Mega-riff fest outing is their strongest in some time
After a solid career that began with 1985's Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good and continued until 1994's Youthanasia, Megadeth (who are currently vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine, guitarist Glen Drover, new bassist James Lomenzo (ex-White Lion, ex-Pride & Glory) have stumbled and fell with a string of inconsistent releases right up until 2004's The System Has Failed, which still wasn't up to scratch from the “big picture” perspective, even though it was being touted as a return to form. There's a phrase that's been thrown around casually time and time again by numerous artists, critics and the like - the whole “such and such's new album is a return to form”. Finally, that glimmer of promise that The System Has Failed showed may very well have been realised with the band's eleventh studio effort, titled United Abominations.
The album kicks off in an excellent manner with the riff-tastic Sleepwalker, which is possibly as close to 'classic' Megadeth as this album gets. It's a galloping track with an infectious chorus and plenty of venom ridden vocals from Mustaine, and most importantly, it's a sign of good things to come. It's backed up by the equally excellent Washington Is Next! and the technical riffery of the mid paced Never Walk Alone...A Call To Arms, the latter of which could possibly sit along side the likes of Lucretia from 1990's Rust In Peace. The title track, United Abominations, sees Mustaine switching it up by delivering spoken word verbal barbs throughout whilst Gears Of War stands out only for it's single, driving riff.
Whilst the duo of Blessed Be The Dead and Play For Blood don't stack up quite as well - they are simply not as memorable as some of the other material here - they prove to be a far side better than the band's revamped rendition of their own classic, A Toute Le Monde which suffers from its slightly quicker tempo and the unnecessary addition of Cristina Scabbia's (Lacuna Coil) vocals. This should have been a B-side or a bonus track at best as it just doesn't fit here at all. Amerikhastan delivers quite possibly the album's most impactful vocal line in “God versus God, the undoing of man” whilst the finale of You're Dead and Burnt Ice manage to show off subtle thrash influenced traces throughout, and overall leave the album finishing up in fine form.
There's little doubt that United Abominations is a more consistent effort than anything since and including 1999's appalling Risk album. Is it a return to form? Well, it's not classic Megadeth as that tag is reserved for 1985's Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good through to 1990s' Rust In Peace. But having said that, United Abominations is as solid and memorable as the likes of 1992's Countdown To Extinction and 1994's Youthanasia. It's not perfect, but for the most part it's on the money. Welcome back, Dave! You might not be there yet, but this is by far your best work in some time and clearly a step in the right direction.
(Roadrunner Records/Warner Music Australia)
More from Megadeth
- Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good - The Final Kill [review]
- Dystopia [review]
- Super Collider [review]
- Countdown to Extinction (20th Anniversary Reissue) [review]
- Th1rt3en [review]
- Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (25th Anniversary 2CD release) [review]
- Rust in Peace - Live (CD/DVD) [review]
- Endgame [review]
- Anthology: Set The World Afire [review]
- Warchest [review]
- Arsenal Of Megadeth (DVD) [review]
- Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? [review]
- System Has Failed, The [review]