Music

Megadeth: Th1rt3en

They may not be making headlines with their albums, but Megadeth is still one of the best thrash bands around, and this new album only adds to that reputation.


Megadeth

Th1rt3en

Label: Roadrunner
US Release Date: 2011-11-01
UK Release Date: 2011-10-31
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Amidst the resurgences of Metallica and Anthrax and the genesis of an entire new wave of thrash metal around the world, Megadeth has been consistently and quietly releasing solid albums for the past ten years. The problem has been that the group's new albums end up being outshined by other new albums, from either their peers (in the case of 2009's Endgame, it was passed over by critics in favor of Slayer's World Painted Blood) or newer, more vibrant metal bands with large followings (such as 2004's The System Has Failed being outclassed by Mastodon's Leviathan). It's likely not what Dave Mustaine envisioned for the band's return from hiatus in 2004 and subsequent signing with Roadrunner Records in 2006. Nonetheless, Mustaine and his cohorts are still making great music and keeping classic thrash relevant in the metal community. They've certainly accomplished that on their thirteenth studio album, appropriately titled Th1rt3en. But there is also plenty about the album that makes it different from its predecessors.

Over the course of their 28-year career, Megadeth has experienced a number of style changes, so hearing new things from the band is nothing new. That said, Th1rt3en is a very strong album with the same thrash style as the seminal albums Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. Mustaine's solos are very diverse, some going for all-out speed and shred, with others focused on technicality and precision. The balance among the solos is one of the album's greatest assets, as it is also an indicator of how diverse the compositions are. The pure thrash songs on Th1rt3en are among the best that the band has written in years. "Never Dead", "Sudden Death", and "Wrecker" are all excellent examples of how thrash ought to sound and what the genre is capable of creating.

The rest of the album is mostly good, but there are some songs where the genres choices are a bit head-scratching. Some choices show that Mustaine is enjoying a rare opportunity to show how skilled he is at different genres. With songs like "We the People", "Guns Drugs & Money", and "Deadly Nightshade" showing a strong groove metal influence, it seems clear that Mustaine is channeling a love of Pantera and the guitar styles of Dimebag Darrell. These tracks and the inspiration that spawned them are great, and they help to offset the mediocrity of the tracks that have a clear hard rock or mainstream rock tone. Sure, Megadeth has created and performed songs worse than "Public Enemy No. 1" or "Fast Lane", but next to the high quality of the rest of the album, these songs just seem lackluster.

Overall, though, Th1rt3en is the latest in a series of well-composed and well-executed albums for Megadeth. Unfortunately, it seems likely that the group will be overshadowed once again, this time by their Big 4 comrades Anthrax and their new album Worship Music. In spite of that, though, Megadeth is still very relevant, setting the standard of consistency among thrash bands the world over. Within the Big 4, no one has had the output or the quality of Megadeth since 2001, and outside of the Big 4, Megadeth is still a name that is synonymous with excellence in thrash.

7

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image