Now, LA’s Megadeth are known for a few different things: frontman and founder Dave Mustaine‘s occasionally controversial politically influenced lyrics, insane guitar solos by the bucketful, and the fact that they produce thrash metal that puts bands half their age to shame. However, latest effort ‘Super Collider’ seems to be as much an experiment as the enormous particle-hurling device after which it is named.
Of course, there are still some quality thrash tracks here, and you’d struggle to have a true Megadeth album at hand here without them. ‘Kingmaker’ and ‘Built For War’ kick things into overdrive as they hurtle through tremolo-picked riffs and Mustaine‘s trademark sweeping solos.
The blistering shredded intro of ‘Burn!’ is truly a thing to behold, but the song itself, along with a rather interesting cover of Thin Lizzy‘s ‘Cold Sweat’ are reminiscent of a simpler age when heavy metal dominated the airwaves and The Big Four ruled the scene. That really is where the similarities to 2009’s ‘Endgame’ and 2011’s ‘Thirteen’ end, with less harsh vocals and a slightly slower pace (which in all honesty is still fairly fast). Title-track ‘Super Collider’ is more of a hard rock anthem, with a catchy toe-tapping chorus.
‘Dance In The Rain’, which features David Draiman of Disturbed, starts promisingly, with spoken-word tales of corporate angst over a powerful back beat. Disappointingly though, the momentum trails off when it’s Draiman‘s turn to take his stand to the microphone and subsequently falls flat, a shame to not get the best from a talented and unique vocalist.
The real gems on the album, however, are the wildcards; the sublimely bluesy intro of ‘Don’t Turn Your Back…’ and the fantastic banjo-driven (yes, that’s right, Megadeth with a banjo) ‘The Blackest Crow’, which gives Mustaine a legitimate case for forming a folk metal side-project. With the multitude of shifts in tempo and perfect merging of voracious metal guitar and relentless banjo wizardry, this should immediately become part of the band’s live set.
‘Super Collider’ may not be the typical Megadeth fan’s favourite album, probably far from it, but it’s a pleasantly unexpected offering that continues to display the versatility of one of the greatest bands in thrash metal.
Written by Ben Hammond