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Imagine Dystopia Was Megadeths First Album, How Would We Feel About It Then?

If you take the new album from Megadeth, one of our biggest bands, and ignore their past glories, does their new material still hold weight?


Source: Album Artwork

Megadeth have, for many years now, been a staple of the metal community. You see a man walking down the street with a bullet belt and more hair than you and chances are he’s a Megadeth fan. But does their exccessive back catalogue, spanning more than thirty years at this point, give them more credit than they are actually due? If we take their latest album Dystopia purely by itself, and don’t form opinions on it based off of their back catalogue and reputation, does it still hold weight in 2016?

What if this was Megadeth’s first album?

The world of thrash music is, to most people’s mind, a fairly barren one. There are very few bands still perpetuating thrash music to the degree that it was done at last century, and the ones that are have become the elder statesmen of alternative music, more institutions of music than quality creative bands at this point. Enter Megadeth. Although having only formed the year before 1984, Megadeth have already been making some small waves in the music scene. This, coupled with some big names such as Dave Mustaine (who has already been in a band or two before) and drummer Chris Addler (yes, that Chris Addler, as in the guy from Lamb Of God) working on this album is sure to make them become a household name – as long as the music is up to the mark.

For a debut album, this can hold a candle to the best of them. Those who enjoy the chunky riff work of bands like Volbeat will find themselves headbanging their faces off to most of the album, especially stand-out tracks likeFatal Illusion and the title track ‘Dystopia’. Although nothing especially new in terms of the sound, the riffs are powerful and fast enough, and played with enough venom that their genericism can be forgiven. However, the lead guitar work – in particular the guitar solos – (which have become a dying medium these days with the slew of paint-by-numbers metalcore bands) are undeniably technically proficient.

Singer Dave Mustaine on the other hand may find that his vocal performance would benefit from some more time worked on it. The melodies stay mostly around the same register, and though he doesn’t fall flat or sharp at any point, if he didn’t have the snarl which is going to make this one of the more pissed-off albums you will hear this year, the vocal performance would not be up to the standard set by the instrumental sections.

All in all though, this is an enjoyable album. There’s more than enough bite to each song that even if you get the impression Megadeth are relying too heavily on their influences, this album still embodies the fury that has given alternative music the reputation it has.

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