RSS Feed

Super Collider

Tradecraft (2013)
Rating: 6/10

Dave Mustaine and company return with their 14th platter, he of the lion mane being accompanied by David Ellefson once again who cements his place alongside drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick; Mustaine again suggesting some stability within the ranks.

I was eagerly anticipating this record, mainly due to the fact that the previous composition, Th1rt3en (2011), was such a disappointment in comparison to 2009’s rather raging Endgame. I was of the hope that the last record would be a mere blip, but the melodic approach of Super Collider suggests that Mustaine has once again resorted to watered down metal.

Super Collider – which comes complete with atrocious cover art better suited to a mid-90s grunge record – is a lukewarm release that takes us back to those mid-to-late 90s records when cutting edge metal was dead on its feet. Is it really too much to ask that us loyal yet hardcore Megadeth fans wish for a driving, pacey opus that boasts a bite far damaging than its bite?

Forget the mythical Big Four, Megadeth are joining Metallica now as a spent beast. Of course, many fans will applaud the latest Megadeth record, but despite the promising rumble of opener ‘Kingmaker’ things rather rapidly take a turn for the worse. For example, the title cut has more in common with AC/DC (yes, I said AC/DC!) than anything remotely thrash metal. From those ascending opening chords to Mustaine’s rather irritating drool, this is nothing more than mediocre rock music that, with its bumbling bass and infectious, yet incredibly commercial chorus, is sub-standard AC/DC.

Now, before you faithful ’Deth fans start frothing in anger at my review, take into consideration the blistering assault of the band’s earlier works, or even the fiery depths of Endgame to prove just how this once titanic act is now floundering.

Sure, the shred heaven of ‘Burn!’ is passable as a half-decent mid-paced rocker, but when Mustaine sneers “Burn baby burn cos it feels so good”, the humour is lost on me. Equally, the lyric of “Fire, you’ve got the fire, fire, burning desire, my desire to burn” is just as earth-shatteringly woeful, better suited to The Cult in its pathetic quest for groove metal.

I just knew that Super Collider wasn’t going to be a hit for me, but I never expected such a miss of a record, and by track four I’m wondering if Mustaine has run out of lyrics. ‘Built For War’ is a ringer for Pantera’s ‘Mouth For War’ (from 1992’s Vulgar Display Of Power) as Mustaine attempts some type of muscular Phil Anselmo growl amid a barrage of riffs and drums that lack any real punch.

Megadeth must surely be under outside influences, as there doesn’t seem to be an ounce of thrash left in that once smoking machine. Super Collider trudges across the wasteland like a tank that has seen too many battles. ‘Off The Edge’ bolsters up the mid-section as an upbeat rocker featuring a catchy riff, but the glimmers of hope are so few and far between.

‘Dance In The Rain’ is the usual Megadeth affair, slow and prowling and laced by Mustaine’s narration, eventually building to a moody vocal with a chorus that sounds like Alice Cooper at his grittiest – which, sadly, isn’t always a good thing – but somewhere in the distance of the track the band find the energy to rattle, and rattle damn hard. However, before we know it the track is over, melting into the grunge-laced slurry of ‘Beginning Of Sorrow’ and the placid chug of ‘The Blackest Crow’ with its sleazy edge.

I’m guessing that anyone who has never previously heard Megadeth will find much to savour here, but the truth of the matter is that bands such as Megadeth, Slayer, and more so Metallica, just can’t match their earlier classics. However, while Metallica have completely distanced themselves from their roots, Megadeth and Slayer are more frustrating because these are the guys that continue to offer us hope, albeit falsely, in old school metal. Tragically, for every half-decent opus they’ve released this side of grunge, there are a handful of absolute turkeys. Only Anthrax’s latest, Worship Music (2011), has lived up to my expectations, but Super Collider just doesn’t have the guts, spine or heart to match the recent releases from Destruction (Spiritual Genocide), Overkill (The Electric Age), Testament (Dark Roots Of Earth) and Sodom (Epitome Of Torture), but I doubt Mustaine even cares.

When I hear the slushy ‘Forget To Remember’, the throwaway cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cold Sweat’ (from 1983’s Thunder And Lightning), or even the mild thrash of ‘A House Divided’ (bonus track on the deluxe edition of the album) I’m reminded of why bands such as Megadeth really don’t matter anymore, and it hurts so much for me to say that. It’s only natural that Megadeth have changed over the years, but again, it’s not for the better.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album / EP Reviews
<< Back to MEGADETH Articles

Related Posts via Categories