|Review: Megadeth - United Abominations|
Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: April 12, 2008
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4/5 (80%) (33 Votes)
Megadeth's move to Roadrunner might excite those who still view the label as the home of Thrash, but to most it would spell the end of the struggle Dave Mustaine — who is, more than ever, at the head of this operation — has battled since his infamous arm injury impeding the progression, or in this case existence, of America's finest Thrash Metal outfit. Despite earning little or no commercial success since the release of the criminally mercantile Risk in 1999, Megadeth have endured in one form or another, every year or so producing albums monumental in their survival — unlike constant rivals Metallica, who have ironically done the exact opposite — and the latest of these endeavors is United Abominations; the album Mustaine has promised since the mid-90s: Megadeth's return to the Thrash throne.
In all honesty, Megadeth's genius for me was their ability to fuse both Melodic Heavy Metal and Thrash in a coherent format, a formula which made Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia and The World Needs A Hero such agreeable albums. United Abominations certainly invigorates some of that Rust In Peace energy in its furious opener "Sleepwalker", and of course Mustaine's penchant for shuffling rhythms and intelligent timing are impressed upon a number of solo sections, but as a whole the album still retains much of that melodic zest employed by so many Megadeth classics. While the Maiden-esque rocker "Washington is Next!" and "Never Walk Alone" get their mileage out of the crystal clear Andy Sneap production job — making it the band's best sounding record to date — it is the groovy title track and "Burnt Ice" that find the band in truly cynical form, forcing each member, particularly Mustaine, to give their most convincing performance. Lyrically, United Abominations is one of Dave's more sophisticated tomes, but just like The System Has Failed, after the first four amazing tracks the album looses its momentum, with the disappointing "Gears of War" and "Play for Blood" starting with promising technicalities, but sputtering out before the song concludes.
There is much more of a metal attack employed by Eidolon brothers Glen and Shawn Drover, saturating the album with more solos and double bass drums than any Deth record in at least ten years, but Christ; the re-recording of fan favourite "A Tout Le Monde" with Lacuna Coil beauty Cristina Scabbia is a damning indictment of Megadeth's commercial ambitions. What a waste of four and a half minutes...
Undoubtedly, fans of the band will love this somewhat return to form but be warned: this is not Rust In Peace 2, and despite those who think that's what Mustaine and crew should be doing right now, it's not going to happen, so just enjoy United Abominations for what it is: a damn good metal record.
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