion - shamelessly cheaply, in fact, by trying to comfort the covert-, secret inner monkey a person with a promise either prefers to hide, or prefers to address much more diligently.

    All in all, a zoo riff is the building block of a zoo metal piece, - all zoo metal is mid-tempo, no exception - and a zoo metal piece, the zoo metal VIBE makes me feel like I'm watching a TV show special on a newly opened zoo, and the zoo metal - made out of zoo riffs - is the perfect background for THAT. Pretend for the sake of 10 seconds, that you hear the circus master announcing the animals while you listen to the first 10 seconds of "6.8 Shaker", and then you will grasp what I mean, or you will dismiss it as my personal delusion, which is equally acceptable.

    "Lookzie! Here, is ZA!! LION!! Aaaaand! Here is! ZAAAAAA! Ileeeeephnnnnnnt!!"

    The zoo riff, as an aural entity, pretends to offer slick compositional inventiveness and elegant complexity, whereas, in reality, it is the complete lack of all those fine qualities, and every note in its fabric is an autonomous compliment it worships its numerous, coarse deficits with, in my opinion.

    Ah, other blatant zoo riff comes to mind!! "Walk this way" with Aeroshmith and Run DMC is another huuuuuge huge zoo riff, but no doubt more efficient than the previous one. In fact, Walk This Way is a zoo riff that is kind of tolerable, even likable. Very rare kind. All in all, my suggestion regarding the matter is this : know the zoo riff. But, more importantly : DREAD the zoo riff.

    Guys, thank you for your comments.

  5. First things first, I am also a rabid Megadeth fan and purchase their CD's before I have even heard a song.

    I must say, that I have been listening to Thirteen for two days straight and for the most part find the CD enjoyable. I haven't dissected it to the degree that you have but do find it does have songs that are on the weaker end of Megadeth's repertoire. That being said, even some of Megadeth's weaker songs are still better fair than most of what is on the radio and passed for metal.

    As for some of their other CD's, while some of them are weaker, I think it shows Dave's willingness to experiment and explore. I do think albums like The World Needs A Hero and Risk don't quite live up to the Megadeth name, but even they have some redeeming songs.

    I still believe Rust in Peace... to be the Band's best work. Several CD's tie for second place in my opinion, but RiP takes the cake. There is not a bad song on the CD. It never fails to get me slinging the air guitar and belting out vocals (and the remastered version brings out details in the songs that were never there before).

    I do think I am a bit unique though, as I can go back to different CD's and enjoy them on their own merits. Yes, even Risk and TWNAH.

    All in all, the this latest effort is enjoyable. Will it ever make my top 10 CD's? Absolutely not. Megadeth does have some work to do if they ever want to attain the heights they reached on RiP.

  6. @Ruminations of a Contradictory Mind :

    What a nice input, thanks for adding this. You have a strong point about the classic Megadeth releases, and here is why I say this : I do not consider myself a nostalgic person at all, and today out of curiosity I listened to some tracks from Killing is my business and they have tore my mind out. Dave Mustaine had access to some very legit places back then. I still find this new release enjoyable, but not as "serious" as Killing is my business or your personal favorite, Rust in Peace. Thank you for your comment.

  7. I agree with the earlier comment that this album grows on you. A lot of reviews seem to have a hard time tying the album together under one concept/style but the actual intention of the record and the 13 motif was to be a reflection on the entire journey and evolution of Megadeth. Once you grasp that concept you see that it actual succeeds then it what it set out to do...because of the wide net cast there is bound to be some aspect of this album that clicks with everyone..some moment that reminds you of your favorite elements and moments of past releases; then of course that means there are also bound to be moments that remind you of the cuts that you hated as well. This album stands out for me because it does not contain filler, each song has identity and coherant structure whilst still providing the technical superiority hard core Mustaine fans expect. This to me is the difference between an average aging thrash band album i.e. Death Magnetic (zoo riff discussion above) and what has been delivered here. In the end that is what seems to have me and other fans coming back to this record ... that catchy melodic individual touch to songs that are bound to lure you in, the touch of technical genius especially with the growing partnership between Mustaine and Broderick, and the inevitable nostalgia that ultimately is truly what brings Megadeth fans to their new record. The record sums up the band, its highs and lows, its fury and commercial elements, its contradictions and that is what it seems was the intention...coupled with the fact that i can't get songs out of my head and keep listening I am declaring the record a success. 8.5/10

    1. What a nifty Megadeth fanboy review. Thank you for adding it.

  8. First things first, I am not a rabid Megadeth fan (lol), but damn Mustaine actually writes lyrics that make sense and the lead breaks are awesome (oops, sorry, couldn't think of anything better). Some of the tracks actually have a stick in your head kind of pop sensibility (oh damn they'll never let me post here again), ie Guns, Drugs,..., 13, Public Enemy No. 1, & Black Swan. IMHO best Megadeth album ever, it will therfore not be acknowledged as such for at least 20 years.

  9. The pop sensibility always was present in Megadeth back from '92. Megadeth definitely has a disco feel when compared to more rabid acts. I of course respect your opinion, and you can't write a comment after which you'd be banned from this site, it is your choice how deep you go if you want to, and others will have to decide for themselves if you did at all, I won't declare myself some judge or whatnot.

    Your comment is quite sober, so I don't know what the "fear" is for. As for this album, I might give it another go for the enthusiasm that surrounds it from some commenters. I still like Megadeth and consider their work much more significant than recent days Metallica - YEAAAAUUAAH, spank that snare Lars YEAAAUUAH!! - and my only major caveat with Megadeth is when Dave Mustaine goes cabaret thrash metal.

    As I wrote somewhere else :

    "CHUGGA! CHUGGA! Now! Iiii! Am! Reeeally! Pissed! CHUGGA! CHUGGA! Look! At! The! Kill! You've Missed! CHUGGA! CHUGGA!"

    This particular rhetoric is terrible and it seemed to me that the album is prone to be reliant on it. The Megadeth I defend in heaven and hell is the kind that gave us Angry Again, Symphony of Destruction, Family Tree, Trust, and I could go on naming another bunch of superb Mustaine masterpieces. I strongly doubt this release will be remembered as vastly significant though, not with the terrible installments on it like "Just whose li(f)e is it anyway" or the titular track.

    I deeply agree with some notions of the metalreview.com review : ""You still want meeee to suffeeeer". "No Dave, I want you to thrash.""

    The more tight songs, like "Public enemy number 1", are of course mindhacks and disco songs you can find in every bush if you are persistent. As a thrash statement, "Endgame" reigns far beyond this one from now on to eternity, in my opinion.

    Dave Mustaine was kicked from Metallica by the way in the early '80s, have ANY of you heard THAT??????,,,

    Metallica, for fuck's sake, show some human evolution, do a gesture and bring the fucking guy back to the ranks and make a release with him maybe?? < - hint!, hint!


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