Release date: November 1, 2011
Megadeth‘s newest studio album, the aptly and creatively titled TH1RT3EN, is perhaps the most anticipated metal release of the fall. Thirteen tracks on the band’s thirteenth studio album. Thirteen reasons to crank up your music player of choice.
Thrash– Heavy, brutal and meant to be listened to at the highest volume possible. For a band that’s been shredding as long as Megadeth have, it seems almost surprising that this is only their thirteenth album. TH1RT3EN marks the return of bass man Dave Ellefson. Ellefson was originally with Megadeth from 1983-2002 and hadn’t recorded with the band since 2001’s The World Needs A Hero. Megadeth had disbanded and tensions arose between Mustaine and Ellefson over disagreements, but Ellefson returned to the band last winter shortly before the 20th Anniversary Rust In Peace Tour.
TH1RT3EN is full of crushing riffage and sick guitar solos and you gotta love the fact that Mustaine can still snarl with the best of them. If you asked me to describe the album using only one word, that word would be beastly. So let’s get a little more in-depth with this beastly release.
The album kicks off with “Sudden Death,” a song recorded specifically for Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock. It was originally released in September 2010, so you have probably already heard it. However, the new album version has a few slight changes. This song is exactly how you would expect the album to kick off. Heavy, smashing, aggressive, intense, rapid, thrashy…what did I leave out? Ahh yes, intricate guitar work! The solos are in plentiful abundance and they are outstanding!
“Sudden Death” was nominated for a Grammy award, but the band kept their winless streak alive (they have somehow never won a grammy out of nine nominations) and this time the award went to Iron Maiden‘s “El Dorado“.
“Public Enemy No. 1” is pure Megadeth. There is no other band that can pull off this unique signature of rolling melodic yet crushing metal combined with such a unique vocal stamp. And who else has the cred to do a video with chimps? This is the album’s first single and features excellent vocal work by Mustaine, a catchy hook, blazing riffs and sweet solos. The band has been playing this song live for months now, so if you’ve been to see them lately, there’s a good chance you have already heard this song as well. The lyrics refer to gangster Al Capone.
The third track, “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” kicks off with an almost old school punk riff, which fits the lyrical concept of non-conformists calling out their hypocritical detractors. Another great hook in the chorus and excellent guitar solos throughout the song.
There’s a little groove metal influence in “We The People,” a heavy, dark, politically motivated song featuring several kickass riffs. A perfect song for those unhappy with the government, and in this day who isn’t? This is perhaps the bookend to “Peace Sells…”
“Guns, Drugs and Money.” What more can you ask for? Actually, this song is about drug addicts. A simple, catchy song as it has only one riff. Excellent guitar work as always.
“Never Dead” was written for the video game NeverDead. The game will be on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 platforms and is due to be released in winter 2011. An eerie paramilitary intro leads into a very speedy, thrashy and driving onslaught. The riff is absolutely crushing and recalls some of Mustaine’s most diabolic work. Broderick absolutely shreds on the solo.
The band raises the specter of the past with “New World Order” which was written in 1991 and then demoed on 1994’s Youthanasia. The music was penned by Mustaine, Ellefson and then guitarist Marty Friedman, with Musatine and former drummer Nick Menza writing the lyrics. The band re-recorded it and made a few minor changes to the original version. More killer guitar work accompanies the political statements in this song.
Upon first listen to “Fast Lane”, it comes across as a decent track that feels more like filler. Perhaps it’s that it sounds less like Megadeth and more like an old NWOBHM song in the riffing. This is not bad thing though, and on repeated listens that vibe pulls you into the song. There is even a tinge of Motörhead’s “Fast” Eddie Clarke one of the solos.
“Black Swan” comes at you fast and powerful with screaming melodic guitar and excellent lyrical content. It was originally released as a bonus track on 2007’s United Abominations. It was changed slightly from the original version. Features some of the best melodic guitar work on the album.
“Wrecker” is a humorous song with killer riffage and solos. The lyrics talk about a woman wrecking a man’s life (and his car, his job, etc…).
Written by Mustaine and Friedman, “Millennium of the Blind” is one of my favorites. Heavy and dark with ominous and somewhat political lyrics, it’s another song that was written in 1991 and demoed on Youthanasia. There have been many changes made from the original version.
“Deadly Nightshade” is another standout track with strong riffage and sweet solo work which makes the annoying giggle at the beginning of the song quite forgivable. The main riff was written in the 90’s and it’s a powerful skull-crusher. Great lyrics and vocals add to this “disaster-piece.” And I mean that in a good way, this song is brutal.
The closing title track, “13,” is another personal favorite on the album. A perfect closer as it slows down the frenetic tempo from the first dozen songs. It does get a little heavier towards the middle of the song and even throws in an (of course) another excellent solo. The lyrics are some of the best on the album; raw, personal and emotional.
Overall, TH1RT3EN is another great release from these metal legends, and a guitar shredders wet dream. Megadeth has managed to string together elements that recall every stage of the band’s admirable career. This as a chance for the band to take another step up in the thrash world as metal giant Metallica has just released its most mediocre work ever. Megadeth fans should accept this album as another success, and if you didn’t like Megadeth before, well…you probably won’t like them with this release either as they haven’t changed much. And if that’s the case, you’re better off sticking a railroad spike in your cranium anyway as you clearly have no discernable taste. TH1RT3EN is a beastly and crushing, brutal whirlwind of heavy thrash and killer solos, and all that we have come to expect from a Megadeth album. We are not disappointed!