American heavy metal band Megadeth is now on their third, and apparently final album, with Roadrunner Records. It's actually their 13th album overall. The only reasoning I can find behind that is that their contract with Roadrunner is up, so if anyone knows more, fill in the gaps of my knowledge please. They're leaving the label either way, as they're pretty frustrated with their treatment, so we'll see what happens next.
Both this year's recording academy and last year's honored the band with performance nominations (2 different songs) for a Grammy. Neither year saw a win, but hey, it's an honor just to be nominated, right?
A funny note - the whole unlucky number 13 thing came about for them out of many unlucky occurrences during recording - car trouble, things going missing, etc. It sort of became a joke, and the band actually sees this album as a great, and quickly made, success.
"Sudden Death" is our opening song, and it's like being welcomed in to a fighting arena. The guitar's hard at work, and the drums are creating a building beat making your heart pound in... well, fear, sort of. This carries on for a while, getting quicker and quicker, until about a minute in when a surprisingly clear voice comes through, spitting the words out. I cannot believe how easy it is to understand what he's saying though! This is the crisp sound that makes this music bearable, even if the lyrics sound somewhat evil. Ah, this is actually a nice welcome into the album.
The other song (as well as the first) to receive a Grammy nod was the second track, "Public Enemy No. 1." This song was apparently written for Al Capone. In fact, they say that during recording in an old building in Tennessee, it's possible he was haunting the place - which used to be his hideaway (or at least on of them). There's lots of guns and capture resistance referenced during this fast-paced rock song. If Al had a dark, growling-type voice, I'm sure this would be his theme song.
"We The People" is not something I should be listening to late at night - I can tell there's something deeper I should be listening to, since I just caught the line: "the Constitution isn't worth the paper it's written on." Okay, listening more closely. "In greed we trust, in revolution we die." There are definitely some awesome, interesting lyrics laced throughout the music. Here's an enigma of a metal song, where the music and guitar solos don't matter nearly as much as the lyrics over all of them.
Oh right, this is a rock album. "Guns, Drugs, & Money" - pick your poison or you die. Those are the lyrics. This is becoming a big statement, but luckily one we can understand. This doesn't get muffled over by music. And the music that is accompanying the words is tolerable - there's talent there actually. Drums to these kinds of songs are hard, let alone the guitar solos. If you're listening in, past the lyrics if you don't care about the message, it's pretty impressive how into it the musicians get. Oh, and there's a little 20's theme quietly slipped into the end - nice additional homage to the gangsters.
"Never Dead" is the quietest we've been during the entire album - until a minute in when we're reminded we're here to fuckin' rock. Okay, okay, my words, not theirs. But seriously, that building from quiet music provided a great image, musically, for the song itself. There's maybe something about traveling, possibly to hell, but I'm not entirely sure one way or another at this point. Again, not a good almost-asleep album.
The thing about metal is that bands fall in to this usual beat throughout every song. The drummers work very hard, but they don't vary up the beat a whole lot - maybe for the chorus and verses, but even from song-to-song, it's usually just fast. "New World Order" makes some attempt to defy that, but I think it's the guitar that makes or breaks every metal song that's out there. Now, granted, the pattern is always about the same - they come heavy in some epic solo somewhere during the bridge. That solo better be awesome and memorable though. Is it here? Eh, not really, if I'm being honest. But okay, at least it's there.
"Fast Lane" takes us into the second half of the album, with a slight more electronic sound amping things up. Immediately, even if it is the title's doing, this becomes a racing song. I mean, can't you see it - a crazy, fast-paced race on the backtop? Need for speed. Man, I miss my car. Anywhos, even the lyrics keep up with the pace, almost continuing to drive everything forward, faster and faster. I don't think a song has ever made me want to hit a race track so badly.
I walked back into my room as "Black Swan" was playing, and my first reaction was that this was a far more beautiful and/or elegant song than the previous ones have been. I think it's something in the melodies the lead vocal carries out. The notes are held out through actual singing, where as before, it sounded a lot like slightly melodic rap, hitting the words instead of singing them. It's just a nice difference in sound, is what I'm trying to say. It's still a pretty damn dark song, but this one has got a little more musically than the rest have.
There's something entirely familiar about the guitar's part of "Wrecker," and it's kind of a fantastic anger song. It doesn't matter what you go, you're going to mess it up. Brilliant for that idiot who ruins things, like relationships. I wouldn't take this as a self-deprecating song - direct it at someone else. You all have one, I'm sure. Let the anger out - better to call them a wrecker than wreck their face, right? Or not, yah know, you decide!
"Millennium Of The Blind" leads in with another pretty great guitar solo, showing off some serious power all by itself, and just slight other sounds coming in beneath. This one's cool like "Black Swan," in that there's singing involved. This time, the key is much lower, and the sound is slow and methodical. I'd venture to call this one the darkest track thus far, with only the electric guitar's small parts scattered throughout showing any hope for the message at all. The darkness has a root though - an anger about how we follow our leaders completely blindly, right down with the ship.
The Nightmare Before Christmas girl and fanatic in me is downright giddy about the title coming up: "Deadly Nightshade." Ten points if you know exactly what I'm talking about, and you'd better. I can't find anything in the descriptions that link the song to the movie, and there probably isn't anything. But I enjoy the thought. The song itself? Eh, it's okay. There's so much bite and anger to the vocals that it's hard to think anything other than proposed death throughout. Nice rock solo for the guitar though, right before it launches into a far more metal-sounding-solo. My one hope is that the girl's voice, which I can barely make out, is Sally's.
Final song time - track thirteen, "13." It starts with a pretty epic musical intro, but the voice has given out by this point. He's getting tired or else just is taking it lower and lower to where he has to growl out every word. It's okay, I can forgive a weak ending song. It's just a let down given the high energy we've been experiencing. It's a closer though, and we've had quite a ride with the band overall. Also, there's some classic guitar in there than makes me love this at about 2:00. Sorry for the negativity before. Okay, now we can be done.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Whose Life [Is It Anyway?]"
- "Black Swan"