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Matthew Clarke

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United Abominations
United Abominations
Price: £5.60

47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Megadeth continue their return to form., 23 April 2007
This review is from: United Abominations (Audio CD)
Speaking about 'United Abominations', Megadeth's 11th studio recording, Dave Mustaine recently stated that the album's sound could place it before 'Rust In Peace' or after 'Countdown To Extinction' in the band's catalogue. This is a fair assessment as, musically, it mixes elements of the speed and heaviness of the former with the melody of the latter. Despite Mustaine's physical problems he remains perhaps the finest thrash guitarist today, and the entire album is performed with Megadeth's trademark precision. The addition of an all new supporting cast of Glen and Shawn Drover, on guitar and drums respectively, and bassist James LoMenzo has brought a new energy to the band, that has recently been notable by its absence.

Mustaine is a spokesperson for a generation of metal bands and fans alike, and now represents everything positive about the genre; using his position as a platform to promote sociopolitical concerns. It therefore comes as little surprise that, lyrically, the core of the album follows on from 2004's 'The System Has Failed' in dealing with the occupation of Iraq, the American government and the general state of the world today; all delivered in Mustaine's sneering vocal style. But, where that album showed flashes of potential, 'United Abominations' consistently delivers. Songs such as 'Amerikhastan', 'Washington Is Next!' and the title track would sit comfortably on any of their early albums; when the band breaks into the middle section of opener 'Sleepwalker', it rivals the likes of 'Tornado Of Souls' or 'Hangar 18'.

If there were to be any criticism it would centre on the re-recorded version of 'A Toute Le Monde'. Thirteen years after it appeared on Youthanasia, it sees Mustaine duet with Lacuna Coil front woman Cristina Sccabia, and, while the overall pacing and end harmony guitar parts are more satisfying than the original, it's hard to understand why a song with such personal subject matter should ever be sung by more than one person.

Although 'United Abominations' doesn't quite reach the heights of their late eighties/early nineties heyday, it doesn't contain a single filler track and is certainly their strongest release in more than a decade.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2011 7:50 PM GMT

Christ Illusion
Christ Illusion

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Slayer album since Seasons In The Abyss, 7 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Christ Illusion (Audio CD)
Unlike "Maquando" below, I tend to review an album after actually hearing it... Musically, 'Christ Illusion' is a cross between 'God Hates Us All' and 'Seasons In The Abyss', which should excite the majority of Slayer fans. This sound is never more apparent then on opener 'Flesh Storm', which is immediately reminiscent of 'War Ensemble'. 'Catalyst' is a bludeoning three minute assault on the senses. However, it isn't until 'Skeleton Christ' that the album truly hits both it's stride and undeniable groove. One suspects that this is largely due to the welcome return of Dave Lombardo behind the drum kit (yes, the greatest metal drummer of his generation); although the fact that there isn't a bad song on the album is also a huge plus. 'Jihad' tells the story of 9/11 from the point of view of one of the terrorists without ever coming across as crass. It is also unlike any Slayer song you will have heard before. Lombardo's return coupled with Kerry King's seemingly boundless anger has galvanised Slayer, addding new impetus to their aural attack. Both 'Consfearacy' and 'Supremist' stand as testimony to this, the latter's opening riff tipping it's hat to the band's birth on 'Show No Mercy'. 'Black Serenade' is Tom Araya's obligatory serial killer/necrophilia ballad, delivered in typically unapologetic fashion. Indeed, this is the other stand out feature of 'Christ Illusion': the time and care taken over the vocals. Although the lyrics are typically standard fare (anti-religion, war, etc) they have been recorded with an unusual clarity for Slayer, and Araya's voice is more full of spite than ever.

It's difficult to know what 'Christ Illusion' will do for Slayer's popularity in the extreme music scene (it's unlikely to garner them any new, younger fans), but for many people this is the most anticipated metal album of 2006. The fact that it is the best Slayer offering for over 15 years is also likely to see it top many best of 2006 lists.

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