RSS Feed

United Abominations

Roadrunner (2007)
Rating: 8/10

Cool album title and Megadeth are now embedded, once again, in the thrash zone they belong. Although 2004’s The System Has Failed was a marked improvement on The World Needs A Hero (2001), United Abominations is another, firmer step in the right direction. With Dave Mustaine truly pissed off at the United Nations, and the world in general, coupled with previous problems with his former record label, this is as sneering and pummelling as we’d hoped.

United Abominations thankfully features a solid line-up, but it must be said that Mustaine is becoming the next Chuck Schuldiner (Death) when it comes to altering personnel, and in some cases he hasn’t always been right when it comes to tinkering with the formation.

Even so, this time around the Megadeth mainman brings in Canadian guitarist Glen Drover, formerly of Eidolon and King Diamond, who does a splendid job here.

From the off, the band are tight and blistering, with album opener ‘Sleepwalker’ featuring a staggering riff even if some of the chords do bear a slight resemblance to the classic ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due’ track, from 1990’s Rust In Peace opus.

Interestingly, Glen Drover is accompanied by his brother Shawn, who rattles away convincingly on the skins, and his crystal clear and yet bracing work is best experienced on the clinical ‘Washington Is Next!’, which features another superb riffing backbone.

United Abominations is certainly Megadeth’s best album since Countdown To Extinction (1992), and this could be due to the fact that apart from one track Dave Mustaine is the sole songwriter. The one exception is ‘Never Walk Alone… A Call To Arms’, one of the album’s strongest tracks. Co-written with Glen Drover, it showcases James LoMenzo’s juddering bass as the cold steel riff runs deep throughout as once again we’re reminded of that classic Megadeth sound.

The same goes for the smouldering, war-ravaged title track with its simmering chords that explode into a chugging structure and vitriolic vocal. All this leads to the melody of the chorus, and it’s this type of melody that litters the entire record, with each track infectiously bleeding into the system, spouted like venom from Mustaine’s twisted grin.

United Abominations refuses to offer us a duff track, and ‘Gears Of War’ creeps ominously before it is overcome with spite. The darkened chug is probably the closest Megadeth have come to rivals Metallica in sound, with the bass vibrating through the foundations, and the drums are aflame. But for shredding ecstasy one only has to lend an ear to the jarring ‘Amerikhastan’, with Mustaine commentating on the Middle East affairs.

The album’s only down-point for me is the rehash of ‘À Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)’, originally found on 1994’s Youthanasia and this time featuring the vocal talents of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia. Sadly, it’s the weakest track on the record, but by the time ‘You’re Dead’ and particularly ‘Burnt Ice’ come charging through the room, this negative is quickly erased.

For me, United Abominations features some of Mustaine’s best guitar work in years; the searing solos and crushing riffs have the ability to remove teeth. Dave Mustaine has declared World War Three on record.

Neil Arnold

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

Related Posts via Categories