Friday, 15 April 2011

CD Review: Endgame, by Megadeth (2009)

A full 24 years after their debut, Megadeth release their 12th studio album, and it's a record that carries heavily the scars of a quarter century. Having cycled through the initial stage of all-out aggressive thrash followed by a mellower, more thoughtful mid-age period, Endgame finds Megadeth searching for a late career identity and finding precious little to cling to.

Yes the shredding guitar solos are still there, but they seem to drop in as solos for the sake of solos with minimal integration into the song structure. The melodies are either weak or forgettable, and the song complexity has regressed back to earlier, more juvenile days. The writing mostly sounds a bit desperate and derivative, Dave Mustaine attempting to pump water from an almost dry well of creativity.

Some good moments survive. Dialectic Chaos is an energetic enough instrumental opener. 44 Minutes, chronicling the 1997 North Hollywood Shootout, is among the more inspired and well-textured tracks. Bodies has a shamefully weak front two minutes, saved by an attractive melancholy instrumental back-end that deserves a much better overall package.

The best part of the CD occurs late, with The Hardest Part Of Letting Go...Sealed With A Kiss registering appreciated thoughtfulness and Head Crusher delivering exactly what it says on the tin, with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. How The Story Ends arrives almost at closing time and serves as a reminder of where Megadeth should have been focusing Endgame all along: it's a mid-tempo, exquisitely structured song that take its time to build a head of steam propelling a strong melody, with solos and manic riffing that enhance the story rather than interrupt it.

The talent has always been there, but putting together the complete package at the right time has always been Megadeth's greatest challenge. Caught without the naive aggressiveness of youth and abandoned by the maturity of experience, Endgame stumbles across the finish line, well behind the pack.


Dave Mustaine - Vocals, Guitars
Chris Broderick - Guitars
James Lomenzo - Bass
Shawn Drover - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Dialectic Chaos - 8
2. This Day We Fight! - 7
3. 44 Minutes - 8
4. 1,320' - 6
5. Bite The Hand - 7
6. Bodies - 8
7. Endgame - 6
8. The Hardest Part Of Letting Go...Sealed With A Kiss - 8
9. Head Crusher - 8
10. How The Story Ends - 10
11. The Right To Go Insane - 6

Average: 7.45

Produced by Andy Sneap and Dave Mustaine.
Engineered and Mastered bu Andy Sneap.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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