Maybe Dave Mustaine is finally getting the last laugh. Almost 20 years ago, Lars, James, and Cliff surrounded Dave while he was sleeping, woke him up, kicked him out of Metallica and gave him bus fare home. All this time, Dave seems to have been trying to keep up with his former bandmates. When Metallica played fast, Megadeth played faster. When Metallica played tight, Megadeth played tighter. Just as Megadeth’s videos began getting some major airplay on MTV, Metallica’s “One” was released and took over the airwaves for months.
But slowly, the tides have turned. Metallica have slowed down, while Megadeth have maintained their pace. Metallica’s music has taken a nose dive towards the world of radio pop, while Megadeth have stood their ground, keeping their feet planted firmly in the world of thrash. And while what’s left of Metallica sits holed up in a studio with no bass player, arguing about notes and planning their next attack against Napster, Megadeth has dug into it’s roots and delivered their best work in years.
With the line “Let me introduce myself, I’m a social disease,” Mustaine kicks off the new album and lets us know that the Megadeth we used to know and love is still alive.
The production work on The World Needs a Hero is classic. The mix feels very stripped down, very straight and to the point. Not a lot of extra noise, just straight forward thrash. Megadeth have learned to pace themselves over the years. The songs aren’t the fastest you’ve ever heard them play, but they’re definitely not laid back. Double kicks and driving bass lines keep the backbone alive, while classic Megadeth riff’s emerge from every corner of the disc.
No where is this more evident than during “Return to Hangar,” a sequal of sorts to “Hangar 18” off of Rust in Peace. “Return to Hangar” shows the maturity of Megadeth, and demonstrates better than anywhere on the disc that faster isn’t necessarily better. The solos are just as intricate as ever, but the whole style seems laid back. The drums kick into a frantic “galloping” kick-style from time to time, but for the most part, the boys just seem comfortable where they’re at, doing what they’re doing.
Dave and co. have abandoned the complicated song frameworks from their past. “The World Needs a Hero” sounds leaner and more direct than previous albums. That doesn’t mean that the songs are “simple” per se, just that they don’t each have 5,000 tempo changes and 100 mph solos all over place. Personally, I think the simplicity works here, and the album comes off as sounding cohesive and linear instead of a jumbled mess like some of their previous works. Maturity is the word I’m looking for, but had hoped to never use in a Megadeth review.
Out of 11 tracks, two of them are wimpy ballads, and one (Capitol Punishment) is a medley of old hits remixed with some sound effects and filters, so what you’re left with is eight balls to the wall guitar driven tracks. While not all of them are full speed ahead, they are all undeniably Megadeth.
Many of the tracks have a DJ scratching over them, and much of the album contains rapping. Just kidding, this is Megadeth – any Headbanger’s Ball disciple worth their weight in Ricki Rachman’s hairspray should know what Megadeth sounds like by now. Old Megadeth fans will not be disappointed, and even nu metal fanatics might enjoy taking a glimpse at how we used to rock back in the day.
02. The World Needs A Hero
03. Moto Psycho
04. 1,000 Times Goodbye
05. Burning Bridges
07. Recipe For Hate…Warhorse
08. Losing My Senses
09. Dread And The Fugitive Mind
10. Silent Scorn
11. Return To Hangar