The stories are true. Megadeth are back.
I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that I was at least a little disappointed in the last two “return to form” efforts from the Megadeth camp. While there were promises aplenty that left long time fans salivating at the prospect of the holy grail of Megadeth albums (Rust in Peace part 2) neither The System Has Failed nor (to a lesser extent) United Abominations lived up to the lofty expectations placed upon them (though they were definitely a massive step in the right direction). So now, two years after the release of United Abominations, an album that came so close to capturing the essence of the Megadeth we all love, another round of promises have been made and expectations have again been running at fever pitch for Endgame, Megadeth’s 12th full length album in their 26 years together.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of all encompassing elation that washes over you when instrumental album opener Dialectic Chaos screams into existence in a fashion not unlike that of Into the Lungs of Hell. Within the first few phrases I was pinching myself in disbelief at what I was hearing but was also secretly suspecting that it couldn’t possibly be the song that would set the tone for the rest of the album - it’s simply too good, too classically Megadeth to be real - but as it gives way to the deliciously old school thrashing of This Day We Fight! it becomes immediately obvious that we were right to hold out hope for the rejuvenated and voraciously hungry Megadeth we now have before us; the Megadeth we’ve sorely missed for so very long.
What’s interesting about Endgame is that, as it progresses, each and every track bears some kind of resemblance to the Megadeth of yore with more than a healthy nod sent in the direction of the band’s material from the very beginning of their recording history right up to and including 1994’s Youthanasia. It’s not that Mustaine has rehashed any of his old material, because it is most definitely fresh, but at the same time you can’t help feeling that he has taken the bucket back to the same wells of inspiration for Endgame. A lick here, a solo there or a general vibe of a song is enough to send your mind back to, well, when Megadeth were good; when they were a force to be reckoned with. Listen to the speed thrash assault of 1,320 and tell me you don’t hear a song that could have come straight from So Far, So Good, So What? or any of the myriad duelling guitar solos and not think that you were listening to the classic combo of Mustaine and Friedman.
Speaking of which, Endgame is the first Megadeth album to feature latest addition, Chris Broderick, on guitars. There is a chemistry between the guitar playing of Mustaine and Broderick that feels so natural, so right, that you’d be hard pressed to believe he hadn’t been playing with the band for years. It’s been a revolving door at the hotel Megadeth for quite a while now but, if nothing else, let’s hope that Broderick sticks around for a while because he’s easily one of the best additions to the band in a long time.
Dave Mustaine is an interesting and outspoken character with what seems to be an opinion on everything. During the first half of Megadeth’s career this is what made his lyrics interesting and even at times thought provoking. In much the same way that the music ran out of puff, so did his ability to write lyrics with the same skill he once had. Subtlety has never been a fixture of his lyrics, and he often wears his heart right out there on his sleeve, but I found the output on the last couple of albums to be a little too simple and straight up for my tastes. While subtlety still hasn’t made its way into Endgame I was pleased to see that Mustaine was able to scale things back just a little bit and write lyrics that aren’t quite so cringe worthy this time around. Ultimately it’s probably not all that important but it does add something to the overall package.
While it’s by no means perfect, Endgame truly is the album that we’ve all been waiting for. Is it Rust in Peace part 2? No it isn’t (and really, it isn’t as good as part 1 either) but for my money this is the best Megadeth album I’ve heard since Countdown to Extinction. It’s an album that I want to listen to because it’s a great thrash album, not just because it’s Megadeth and I want to like it. Dave has lived up to his promises boys and girls. Rejoice.
(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]
- Anthology: Set The World Afire [review]
- Warchest [review]
- United Abominations [review]
- Arsenal Of Megadeth (DVD) [review]
- Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? [review]
- System Has Failed, The [review]