Megadeth: Super Collider Review
**Several special editions of Super Collider will be available at retail for American and European fans, but I`ve not been able to listen to the bonus tracks as of now, so this review is based on the eleven tracks present in its standard edition.
With their newest release Super Collider, veteran thrashers Megadeth faced their own legacy of timeless tracks and occasional missteps. When they released their first single, the record’s title track, fans were quick to hit the forums, angrily accusing Megadeth of once again leaving their venom behind for radio friendly garbage akin to Risk. Now that I’ve heard the album in its entirety, I can happily say that those fears were mostly unfounded.
Before I head into an analysis of the record, let me just say how much I’m enjoying their current lineup. The musical muscle on display with this effort easily rivals the raw talent of their most beloved albums and could very well go down as their most technically accomplished roster. Chris and Dave shred like mad together and deliver some truly muscular riffs, while Ellefson curls the lip with his thick, fun bass along with Drover`s inhumanly reliable beats. It goes without saying that their performances on this album are top quality, top class efforts that deserve our respect at the very least. I had the pleasure of seeing this lineup live on their Rust in Peace anniversary tour and wow, they still know how to tear your face off, aging be damned.
The music presented hear comes off as a fun mishmash of concepts seen across most of their catalogue thus far. It opens up with the ear splitting (albeit derivative) thrasher Kingmaker and then passes itself into arena rock territory with its title track, which would have fit right in with their Cryptic Writings era material. It`s nowhere near as bad as the claims of betrayal would have you believe, but still fairly disappointing. From there, we`re treated to Burn, a rowdy little tune that chugs along at a nice pace with one of Super Collider`s better riffs before breaking into a bizarre, somewhat disappointing chorus. Built for War follows and shifts the record`s tone back to a fun and thrashy track that shows off Megadeth`s lyrics at their most (likely unintentionally) amusing form. It can`t be said that Dave`s voice handles this song as well as it would have back in his prime, but it`s an album highlight all the same.
Off the Edge is easily the album`s most me-too track and feels like filler more than anything. It`s not a bad song, but it certainly doesn`t seem to fit in very well with the rest of the album`s material. It has a couple of great moments that redeem it though, and it could still prove worthy of a listen for its guitar work alone. Where Super Collider`s title track was accused of being tinged in Risk era shenanigans, Dance in the Rain is actually the album`s most experimental track. Its lyrics (and spoken lyrics) are pure Dave Mustaine and its chorus carries a 90`s vibe to it in the best way possible. Its excellent riffage breaks into some surprising licks that sound like holdovers from the Killing is My Business and Peace Sells Days, with Disturbed`s David Draiman joining the song for a cool little twist on the record`s formula. Easily an album highlight for me.
Beginning of Sorrow is another 90`s era track that proves a decent addition to the album overall, though it steers a little more towards filler territory. It leads us into The Blackest Crow, a great little song that oozes a unique, strangely appropriate western vibe, complete with twangy guitar and violin. To my surprise, I really love this track and found it to be really refreshing, especially in its great pacing and well-drawn imagery. It won`t help Super Collider escape its Riskish experimental reputation, but it`s a fantastic song that would make for a great mid in their live set. I really hope the more jaded fans give this one a chance.
Forget to Remember begins the trio of Super Collider`s closing tracks by returning to the arena rock territory explored in the title track, although it`s a much more successful attempt to produce a catchy song that modern radio fans could enjoy. I can honestly say that I rather enjoy this one and though it`s not what I would expect from a Megadeth record, it`s still an album highlight. Don`t Turn your Back is another rowdy thrasher in spite of its moody cop show opening. It`s a simple, more traditional Megadeth song that feels great after the tracks that precede it, though its attempt at life lesson lyrics is a little lame. The record closes with a simple, slightly distracting cover of Thin Lizzy`s Cold Sweat. It`s a fine enough track, but closing the album (standard version) with a cover feels a little cheap to me.
While it would be easy to say that this is Megadeth at their most technically accomplished, it`s certainly not the creative pinnacle of their career. Super Collider can be quite derivative at times, especially with Kingmaker, perhaps due to their tenure in the thrash metal scene. It would be difficult for bands of any genre to feel fresh after 14 studio albums, but Megadeth IS known for treading familiar territory with their material.
That said, I really enjoy Super Collider for what it is, though it`s not what I`ll be putting in to satisfy my frequent Megadeth cravings. Track-to-track, it`s far superior to 2011`s idiotically titled Th1rt3en, but is still a step back from the brilliance of their previous efforts. It would be unfair to expect Megadeth to release another Rust in Peace at this point though, so I genuinely hope that fans give it a chance and come in with fair expectations. Doing so will result in one of 2013`s more enjoyable albums and a refreshing step in the right direction for Megadeth. [7.5]