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Megadeth Dystopia Review
MEGADETH
DYSTOPIA

UNIVERSAL
Release Date: January 22nd 2016

Megadeth Dystopia

The 15th studio album from thrash metal veterans Megadeth is upon us and despite the disappointment of the lead single "Fatal Illusion" that came out last year, the rest of the album is on par to be one of the better albums of the last 15 years. Despite the backlash of their previous effort, "Super Collider", Megadeth seemed to have done a complete 180 and have come up with the more classic album's successor.
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While there is much political spin and even the usual bleak outlook of the world just in the song titles alone, it's the music that really stands out more than anything. The album doesn't just slowly get into things, it kicks things off with a belter in "The Threat Is Real". Naturally "Holy Wars" may spring to mind in some parts here but the throwback is not a blatant ripoff in any way, it merely hints of that "Rust In Peace" style. Like many of the vintage Megadeth stuff, this song hums along nicely before breaking into a brilliant solo section which is the real highlight here. The title track "Dystopia" bounces along in a completely different direction but it's got a melodic "Cryptic Writings" way of it that instantly hooks you in, not heavy but just plain catchy. "Fatal Illusion" as mentioned before was received intially with mixed reception but listening to the rest of this album, the song is not a great representation of what's on offer here. It's a hard song to grasp and it only gets a little better at the end but not enough to save it.

Things pick up however with "Death From Within" where the riffs and guitar parts smell of that "Peace Sells"/So Far So What" vibe, it's a pretty simple song but it's a solid one for the most part. "Bullet To The Brain" harks back to vintage Megadeth again and while it does bounce around incoherently like "Fatal Illusion", there's more of a memorable beat here and the lyrical line "He had to know" is bound to make this a potential live track. Moving on to "Post American World", the main riff just oozes "Symphony Of Destruction", same hooky riff with that solid mid-tempo, this one may go down as one of the favorites from the die hard fans although I also won't be surprised if there are complaints of it being too similar to Symphony as well.

The talents of drummer Chris Adler, better known as the sticksman for Lamb Of God, and Brazilian guitar wiz Kiko Loureiro can't be overlooked here. Dave Mustaine has always managed to get some of the most talented musicians in Megadeth but these two have got to be at the top somewhere who just inject a fresh take on Megadeth's signature sound and style. Adler's usual bag of tricks has taken a slight backseat on these songs, at least compared to his more aggressive approach in Lamb Of God and he plays perfectly to the songs as needed and as it should. Kiko's style blends perfectly with Mustaine's familiar sound, it's almost reminiscent of Marty Friedman from back in the day as far as just knowing when to pick those moments and add some brilliance to the solos. Whatever doubts Megadeth fans had on these two is well and truly laid to rest with "Dystopia".

It's at this point in the second half of "Dystopia" that the album starts to lose a bit of steam, heading into that unmemorable "System Has Failed" and "United Abominations" territory. "Poisonous Shadows" is a dark song with a cool symphonic intro and it even kinda reminds me of "Dread And The Fugitive Mind" but it doesn't grab my attention like the other tracks. Same with "Lying State" and "The Emperor" where the band goes more into hard rock stuff than thrash metal. The only saving grace at this part of the album is the instrumental "Conquer Or Die" where it sits in as a nice interlude and breaks away from that unecessary mould. Also featured at the end as a bonus track is the cover of "Foreign Policy" by punk rockers Fear. But despite the few flaws and somewhat filler material here, "Dystopia" as an album is definitely one of the better efforts by Megadeth in years and I think there is enough here to please old and new fans alike.


TRACKLIST
The Threat Is Real
Dystopia
Fatal Illusion
Death from Within
Bullet to the Brain
Post-American World
Poisonous Shadows
Conquer... or Die!
Lying in State
The Emperor
Foreign Policy

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Review by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie