Three years on from the universally panned Super Collider and having once again gone through a change in guitarist and drummer – out went Chris Broderick and longtime member Shawn Drover and in came Kiko Loureiro and Chris Adler respectively – and the world is faced with a new Megadeth album.
Dystopia – the most hyped Megadeth album in over twenty years – has a lot to live up to but considering their turbulent history, the fact that Dave Mustaine and his cohorts are on to album number 15 is nothing short of astonishing! We’ll cut straight to the chase with this one. Most metal fans will want to know just two things, is Dystopia heavy and is it any good? The answer to these two questions is a resounding fuck yes!
“The Threat Is Real” kicks the album off at a brisk pace with its taught, muscular riffs and blasts of double bass. This is followed by the title track, which in truth takes a bit of time to get going, but ends up being a rather tasty morsel; the riff during the solo segment reminiscent in sound and feel of the classic “Hangar 18”. Only two songs in and it’s obvious that Mustaine and Loureiro are a formidible partnership that shit enough riffs and solos to put the majority of their modern contempories to shame.
“Death From Within” is a mid paced bruiser, built upon a steamroller of a riff and a contemptuous Mustaine vocal and the same goes for “Bullet To The Brain”. “Poisonous Shadows” is the ‘epic’ of the album at just over six minutes and is an atmospheric little number that proves Kiko Loureiro is not just a monster on the guitar but also a dab hand at tinkling the old ivories as well. Wrapping things up, “Look Who’s Talking” and “The Emperor” are ass kicking slabs of attitude that Mustaine still delivers better than anyone else….when he puts his mind to it!
Dystopia has elements of Countdown To Extinction in its sound and structure – with its sharp, incisive riffs and a crisp, clinical production – and there’s not a weak track to be found. Anyone looking for a straight up rehash of Rust In Peace is going to be disappointed – that time has passed – but everything that makes Megadeth such a legendary band is distilled into this one fantastic album. Blasts of old-school technical thrash remain but it’s combined with the clinical riffola of the aforementioned Countdown To Extinction, resulting in a modern sounding, viciously vibrant album.
Dystopia is the best Megadeth album in over twenty years and sits comfortably alongside the early period classics. It may be only January but we already have a strong contender for album of the year! 10/10