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Album Review

The release of 2009's Endgame brings with it a startling realization: if first-generation thrash metal fans had been polled about which of the genre's "Big Four" — Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth — would prove to be the most resilient and consistently prolific over the next quarter century, the only sure-fire consensus would probably have been "well, anyone but Megadeth!" And yet, 12 studio albums and 150-plus songs later — more than any of the other three have managed — that's exactly what's come to pass. It hasn't been easy, and it's rarely been pretty along the way, but despite a few weak efforts, mostly self-inflicted controversy, and no end to verbal diarrhea, none of those other platinum-busting thrash titans have been as productive as Dave Mustaine's bunch — all of which stands as a testament to the man's stubborn drive to prolong Megadeth's career against all odds, including drug abuse, his unfulfilled vengeance against Metallica, and even a religious reawakening! Of course, one shouldn't overlook the fact that Megadeth have always been a band in name only, thus allowing their leader to cope with voices of dissent by simply showing them the door. The "group" was also broken up for a short spell in the early 2000s while Mustaine recovered from nerve damage to his hands, after which he struggled with inspiration, creative direction, and a never-ending parade of henchmen before finally recovering much of that old Megadeth "mojo" (sonically, lyrically, and even where the cover art was concerned) on 2007's effective return to form, United Abominations. Best of all, this momentum carries on into Mustaine and company's second release for Roadrunner, Endgame, whose title apparently refers to "coming full circle" rather than any sort of goodbye, and finds the latest iteration of Megadeth — debuting new guitarist Chris Broderick(ex-Nevermore, Jag Panzer) — working primarily within their technical thrash comfort zone (think Peace Sells through Rust in Peace), with only a few latter-day elements and rare experimental diversions.

As such, deceptively simple guitar-shredding master classes like "This Day We Fight!," "1,320" (surprisingly, written about "funny car" racing), and first single "Headcrusher" are cut from the same bloody cloth as "Wake Up Dead" and "Set the World Afire," while politicized rants such as "44 Minutes," "Bite the Hand That Feeds," and the title cut recall old stalwarts like "Peace Sells" and "Holy Wars." And for those who enjoyed Megadeth's early-'90s shift away from incessant thrashing toward the more "civilized" (but pre-sellout) Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia albums, there are more methodical and melodically sweetened cuts like "Bodies Left Behind," "How the Story Ends," and "The Right to Go Insane." Indeed, the only song here that breaks entirely from vintage Megadeth templates is the elaborately named "The Hardest Part of Letting Go...Sealed with a Kiss," which surely owes its orchestrated string backdrops to the European metal perspective afforded by producer Andy Sneap, and tells a "love story" about entombing one's beloved behind a brick wall à la Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado. This one anomaly notwithstanding, however, Endgame is arguably the least commercially concerned Megadeth album since Rust in Peace some 20 years earlier, and by touching on so many of the favored songwriting styles of those early years, it should not only give their typically opinionated fan base very little to kvetch and moan about, but also throw new fuel upon the flames of Megadeth's unlikely longevity.

Customer Reviews

Rib crushing, intricate metal, worthy of your hard earned $$s BUY

Having heard the headbang inducing heavyness that is the song Headcrusher for a bit over a week now, I am glad to report the rest of the album lives up to the hype... The intricate guitar dual between Dave and (new member) Chrison the opening track just LEAPS out of your speakers and basically lets you know the next 45mins are gonna be fun!! TDWF is a chest belter of the highest order, a real up-tempo, fist-in-the-air song that is gonna go off live (I hope they open with this song!) 44M is where Dave has all the non-musical background stuff (a-la robotic noises in psychotron et all) but a heavy song with superb musicianship and a catchy chourus... 1320 harkens back to 502 in both feel and lyrical content, but it is not a rehash by any means, do not listen to this song in the car unless you like speeding tickets... BTH is musicianship of the highest order with clever lyrics with guitarwork that explodes in the song but the solos still fit the song, the whole album has erupting guitar solos but they still fit within their songs... Bodies has a driving rhythm thanks to shaun's rolling drum sound, real rhythms to get the head banging... Endgame is a paranoid nightmare about sinister governments arresting citizens who don't have The Chip a-la book of revelations type stuff hidden in a heavy track, personally I don't agree with the opinions but a heavy song none-the-less.... THPALGSWAK starts as an acoustic ballad then gets more uptempo in the SWAK part that shows the songwriting skills of Dave, maybe not as good a song as Promises time will tell.... Headcrusher is pure THRASH with intricate music and great lyrics... catchy yet heavy, only Megadeth can pull that off, this is another song that would go off live, very smart to release this song as the single.... HTSE is Thrash of the highest order that just pulverises everything, very fist-in-the-air.... TRTGI opens with a bass run from James that maybe they are trying to eclipse that other bass run (Peace Sells) but thats not necessary James is definitely NOT in the shadow of Jr and he is perfect with Shaun, one of the best rhythm sections in metal???, but a great way to end the cd.... if you have any friends who prattle on about how Heavy metal people cannot play instruments or write great songs (obviously more of an aquaintance that a friend, yeah??) this is the cd you play to them to shut them up and show them the error of their misguided opinions, coz the musicianship and songwriting on this cd is right up there... Dave Mustaine has been going on about how this is the best cd of his career (lets be honest isn't everyones latest release supposedly their best) and with a back catalogue like Megadeths thats a bold statement, but he may just be right. In my opinion they just said what the hell and just made a cd that the fans would want, instead of relying on past glories like other bands... Buy this album, I bet you will still play this for years to come, and will make you feel proud to be a Megadeth fan.

Endgame Megadeth

Its been a long time coming. Like many, I've been a fan of Megadeth for more than 20+ years. For years we've been excited by the first track of a new album, and then left wanting. Endgame is heavy and fast. It borrows from so far, so good..., and other earlier classics. This may be the best since Countdown, or even Rust. The drumming is tight; the bass is heard for the first time since Ellefson left; and its like Dave has been possesed. No more filler tracks - everyone is a killer. Do yourself a favour - old and new fans alike. Megadeth has had the potential for this album for a long time, and it doesn't disappoint. But it or die!

how metal should sound

brutal, tight and just freakin awesome. whips the pants off metallicas death magnetic, best tracks are endgame, head crusher, and the right to go insane


Formed: 1983 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After he left Metallica in 1983, guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine formed the thrash metal quartet Megadeth. Though Megadeth followed the basic blueprint of Metallica's relentless attack, Mustaine's group distinguished themselves from his earlier band by lessening the progressive rock influences, adding an emphasis on instrumental skills, speeding up the tempo slightly, and making the instrumental attack harsher. By streamlining the classic thrash metal approach and making the music more threatening,...
Full Bio
Endgame, Megadeth
View In iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: 09 September 2009

Customer Ratings