on 23 April 2007
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.
on 28 May 2007
Iv got to say that this album is one of the most classic megadeth albums so far, it is filled with everything that makes megadeth such an amazing band; speed, loads of solos and dave mustaines intelligent and melodic vocal lines.
The album quite frankly is perfect from opener sleepwalker to the solo outro of burnt ice there is not a bad track. My favourite tracks are Washington is next and united abominiations and i an guarentee youll have them in your head for hours after hearing them
So I would say if your a long term megadeth fan or a metal fan in general, go out and get it you WILL NOT be disappointed!
on 27 May 2007
Some people will argue megadeth can never match rust in peace, infact most bands will never be able to create something that compares to it. This album sees megadave and co give it a mighty fine go though!
This cd sees the band returning to their vintage thrash sound whilst maintaining the newer, more comercial sound of the last couple of records they produced. It includes a remake of the classic "A tout le monde" with Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) sharing vocal duties with Mr Mustaine. It also features the combination of Mustaine and Drover on guitars resulting in the tapestry of the record being enriched with multiple solo's which again are a return since the departure of Marty Friedman.
The songs themselves all deal with political and social issues lyrically which is expected from the band. Daves vocals have improved alot since he started and it pays dividends to the bands overall sound. As said earlier, the guitar work on the cd is awesome and will keep shred fans happy.
My only complaints about the record are that it is a slower tempo than i would have liked and Dave seems to be borrowing a couple of his own riffs from other albums, not alot but to a fan it is noticeable a couple of times.
This album is definately worth getting if your a fan of Megadeth, but if you are new to the band i would reccomend starting with Rust In Peace.
Stand out tracks: Washington is Next, Gears of War, A Tout Le Monde and Burnt Ice
on 28 May 2007
A number of established bands have taken a more political stance than ever before the past couple years, and Megadeth is no different. Since Dave Mustaine re-formed the band (with a new lineup yet again), he's back on track and looking back to the glory days of 80's thrash metal that he helped pioneer. "United Abominations" is just that, as Megadeth makes their debut on Roadrunner Records with this raw sounding, politically laced treat that may very well be the album of the year. Opening track "Sleepwalker" slams forward with Mustaine's scratchy voice and ripping guitars, while "Washington is Next!", "Never Walk Alone...A Call to Arms", "Play for Blood", and the title track are all excellent metal blasts as well. What longtime fans of the band will notice right off the bat however is a remake of Megadeth's mid-90's hit single, "A Tout Le Monde". Here, we get "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" which is a faster, more driven version of the song, and it also features Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia on vocals as well. This is Megadeth at their most raw and primitive sounding since "Peace Sells...", which in itself is really saying something. Undoubtedly the best metal album of the year so far, "United Abominations" is a metal masterpiece.
on 26 February 2015
In my opinion Megadeth's career hit an all-time high with the raw masterpiece Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? and the more polished but equally powerful Rust In Peace, both of which have stood the test of time amazingly well and are still regulars on my playlist over 25 years since they first hit the shelves.
Other early efforts Killing Is My Business and So Far, So Good, So What? didn't quite hit the spot in the same way, Killing Is My Business displayed a little too many rough edges particularly when compared to the early eighties classic Kill `Em All by Metallica which Megadeth lead vocalist and guitarist Dave Mustaine also contributed to musically and put his debut album in direct competition with due to his acrimonious departure from that band.
So Far So Good showed early signs of the band personnel already in turmoil, something which would rear its ugly head once again in later years with only Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson featuring regularly in the majority of future Megadeth line-ups.
Just below the first two albums I mentioned in terms of intensity and excitement but arguably higher in production values and commercial accessibility which Megadeth desperately needed to compete with the likes of Metallica in the early nineties came the more civilised but equally impressive releases Countdown To Extinction and Youthanasia and for me nothing has come close to the passion of the first two albums I mentioned or the quality and consistency of the these two, until this absolute stunner came out.
The last 15 years or so have been a mixed bag for Megadeth where such albums as Risk and the recent Super Collider have drawn criticism from long-time fans who believe that the mighty Dave has at times tried too hard to develop a commercial edge at the expense of his original thrash roots, other albums such as The System Has Failed and The World Needs A Hero have moments of real quality in places as well as the return (albeit brief in the case of Chris Poland) of some much loved former band members but on the whole nothing on these albums compares to their heyday.
This is where United Abominations comes into the equation, from the first moment that the blistering opening track Sleepwalker kicks in you know that there is something a little bit special about this offering which has arguably been missing in recent years and this thought stays with you until the very last track on the album.
