Dave Mustaine must be killing himself with laughter at the present moment. Off the back of the “Big Four” concerts with Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, Megadeath has not had this much widespread publicity in a long time, along with their last album EndGame being their best since the early 90s era of Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. The fact that Metallica’s credibility has also virtually disappeared along with their decision making of late, Mustaine must feel as though his band could churn out any good but typical album and have heavy metal fans at his feet.
Luckily Mustaine is an artist who constantly pushes himself to outdo himself along with the rest of the band and the latest offering from Megadeth, entitled TH1RT3EN, is one of the better releases from the band, though it suffers coming off the back of their previous album which was easily their best.
The album starts off blisteringly fast with the track Sudden Death which was previously released in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock but has been re-recorded; it is an excellent start to the album with Mustaine and Chris Broderick trading off riffs and solos between themselves with precision and skill.
The following tracks Public Enemy No.1 and Whose Life (Is It Anyways?) keeps the pace with more blistering solos and thundering drum beats, with the crisp but snarling vocals etching the lyrics seamlessly into the music but it is the next track We The People where the album truly steps up into high gear. Starting off with the roll of a marching drum and radio chatter, the pounding rhythm of drums and the screech of the trading guitars link perfectly, this is easily one of the highlights of the album.
It’s a shame that the next two tracks, Guns, Drugs and Money and NeverDead, are the weakest on the album, still being great songs but the former sounds too much like a filler, a track that was quickly produced to fill space on the album and the latter, written for an upcoming video game of the same title, just does not click like the rest of the tracks on the album, with it lyrically being the poorest on the track.
New World Order thankfully brings the standard back with a politically charged theme that Megadeth are famous for lately while the true highlight of the album lies in the tracks Fast Lane and Black Swan. The powered force of Fast Lane is what makes it such a highlight, taking the riff along with the drums and just pounding into the listener’s eardrums but also having the catchiest riff of the album along with some of the best lyrics. Black Swan is the best song on the album, starting off with the high-pitched wail of the guitar as the drums and guitars merge into one mesmerising power that just sweeps everything that came before it out of the park, it is just that good.
Wrecker keeps up the high standard of the album though do suffer coming off the back of Black Swan but it pounds forward with some of the best drumming on the album along with another fantastic riff. Millennium of the Blind reminisces of the early 90s era, it is a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on Countdown to Extinction. It has quite a slow pace but makes up for it in just how heavy the overall sound of the song is and is another highlight of the album. Deadly Nightshade speeds the tempo up with crunching guitars and brilliant lyrics, along with some fantastic bass work from David Ellefson, who returns to the band after ten long years and is a welcome return.
The final track, 13, is the most emotional of the tracks on the album with the lyrics being sung with copious amounts of emotion, the sorrow in Mustaine’s voice as he sings about his past is just fantastic. The line “‘Cause I’ve stood here 13 times, and I’m still alive” is delivered so magnificently that it is the best deliver on the album, this is the song where the vocals are so much more important than the guitars and is easily up with there with Black Swan as best on the album.
The album is brilliant, easily one of Megadeth’s best releases but due to it coming off the back of EndGame it does feel underwhelming at the start but it picks up massively towards the end and is well worth a listen.