ALBUM: Megadeth – Th1rt3en

Release Date: November 1st, 2011
Label: Roadrunner Records


You know when you’re on a night out, and you see someone that you sort of know, but haven’t really talked to before? Like a classmate, or a work colleague. You have a couple of drinks with them, and by the end of the night you’ve shared every secret you have and have proclaimed that they are the friend you never had. The next morning you wake up dazed and confused, and after those few seconds when you realise where you are it hits you how you made a total ass of yourself in front of the aforementioned acquaintance. Well, Megadeth are kind of like that. They’re a band that you’re slightly reluctant to listen to or like, but when you’re sat there with headphones blaring, you can’t help but think that you’re a total bellend for never listening to them. Fast forward one hour when the headphones are off though, and you wonder whether you did actually like them or not and you have to make the decision whether to further pursue them or just continue to ignore their existence.

The facepalmworthily named ‘Th1rt3en’ is, you’ve guessed it, Megadeth‘s thirteenth offering, and despite the juvenile first impression it is another well-polished, grubby kick up James Hetfield‘s butt to keep Megadeth at the forefront of heavy metal. It’s hard to get started on Megadeth; they have many albums, and there’s really not one that sticks out as the ‘best’ that they can offer. ‘Thirteen’ (fuck you, I’m not writing it like a chode every time) could easily be Megadeth‘s best album yet; it contains all of their original sound and there really aren’t any ‘bad’ songs that stick out. It’s almost like if you jumbled around the order of every Megadeth album, they’d still play out exactly the same career path, such is their if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach.

So, you’ve never heard Megadeth before, but you want to get into them. Where to start? I suggest listening to the lead single from ‘Thirteen’, ‘Public Enemy No.1’. It’s a classic Megadeth sounding song, featuring a catchy riff echoing ‘Hangar 18’ (from 1990’s ‘Rust In Peace’), flowing through a highly satisfying singalong chorus and powering through a Dave Mustaine freak-out solo. The lyrics are also token rhymeaway-Mustaine: “I’m invincible / You might say despicable / Punishments reciprocal / Public enemy number one”. You can’t help but want to bang your head and sing along.

And, there are plenty more strangely-themed songs to go with that. ‘Fast Lane’ is similar to ‘1320’ from their last album (2009’s ‘Endgame’), with the motor theme and a similar sound. ‘Sudden Death’ was featured on some kind of Guitar Hero incarnation recently, and works well as the opening track with its gradual buildup and powerful introducing verse. ‘Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)’ showcases Shawn Drover‘s drumming skills, and again effortlessly whips up a great vibe with the simple yet effective riffs and Mustaine‘s token crooning.

If Megadeth are your thing (and to millions of South Americans for some reason, you’d bet your fucking ass they are), then there’s no doubt you’ll be pleased with ‘Thirteen’. For someone like myself who doesn’t really know anything about them, it’s a hell of a starting point to the terrifying world of ginger-fronted metal.

Written by Martin Savage

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