Company: Roadrunner Records
Reviewer: Maya Ahuja
Truly stellar line up
It had been a long time coming; the release of possibly the 'final' Megadeth album, and of course Chris Broderick's first album with the band. Monday the 14th of September was to be christened 'Endgame Day'; St. Megadeth Day was here, well in the UK anyway!
Roaring off with the first track 'Dialectic Chaos' this is the album's suitably more complex and rhythmical descendant to 'So Far's...'Into the Lungs of Hell', which stampedes straight into the rest of this wonderfully pure thrash album. Segueing into the first vocal track of the set 'This Day We Fight' this is one hell of an aggressive mother that certainly takes no prisoners (true droogs will excuse my very un-intended pun) as it canters unstoppably away, faster and more furiously than perhaps any Megadeth track written in recent history. If this is how the tour will be opening each night then I'm first in line for some very potent anxiety drugs to keep me sane until the Megs hit our shores.
Moving to the melodically fluid '44 Minutes' but nonetheless snarl-infused in all the right places, this track promises to be suitably popular in years to come. The fretwork is stunning (with the outro foremost in my mind) and the solos are perfectly balanced against the stable undertones of LoMenzo and Drover's brutal bulleted bass line and drums. '1,320' is about Mustaine's love of drag racing and this beast screams in homage to 'Killings is My Business...' 'Last Rites/Loved to Death' which is certainly no bad thing in my book and it's an honour for the listener to hear that this is real raw Megadeth at their best. Rhythmically complex it may be harder to headbang to consistently but after hearing the solos you'll still be stunned and in awe!
With no let up at the veritable metal feast set before us we move straight into the classic thrasher and rocky 'Bite the Hand'. This is all Broderick soloing that oozes down the sides of a well oiled machine and sits comfortably within the clean contours that form the Megadeth Mercedes. 'Bodies' is an epitaph to Mustaine's troubled past and the listener is drawn to the lyrics amongst the sparse gravelled chug beneath. The solo section is beautiful with its staggered descending chromaticism moving you closer to his reminiscence before plummeting below to the proverbial abyss where we find the loitering militant title track 'Endgame'. A sure fire soap box you cannot help but sit up and listen to Mustaine's bellowing the sublime discontent beneath.
In a moment of deceptive quiet calm, we enter all that is dark, cruel and twisted, 'The Hardest Part of Letting Go' weaves the story of a murderer incarcerating his 'love' in a wall. It creeps with acoustic guitar over beautifully engineered synthesized strings (that would have sounded even more breathtaking if they had been authentic, and yes I would have paid Megadeth to let me play!) it's not long before the stillness is disturbed by the classic triplets that gallop over the grave of the chosen one themselves. Mustaine's overly gravely and vulnerable hollering stretch into the darkness and loneliness of the killer himself and warp this tale of love. This is Mary Jane grown up, jaded and altogether more maniacal.
Saddled next to the crazed single release of the album 'Headcrusher' decides that any overindulgent epic romanticising is over and that indeed the 'torture should begin'. If this was in any way a taster to what we were to expect of 'Endgame' it was certainly the right track to pick, with its' dark undeniably 'angry' vocals, to the brutal unrelenting guitars; and if this is what torture a la Megadeth feels like it certainly brought me back for more.
'How The Story Ends' brings us back to the battlefield with its deceptively complex rhythms and intense politicizing by no means filler this track makes its mark ever bit on the memory. Leading effortlessly to the final lusciously bass-lead 'The Right to Go Insane' this is an ernst track echoing the World's voice of economic unrest and is certainly a topic only Mustaine could pull off with as much eloquence. Broderick's soloing screams from the dark like the ghostly insanity that plagues the songs victim leading straight into Mustaine's trademark blues fuelled chromatic craziness, naturally and properly being the last word on the subject and album.
It's screamingly apparent from the lyrics that Broderick has the lion's share of solos on the album and as a Megadeth fan for many years this is something I initially might have taken issue with but after a listen (first from the Bands Myspace) the album is still undeniably 'Dave M'. Broderick's playing sits effortlessly within the content adding another shade of colour to the lugubriously dark metal pallet that has existed and grown since 1983, it is easy to see why he is fast becoming the favourite guitarist of Mega fans everywhere, myself included. For those that know Producer Andy Sneap's impressive catalogue of work (Nevermore, Exodus, Arch Enemy to name a few) it is unequivocal that his mark is all over this record from it's heavier, grittier tones in the bass through to guitars to the clarity of placement of the vocals, the man just knows how a thrash record should sound. I am sure that I am not alone in praying that it is not the last we hear from our favourite snarling red-head as I am as there is so much more Megadeth, with this truly stellar line up has to give.