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Is Dystopia really that good?

February 5, 2016

Dystopia review

There are a handful of things that I don’t have to question. First is that the thong is the sexiest piece ever constructed. Second, pizza and beer go together better than they should. And, that Donald Trump is actually insane. I’m proud to add another certainty to my small list. Dystopia is the finest damn Megadeth album in well over a decade.

Captain Obvious from any corner of the heavy metal world could predict the upgrade in drumming with Chris Adler sending the bass pedals into orbit. That doesn’t mean actually hearing it come to fruition should be taken as an afterthought. Oh to the contrary, these are moments we salivate over and from minute one his elite skills are on full display. Adler simply drives Megadeth with power and precision, easy to detect on Death From Within and Conquer or Die, his most important contribution may lie in the overall sound quality and song cohesion. Dystopia is tight. Dystopia is fresher blood than anything since, well take your pick.

Now what was under much more scrutiny and perhaps a bit questioned was the guitar work of Kiki Louriero. That’s fair, with such incredible names preceding him. The first piece of evidence in the case for him being a puzzle piece more than perfunctory is found on the title-track. Check out the final minute of the track and let the blend of tones melt. Above the high bar set by Dave Mustaine,  Louriero finds success not through flash and breakneck speed but by adding just a touch of gold to a package that needs little to outshine its competitor.

My hesitation before making purchase was in what vocal style Mustaine would choose as his mainstay, and if he’d break away from his tech-monotone talk not sing style so evident lately it has turned away even some loyalists. While the snarling fiend doesn’t deliver the ‘holy shit’ can you believe how freaking awesome his voice has become proclamations, the effort on the stellar Bullet To The Brain is enough, topping off the premier track from a sure-fire Top 10 album of 2016. Followed up by the small hills of range on Post American World, which contains that kick ass drumming and impressive guitar, Megadeth scores big with slight alterations. It isn’t as if Megadeth had faded into any cavern of existence with Super Collider and Thirteen, but they hadn’t showed dominance either. All of that is over with Dystopia

Poisonous Shadows is more greatness. Rolling double-bass kick contrast perfectly with softer supporting female vocals that welcome in Mustaine’s higher reaching range. As well constructed and executed of a song as we’ve witnessed in Vic Rattlehead’s lurking, don’t believe any fool that sells you this as a track to places on Risk because the complexity here (the piano at the conclusion) transcends that, and those words come across as derisive and cheap. Not to say every track is a 10, but even Emperor, which is more fun/frivolity churns out a killer solo and some of those trademark sneers we talked about earlier. In fact, the guitar solos are some of the best, although the lyrics are average at best.

It’s thrilling to witness a resurgence like this. So many root for Megadeth, but the last thing Ellefson and Mustaine seek is a musical mercy hump. No, Dystopia is tantalizing and laser sharp, and if it is an old lover, then it’s one you’ll welcome into your private spaces, as the moves are all there, and pulled off like only rock stars can. Melt The Ice, for example, can be dismissed as a last track filler, or embraced as a brother to High Speed Dirt (Countdown To Extinction), at least in feel and quality.

Shepherd Says   9/10  Dystopia is the Megadeth album you longed for, the one you knew they had in them, and we could not be more elated.  And one more 100% iron clad truth is the undeniably badass bass line from Dave Ellefson on Fatal Illusion. The hits just keep coming on this one.


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