Monday, October 17, 2011

Megadeth TH1RT3EN album preview

So, Megadeth released another track (Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)) off their forthcoming thirteenth album, TH1RT3EN, via their facebook page this morning, available for a limited time only.  Until the album comes out, of course.  And this track has just served to remind me how excited I was getting about this album until I got distracted by Mastodon and Soundwave festival announcements and other such meritorious things.

Anyway, Whose Life has a punkish opening riff that recalls really old-school late 80's 'Deth before locking into a groovy chorus riff, with Shawn Drover's drum work sounding very solid throughout.  Not totally sure I buy Dave doing teen-angst lyrics these days, admittedly, but the bridge section elevates a good song to 'very good' thanks to some nice solo duelling from messrs. Mustaine and Broderick.

Put this alongside the three other tracks that have been previewed so far - Sudden Death, Never Dead and Public Enemy No. 1 - and things are looking pretty damned promising.

Sudden Death was originally written for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock as the game's grand finale.  I think I previously described it as a facemelting shredfest of a track, and I stand by that.  It's completely insane. 

The one thing I've always found slightly amusing is how the use of the original chorus as an outro (at around 4:30), has this vibe of 'alright guys, we pretty much killed it on that, let's just cruise on out' given the escalating waves of sonic assault leading up to it.  Easily one of my top 5 Megadeth tracks of all time, and a menacing way to open an album.

Never Dead also popped up in a video game trailer (does anyone detect a theme here?) although the full track was subsequently also posted on youtube.

A sinister, eerie intro gives way to... BUZZSAW GUITARS!  And a generous helping of double-kick too.  A brutal, uncompromising track - and also a reminder that whilst Dave Mustaine might not be the most technically-gifted singer, it's impossible to imagine Megadeth with anyone else on vocals.

Whilst Sudden Death and Never Dead are definitely a combination of new-age Megadeth power with old-school Megadeth shredding, Public Enemy No. 1 has more of a Youthanasia-era vibe to it.  It's more accessible, and emphasises the vocals more - which is a nice balance to the crushing guitar heaviness of some of the other tracks.

Although bassist Dave Ellefson has been back with the band since early 2010, this will be his first studio album with 'Deth since 2001's The World Needs A Hero.  Personally I think this will add a lot - as good as recent albums United Abominations and Endgame were, Ellefson is one of metal's premier bassists and I think given his long history with the band he will bring a lot to the creative process as well.

The full tracklisting for the album - to be released 1/11/11 -  is:
1Sudden Death
2Public Enemy No. 1
3Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
4We the People
5Guns, Drugs & Money
6Never Dead
7New World Order
8Fast Lane
9Black Swan
11Millennium of the Blind
12Deadly Nightshade

Some of the more observant Megadeth fans have noticed that three of these titles (plus Sudden Death, of course) are oddly familiar - Black Swan was a bonus track on some version of United Abominations, whilst demo's of Millennium of the Blind and New World Order were included on the remaster of Youthanasia.

And some of said observant Megadeth fans are getting all uppity about the alleged re-use of old songs.  But perhaps said fans don't realise it's actually not uncommon for songs - or more correctly song ideas - to float around for years before the band actually turns them into a complete, finished product.  Both the Youthanasia-era tracks were never more than demos and it's entirely likely the finished versions will sound quite different.  I'm pretty interested to see how they do turn out.

Anyway, to sate your intrigue until November 1, there's a cool track by track preview with Dave 'Junior' Ellefson here.  And a chat with drummer Shawn Drover here.  And an interview with supremely talented guitarist Chris Broderick here.

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