Dave Mustaine, the brainchild behind the multi-platinum selling thrash band, has become synonymous within the heavy metal history books and whether you like him or not, is a very important figure in the metal world and a truly gifted musician.
Dystopia see’s a new more refreshed sounding Megadeth and one that packs a punch to which we haven’t heard, since back in the early days of the bands back catalogue.
Packing eleven tracks in total, Dystopia kicks off with The Threat Is Real, which wastes no time in making a bold statement. A tight grove set’s the tone with riff’s that have elements of moments on So Far, So Good, and it just gets better as each minute passes. The skilled drumming of Chris Adler (Lamb of God) shines through with his token, cymbal / kick pedal work.
Second track in, see’s the title track of the album, with an almost Maiden type galloping twin guitar intro. Kiko Loureiro (Angra) is all over this album already, with impressive guitar licks, peppered here and there, before unleashing a mid-song solo that will take the skin off your face before launching into Fatal Illusion, which fits perfectly with its dark, chugging intro. As most of you will have already heard Fatal Illusion, the musical arrangement of the song allows for plenty of room for all elements to breath and is heard throughout the album.
Engineer duties are near perfect, thanks to the skills of knob twiddler Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God), who manages to find a solid depth for Mustaine’s vocals, which can sound almost ‘duck like’ at times on previous albums! A great example of this new Megadeth line up, comes in the form of Death From Within, which has all the classic elements that you crave when hoping for a Megadeth on top of their game. Subtle key changes from Dave Ellefson, give another dynamic to the albums compositions, matched with Loureiro’s unconventional and unpredictable approach to solo’s and overall performance throughout the album, especially on Bullet To The Brain.
The theme of Dystopia, follows suite with Dave’s usual rhetoric on political, religious and social global matters. Post American World, opens with an infectious steady down picking riff, reminiscent of Symphony of Destruction, but with more balls! “If you don’t like where we’re going, then you won’t like what’s coming next” snarls Dave, as he highlights the forced Americanization of the cultural world. Powerful stuff indeed!
One of the longest tracks on the album, Poisonous Shadows, is a belter, that packs plenty of light and shade in the context of sound! The pedal work by Adler, brings a formidable strength to the composition and with a huge sound-scape backdrop, thanks to the inclusion of some synthesizer work, it’s a piece of work that Dave and the boys should very proud of.
Trying to find a bad track on this album will have you wandering towards the last few songs and you will still be shit out of luck! Instrumental ditty, Conquer or Die give’s Lourerio center stage with some truly breathtaking guitar work, before we are thrust into the machine-gun paced, Lying in State, which has a sniff of Annihilator here and there, but see’s a water tight performance from Ellefson and Adler.
Where most Megadeth albums have packed all of their most destructive artillery at the beginning of each album track listing, Dystopia delivers right down to the last drop, with the face-paced and catchy chorus in The Emperor. A guitar solo exchange between Mustaine and Lourerio, will no doubt keep the guitar geeks locked in their bedrooms for months on this track!
Finally, the closing track on the album could be lifted straight from So, Far.. writing sessions, with a feeling of Hook in Mouth / 502 about it! That traditional “Mustaine snarl” is served in gusto here, with a retro thrashy / punk-like delivery on the chorus. Unexpected and fucking awesome!
Forget Super Collider and get your teeth stuck into Dystopia! By far, one of the strongest albums from Megadeth in a long time and a welcome return to form.
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Dystopia is released on January 22nd via Universal Records. To pre-order your copy of the album, please click on the graphic below.