Megadeth - Super colliderMegadeth

Super Collider

01. Kingmaker
02. Super Collider
03. Burn!
04. Built for War
05. Off the Edge
06. Dance in the Rain
07. Beginning of Sorrow
08. The Blackest Crow
09. Forget to Remember
10. Don’t Turn Your Back…
11. Cold Sweat

[06/04/13]
[Tradecraft/Universal]

Three years ago Dave Mustaine and co. celebrated the 20th anniversary of their seminal work, Rust in Peace. To celebrate this moment, the band decided to tour North America, playing every single track from the album, some of which had never been performed on a live stage before. This sort of sentiment showed a kinder side to Mustaine, one that cared for his fans, and his legacy, as if he wanted to preserve and honor what he and his various band mates over the years had worked towards. Three years later, Dave Mustaine penned the lyrics for the title track from Super Collider, the band’s fourteenth studio release: “This could be all the heaven you see/Life can be wicked, mean and cold/Could this be the end of your living terror/Come with me and I’ll train your soul good.” Goddammit Dave.

While those lyrics are pretty atrocious, they are by no means the worst to come out of Super Collider, the new LP from thrash veterans, Megadeth. And sadly enough, even the worst of the worst lyrics on this album really are not the most despicable aspect of this album. Though, they are really bad. Dave has always been known as a pretty “on the nose” sort of lyricist, with very little subtlety in that department, but it’s worked for him in the past, as his gravelly voice lends itself to aggressive and cartoony lyrics of paranoia and esoteric life problems that has permeated Megadeth tracks from the band’s inception, which is why very few people have ever faulted him for the writing on an album like Peace Sells. It doesn’t matter if the lyrics are objectively bad, because they actual fit in with the tone and style of music on display; they coalesced into something more than just hamfisted attempts at social commentary. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Super Collider, as every line of vocals comes off as a crazed plea for attention in the tune of Mustaine’s, for lack of a better term, unique world view.

And when combined with the actual performance and mix of the vocals, the lyrics just stand out like a sore thumb in a sea of albino flesh. Once again, Mustaine has never been a terribly great vocalist, but like the great American song writer Bob Dylan, the uniqueness of Mustaine’s  voice always seemed rather intriguing, and it actually lent itself to the music that the band were putting out. On Super Collider, Dave forgoes the raw and aggressive take on metal vocals and adopts a psuedo-clean singing style that just sounds more abrasive than any death growl you could image. It’s ugly, it doesn’t mesh well with the music, and it’s painful obvious that a large amount of production time went into trying to make the vocals as “clean” as they could get them, and yet the final result is still something unattractive and unfavorable to listeners.

Aside from vocals, the album is a natural extension of the tepid and inane affair that was Thirteen.  Merging the softer styles of Megadeth with an emphasis on hard rock, Super Collider feels like a mix of Alice Cooper B-sides and a Megadeth tribute band who just happen to really hate Megadeth. The songs focus on two or three riffs throughout the songs, which usual then transitions into what appears to be an attempt at catchy radio rock fluff, but it just comes off sounding mechanical and soulless.

It’s clear that Mustaine is trying to pull Megadeth back into the mainstream, but instead of focusing on clear songwriting and technical skill behind the guitar, he does so by trying to appeal to more modern and alternative rock sensibilities; it just doesn’t work.  And even if you’re not a fan of that sort of style, at least the bands that play to that sound have spent years honing their style, but that’s not the case with Megadeth. Instead the listener gets treated to a a painful and forced entry through the door. At the end of the day the band just comes off as awkward, detached, and just plain oblivious to what they are doing.

A lot of hate was thrown this album’s way before it was even released, due to the inclusion of Disturbed frontman David Draiman, but as odd as it sounds, Draiman’s addition actually improves the songs that he’s featured on, as he’s the only one willing to be anything remotely aggressive. And luckily, Chris Broderick’s talents can still be heard and appreciated on this album, despite the constant straddling he receives from Dave. In fact, even Dave’s talent can be seen from time to time, as he and Broderick have always  played well off of one another, creating really dazzling moments between each other. However, a few good moments on lead guitar don’t make up for what is inherently a poorly written and performed album.

While Megadeth’s output for the past fifteen or so years has been more or less hit or miss, there was always some sense of respectability towards it. Whether it was the dynamic, if a little misplaced, United Abomination, the promising The System Has Failed, or the modern classic Endgame, the albums at least mostly resembled and harkened back to the brilliance of yesteryear. Hell, even Thirteen had a few killer tracks. Super Collider has none of the positives found on those records, and all of the negatives.

Megadeth – Super Collider gets…

1.5/5

– EC

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