Even though there are no members of the classic alumni present other than Mustaine, not even the eternally loyal (or long suffering depending on which way you look at it) David Ellefson, the Drover brothers and James Lomenzo inject a level of quality to proceedings that hasn't been present since Youthanasia all those years ago and there is far more killer on this album than filler.
The lyrics are politically charged as to be expected with the passionate but equally talented Mustaine taking on main songwriting duties but whatever side you fall down on in your own particular beliefs the music does the talking and this album really doesn't let up where this is concerned.
With the cynical United Abominations and Amerikhastan delivering Mustaine's message though some truly memorable music, add to that the high-tempo fury of Washington Is Next and the grinding brilliance of Gears Of War and you have something that Megadeth haven't delivered in some time and for those fans of the currently popular Symphonic Metal genre the mid-nineties classic A Tout Le Monde is given a new lease of life as a duet with the beautiful Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil fame sharing vocal duties with Mustaine.
I could go on all day about how impressed I was when I first gave this disc a spin but all you really need to know is that this is in my opinion the best the mighty Megadeth have had to offer since the multi-platinum selling Countdown To Extinction and if you have to buy one album of theirs from the last twenty years this would be my unreserved recommendation, just a shame that there have been more line-up changes since it's release but fingers crossed for some good news on that front later this year!
on 11 July 2010
This is in my opinion the last record of real quality from Megadeth to date. Endgame doesn't touch the first half of this amazing, but ultimately flawed record.
What can I say about Sleepwalker? One of the best songs from Mustaine ever, it's on a Rust In Peace level, and Countdown's. After slowly moving through seductive string sections the riff becomes more and more intense before exploding into a intense staccato galloping riff. The vision of the lyrics is also fascinating with Mustaine channeling some sort of bizarre sociopath murderer or perhaps singing about a Freddie Krueger character. One of his flashes of genius imagination, think Sweating Bullets.
Washington is Next reminds me of a modern day Holy Wars and is utterly rifftastic and immense. The double kick during the verses! Wow. Lyrics are controversial and a little bit fantasist but oh my does the song kick it out. Another one that's gonna be seen as a classic of the genre in ten years time. What's also amazing is how long it is and how effortlessly it goes through all 5 minutes of it.
Never Walk Alone features brilliant riffs, brilliant hooks, admittedly one of the riffs sounds similar to one off of the TSHF album. The lyrics are fascinating, who is he writing about? This is one of the newer sounding songs released recently that are pretty fresh in style and yet are strong in song writing quality.
UA is a good track that isn't great because it suffers from an underdeveloped chorus hook, with the words "united abomination" in it not fitting. The jangly intro is too long with a lack of symmetry in riff repetition (the bit where the jangly riff switches to just two notes always makes me think it's not quite fully developed and I don't appreciate the way it's panned from speaker to speaker).
Gears of War is incredible. The dissonant medievil hooky intro feeding into the hot as hell chugging riff with its whispered hook. And then, the melodic singing & lyrics! "Ethnic cleansing with no defending these acts of genocide," amazing.
I often find myself thinking that the song is cheapened by its attachment to a video game, rather than the game being cheapened by its attachment to the song ala the Duke Nukem number in previous years (terrible)
Blessed Are the Dead suffers from being slightly too slow in tempo, a naff bass intro that mulls it over too much, a minute too long with lyrics that are far too religious in their referencing. Tho the hooky singing at 1:12 in the chorus and in other places is good, ideally this one should have been chopped up with good bits from other tracks that didn't cut it... Speaking of which:
Play For Blood is boring, lacking a decent verse melody, with a chorus that needed more development before release and is too mid tempo, although the intro is great the rest of the song doesn't live up to it. There's a fantastic pre-solo and post solo bridge in it, unfortunately it takes 2 minutes 20 seconds to get to it, which is far too long.
A Tout Le Monde is of course, as it always was is a beautiful song and despite the odd choice to re-record in order to fulfil Mustaine's original vision for it, I can appreciate hearing it once more. A new harmony duet vocal, and a snazzy new solo, freshened up a little.
Amerikhastan starts with a camera flash charge noise and goes down hill from there, it's lyrically xenophobic, quasi-religious, lacks notable riffing or solos, has terrible melodic sensibilities and lots of Mustaine babbling on about God knows what (he doesn't even seem to know with him babbling on about stuff both from left and right perspectives of America's political system) Then it goes off into a bizarre noodling solo seemingly to make up for it, but I reject it, so hah Dave. Hah.
You're Dead starts with a promising pulsing chug riff and an interesting verse riff, but my God the pre-chorus bit at 0:38 onwards is awkward and terrible and extremely patchy. But then there are great melodic and riffy parts in it, but they're all stop/start and awkwardly assembled. A real mixed bag, very underdeveloped with real promise. Who told him this was finished? Bad production here, there was a possibly brilliant song to be had here.
