Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Listen: United Abominations

I've been a Megadeth fan for years now, but I started to lose interest in the band's new material after the Risk album. They sounded too "alternative" on that album, and I decided to be content with the collection of great albums they had made up until that point. However, I've heard that in the last few years, Megadeth has had a bit of a revival, or a return to early form. Despite these rumors, I still stayed away, still hurting from that piss-poor Risk album. The local library is truly a wonderful thing, especially when they have Megadeth albums, so when I cast my eyes upon United Abominations, Megadeth's 11th album, I figured I'd check it out, it'd at least make an interesting blog post. So here goes, my United Abominations first listen:

Sleepwalker: The album kicks off with a pretty awesome intro and opening riff. Mustaine's snarl is back, but it sounds like there's been some post recording tweaks on it to make it sound better. The lyrics are pretty cheesy for this one, but musically it is thrashy and fast with some tight solos. Not a great start though...

Washington is Next!: Another sweet into/opening riff. This is the kind of stuff that made me love Megadeth back in the day. Not surprisingly, Megadeth is best when their material has a political lean. This song is definitely reminiscent of their classic material. Awesome solos, this is a real headbanger. Great Song.

Never Walk Alone...A Call to Arms: the "..." of the title makes me wonder if this is a two part song a la Holy Wars...The Punishment Due which is one of my all time favorite Megadeth songs. This song is another solid effort. There is no doubting their musical talent. Mustaine has done a great job acquiring skilled musicians for this album. They just need to stay away from cheesy choruses like the one on this song.

United Abominations: Title track time! I always have high hopes for the title track, it should be good, the band went to the trouble of naming the album after the song, so that should say something about the quality. The intro hearkens back to songs like Architecture of Agression and Countdown to Extinction. Once agian, political rantings equal an awesome song. Mustaine uses news broadcast style spoken word to deliver many of the lyrics, and it makes for an interesting compliment to the drums and guitars. Another good song.

Gears of War: I'm already skeptical of this song, seeing as it shares the same title of a video game, and was used on that very game's soundtrack. Damn, musically this is a fucking sweet song, but the lyrics are bad, cheesy lyrical content, mixed with a delivery that is not great. *sigh* Next.

Blessed are the Dead: Great song title. I'm not feeling this one from the get-go though. This song is lacking the energy of some of the other tracks and Megadeth is best when they play fast and furious.

Pray for Blood: This track starts out strongly with a catchy riff and some punchy drumming. This song lacks any depth beyond the surface polish though, and once again, I find myself cringing at some of the lyrics.

A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free): I guess this is a re-make of the song that was on the Youthanasia album. That was a pretty sweet song, but I'm skeptical about the remix...The beginning sounds much like the original, but with slightly different music. A glance at the album's liner notes shows that the lyrics are the same, but this one features some dueting with Cristina Scabbia from Lacuna Coil. Not necessarily awesome. This sped up, revamped version just doesn't do it for me.

Amerikhastan: This is a first for the album: The lyrics are better than the music on this track. I still don't love it though.

You're Dead: I'm starting to feel like a broken record: instrumentally this song is cool and interesting, but lyrically it is on the cheesy side.

Burnt Ice: The songs on the album are starting to run together. I appreciate the tasty riffs and the great solos, but for the most part, that is about all the album has to stand up on. The lyrics are so-so at best, and ending on a song about drugs just about breaks the album's back.

In summary, there are about two great songs and the rest are pretty much forgettable. Dave Mustaine put together a skilled line up of musicians for this album, but it still is lacking when compared to their older "classic" stuff. The song writing needs some work, Mustaine's lyrics often come across as cheesy.

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