x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Megadeth: Th1rt3en

Even an unfocused Megadeth still delivers a compelling listen.

Roadrunner Records
***

The signs did not bode well. As a result of finishing their contract with their record label, Megadeth decided to release an album mixing new and older unreleased songs. The whole affair had the whiff of a throwaway record or merely a musical stopgap.

Fortunately on Th1rt3en Dave Mustaine and company deliver another brawny, powerful effort. The album is full of the dynamic songwriting that placed Megadeth above the pack for nearly three decades. Mustaine's songwriting was never about pleasing the metal fraternity, with each album expressing a willingness at least to experiment with different rhythms and styles. For instance, Millennium of the Blind, written in 1991, is a full-fledged power ballad with Mustaine preaching political resistance. The political theme is stepped up a notch on We the People, an anti-greed anthem already a favourite in live shows.

But Th1rt3en is not an all-out fist-pumping affair. The boys get down to some serious shredding with intricate riffs and songs structures. Sudden Death, originally written for the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, shows why it was game favourite with its blistering riffs at the intro.

The rhythm section also proves its worth in New World Order, particularly in the conclusion where the whole thing comes to head in a frenetic finale. Such offerings cannot help but provide a few fillers - particularly Never Dead, whose chugging riffs sound generic. That said, Th1rt3en proves Megadeth can still deliver a compelling listen even when they are unfocused.