Burnt Ice starts off with a great intro solo and coughing and reminds me of Sweet Leaf by Black Sabbath because of it, but what on earth happens at 0:30 onwards? Like You're Dead this is incredibly patchy with brilliant melodic hooks tacked together with bits that are almost unlistenable followed by brilliant solos. And that is why this CD is such a flawed record, there was immense potential, and a lot of great material, and even 4 or 5 classic songs that will be part of the touring machine no doubt for years to come, but this could have been above Youthanasia's quality and gone easily gone gold with more work.
For people new to the band, Rust In Peace followed by this album would be a great place to start (it's no Countdown or Cryptic Writings but it is a more modern example of Dave's great song writing so is worth a purchase to be contemporary), as well as Countdown, Cryptic Writings (an under-rated gem that is the bands high point in commercial creativity - stunning), Youthanasia and Peace Sells.
I was delighted with The System has Failed which was a step in the right direction musically in my opinion, it might have been a little more Youthanasia than Peace Sells but the important point is that the songs were great, the production was punchy again after three flat sounding records, and Dave sounded angry for the first time in years.
United Abominations, takes that ball and runs with it, coming across very much as a thrashier, harder and faster version of The System Has Failed. The great thing however, is that even if you forgot that a subgenre called thrash had ever existed, this would still be an absolutely phenomenal record.
There are no weak tracks, the guitar solos are good, the production job is good and the album feels more like a cohesive band effort than the previous record did.
While the album thankfully got the praise it got, some people remained suspicious. There have been a fair amount of criticisms made on some fairly petty things. So on the album artwork, skeletal-mascot Vic has skin? So the band re-recorded their classic track `A Toute Le Monde,' ? So What ? it was a great song then, and its still the same song, and who really cares about the mascot on the artwork when the music is so great.
If you enjoy the music of Megadeth, aren't stuck in the past, can overlook those petty flaws and if you can get over the lyrics then you will surely love United Abominations. Peace Sells, but Buy this instead.
on 28 May 2007
I must admit that when I first heard Megadeth were recording a new album I worried it wasn't going to be very good but upon hearing a few sample tracks I realised that they had turned back on the good old days and were producing the music we know and love. I decided to pre order the CD and when I received it I decided to give it a quick listen and it totally blew me away. Each song is as good, if not better than the previous one and it has a constant impact upon you. I didn't think that it was possible for the album to keep the pace, I was sure i'd be disappointed with the majority but yet again I was proven wrong. I absolutely love this album and up until now is one of my faves from this year. My fave tracks were 'You're Next', 'A Tout Le Monde', and 'Sleepwalker'.
This album is well worth the money you pay for it, I haven't taken mine out of my CD player since the day it arrived!
on 5 September 2007
I'm really surprised at some of the reviews for this album. I hadn't listened to any metal since the 80's and it was my 15 year old son who introduced me to Megadeth with United Abominations. What can I say except it was the most refreshing thing I had heard in many years. I had never heard guitar playing like it. It just blew my mind. And yes, the politics may be a little angry but it only echoes what many people have been thinking...me included. Sleepwalker is a furious opening which grabbed me by the balls and led me right in.
This album was so impressive that I have bought a Megadeth cd each week for the last month and have not been disappointed yet. Great songwriting, UNBELIEVABLE musicianship. I wish I'd discovered them years earlier. Refreshing and brilliant if you haven't heard MEGADETH, you could do worse than start here.
on 5 July 2007
While Megadeth have continued for the last 15 years making solid albums with some great tracks on them, it is fair to say that they haven't released anything in the same league as the old classics that finished with 1992's `Countdown to Extinction'. For years now the fan base has been crying out for something with the intensity of classic Megadeth, with the technical ability of the aforementioned `Countdown' and the heaviness of `Peace Sells....' And at long last the fans have been rewarded with the bands best work possibly even since 1990's `Rust in Peace'.
United Abominations is nothing short of a firm kick to the plumbs of every doubter of the flame haired one who thought he was washed up. Mr Mustaine and his new set of band mates play like demons throughout, from opening number `Sleepwalker' right through to the soloing frenzied `Burnt Ice' the album is packed with gems, and even the reworked `A tout le Monde' featuring metals present first lady Cristina Scabbia, is an improvement on it's original outing.
At first listen you may not quite appreciate the album as a whole, but this is one of those albums that slowly burrows it's way into you mind, hooks itself on and doesn't let go, and it doesn't deserve to be pushed aside either, as this is simply the best Megadeth album for bloody years!