The System Has Failed
posted on 8/2004 By:
Back from the brink of deth, the legendary brainchild of the illustrious Dave Mustaine returns, as if anybody ever doubted it would happen. Megadeth was the fastest, angriest, and arguably best band of the thrash scene in the late eighties/early nineties. I came into this album with very high expectations, as the two songs released via the Megadeth website were very promising. Somehow though, this album feels a bit hollow. Maybe Megadeth’s furious charm has finally worn off.
The System Has Failed starts off rather cheesily with a fake newsreel in the song “Blackmail the Universe”, about Air Force One being blown up, and it continues with satirical war-mongering statements interspersed between what can only be called the best Megadeth riffs since Countown to Extinction. Yes, the two pre-released songs were in fact that damn good (the other being “Kick the Chair”). Between these two songs is “Die Dead Enough”, a great melodic piece reminiscent of the Cryptic Writings era.
This is where the album takes a turn toward the unsavory, however. The next two songs, “The Scorpion” and “Tears in a Vial”, are reminiscent of – I dare say -- Risk-era Megadeth. This is rather disturbing, seeing as Risk was a critically panned album and we all hoped Mustaine had moved on from those psudeo-wannabe-rockstar songs. This is the point of the album where you definitely hit “SKIP TRACK” twice.
Luckily this is a brief spell of crappiness, and if you can’t make it past the two annoying songs then I feel sorry for you. “Back in the Day” isn’t reminiscent of any previous Megadeth styles, but is decidedly Megadeth without question. The riff almost sounds like Iron Maiden, something like “Flash of the Blade” or “Be Quick or Be Dead”. In fact, this remains the theme of the remainder of the album, a new Megadeth sound that really doesn’t pull from any previous ’Deth styles, yet is unquestionably Megadeth to the core (with the exception of “Of Mice and Men”, which was awkward and bored me).
As with any legendary band putting out a new album, I have some very mixed feelings about this new Megadeth album. The lack of David Ellefson makes it feel hollow. Not that he was an incredible bassist or anything, I think it’s just the way his presence affects Mustaine’s writing and performing style. The addition of Chris Poland for a few solos was nice, but there's nothing really mind blowing in the way of musicianship here. There are moments of pure Megadeth magic, and there are moments I had hoped I’d never hear again (ahem.. Risk). Taking everything into account, this album is great and worthy of a listen. It’s about on par with Youthanasia or Cryptic Writings, I say put your differences with Mustaine aside and give it a whirl.
Kick The Chair - Classic Megadeth through and through
Back In The Day - A Megadeth for the new millenium, creative and interesting riffing
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