Megadeth/ Super Collider (Universal, 2013)
Only 19 months after Th1rt3en we have a new Megadeth album in our hands. Megadeth will never again be The World's State Of The Art Speed Metal Band, folks. Like everyone else, I have been waiting for an album to top Rust In Peace all these years. I've accepted that this will never happen, and I'm good with it. The band has produced some albums that have been almost as great in their own way (Cryptic Writings and The System Has Failed both rank up there for me), and a few clunkers in the process (Youthanasia and Risk). Even at their worst, Megadeth has always had things on each album that were enjoyable.
Super Collider is the sound of a middle-aged Metal band making slick, mainstream sounding Metal. If you can accept an album like Countdown To Extinction, then you should enjoy this one. There is nothing here that really gets up and goes like Rattlehead or Hangar 18. Instead, we have lots of mid-tempo songs and groovers. It's not bad for what it is, you just have to be able to understand what it is. The biggest problem with Metal as a genre is that the parameters have always been so rigid and narrow.
Things start off poorly with Kingmaker, a blatant ripoff of Black Sabbath's Children of the Grave. I can't take the song seriously, it's so obvious. The title track, Super Collider is a catchy mainstream Metal song, if radio played such things. The phrasings in the verses smack of Robert Plant's vocal intro to In The Light off of Physical Graffiti. The chorus is catchy enough, but I can see why the Death Metal crowd is tearing this album up. If I were 17, I would be too.
Burn! is more typical sounding Megadeth, with the familiar chugging riffs. Built For War has an odd beat that sounds sloppy, sounding like something off of The World Needs A Hero. Forgettable. Off The Edge and Dance In The Rain are both solid songs, and lyrically among the most honest on the album. Mustaine honestly believes that America has gone off of the rails, and I can agree with that sentiment to a point. I'm sure that there are many, many disenfranchised Megadeth fans who can also latch onto the sentiment of these songs. Metal for the recession. Dance In The Rain is musically the best on the album, except for the Rusty Cage ripoff in the middle. It actually thrashes out toward the end, and is the most old school portion of the album.
The Blackest Crow sounds like a failed Risk-era experiment, with Mustaine playing a banjo with guitar strings in the intro. Their cover of Thin Lizzy's Cold Sweat is an odd choice. A House Divided, one of the bonus tracks sounds like another Risk-era misfire. Mustaine is still a great guitarist and can write some catchy songs. I'm not going to tear him and the rest of the band a new asshole for easing back on the tempo and settling into a groove. I'm just going to play it in my car and dig it for what it is.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I bought the Best Buy version, which has 3 bonus tracks (one of which is live) and a lenticular 3-D cover insert. I think that is bullshit when bands do these chain exclusives, as it only encourages piracy. While I am a physical media fan and love owning tangible music, someone who would buy the iTunes download might just go torrent the whole thing. It is also unfair to the independent record stores, the very same ones who carried the band's first album back when chain stores couldn't be bothered. Bands- all bands, not just Megadeth, should just release an album and be done with it. I know that is not how the game is played, this is just my opinion. The extra songs could have been an EP or saved for B-sides or even the next album.