Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This Review Needs a Title


Megadeth return, fairly quickly, with scouring brushes and barrels of bleach.  Bud Prager was given the Poochie treatment, leaving behind a trail of diluted pop-metal droppings and broken promises re: the fireworks factory.  From the press release promising an "antidote," to the return of Vic Rattlehead on the album cover, The World Needs a Hero was set up as the faith-restoring follow-up to Risk.

Roll call!

Dave Mustaine--vocals, guitar
Al Pitrelli--guitar
Dave Ellefson--bass
Jimmy DeGrasso--drums

Wait…what.  WAT.  Where is Marty Friedman, and why did you replace him with one of the original members of Trans Siberian Orchestra?  Mustaine blames Marty's increasing pressure to continue the weaselly pop that blighted Risk; Friedman maintains that the band were straddling the fence musically (either tepid mid-tempo metal or tepid mid-tempo pop) and he kept pushing for increased aggression and adventurousness.  Either way, Maryland Marty is gone.  In his honor, please reflect on how lame your state flag is compared to the mighty heraldic emblem clusterfuck of the Free State!

"Disconnect"--A tentative step back, to the beginning of the previous decade if you really must know.  The guitars are so rusted, I can almost believe Megadeth have another good album in them and this might be that album.  Their first memorable solo in ages has to count for something!

"The World Needs A Hero"--Let me upset the Spoken Word Contrarian for a sec to remind everyone:  the White House is not calling Dave Mustaine.  Or any character Dave Mustaine impersonates on a record.  The FBI might have a file on him by now, but that's a given once you reach your 21st birthday, anyway.

Far as I'm concerned, this song is one minute long, starting at 2:05, when the political wish fulfillment is dispensed and Megadeth decide to mate a dragon with a pigeon.

"Moto Psycho"--"Move it or lose it?"  Eh, you lost me already.

If Dave Lombardo is the Daddy of the Double Bass Drum, then Jimmy DeGrasso is the Son He Disowned.  But he is hardly the only offender; peanut butter fudge soaked in toilet water overnight has better texture than these guitars.  What could've perhaps been a worthy "502" successor is instead a spin under the influence of cocktails of Sprite and Ny-Quil.  (Call it a "Spry-Quil.")

"1000 Times Goodbye"--Bitch, kick rocks.  I'll brain you with my skateboard and splatter blood all over the stickers.  No second chances, no second thoughts.  Ah, eternal struggle between monogamy and opportunity!

"Burning Bridges"--Sometimes it takes two to burn a bridge:  one to ignite the flame, one to let it rage.

"Promises"--If Megadeth really intended for us to forget Risk, they wouldn't have re-done it's worst song.

I can tell "Promises" is about the magic of soul mates, because of the presence of sophisticated string arrangements.  I can tell the string arrangements are sophisticated because Dave is taking pains to actually sing.

Megadeth--promise me no further power balladry.  It gives me glottal convulsions.  They are unpleasant. 

"Recipe For Hate…Warhorse"--"Five Magics" performed by muggles.  The lyrics are so grounded in reality that Mustaine feels the compulsion to speak them.  This technique never comes off as forced and corny.  He does manage a few decent turns of paraphrase, but nothing saves this from being a grit-free "Holy Wars."

"Losing My Senses"--Speaking of this song, I don't care about this song.  Let's talk about the title.

It's long been one of my favorite hypotheticals to toss at friends:  If you had no choice but to lose one of your senses, but you had the choice of which one you'd lose…which one would it be?  For quite some time, I thought I had this fantastical query all figured.  Most people I spoke with picked smell as the sense to go bye-bye, either not realizing or just momentarily forgetting that smell and taste are inextricably linked.  Besides, smelling ain't such a bad thing--it can even save lives.   No way are sight and sound going anywhere, so that leaves touch.  Is there considerable diminution in quality of life when one loses tactility?  At least I can still write, read, blast tunes and eat pizza.  Right?

It took a very good friend to open my eyes.  He was unable to choose a sense after many minutes deliberation, and I rather stupidly said, "Well come on, it's kinda obvious touch is the one to lose, right?" 

"No.  No it's not.  Imagine not being able to feel your own feet as you walk.  It would throw off your whole equilibrium and put you in real danger."

"Ah, wow, you're right.  I guess I just kept thinking, well, I can still hold a pen no problem, right?"

"I guess so, sure.  Good luck with typing, though."

Jesus Jumpin' Beans!  How did I not think of any of that?  Not to mention that you'll never know the sublime comfort of physical contact with another being ever again! 

Moments like that I wonder if I have any business critiquing anything at all.

"Dread and the Fugitive Mind"
--More lemme tell you who I am 'cuz I'm a bad bad man you should avoid me, man gobbledygook in the style of "Sweating Bullets" over a yawning vanilla swirl.  Just fast-forward to the band's sudden collective remembrance of their thrash roots, and leave those rehashed browns and blues off your plate.

"Silent Scorn"
--A ninety-second instrumental.  Stop nudging me, sunrise drums and sunset trumpets!  All I seek is siesta.

"Return To Hangar"
--Wherein the reanimated aliens make their escape as deadly as possible. 

This blatant attempt at leeching off past glory is a smashing success.  The verse cadences are super-similar to the original "Hangar 18," and the chorus is worded the very same, although it flows with the verse this go 'round instead of demanding its own seat on the bus.  This is brave, well-executed, and hopefully resists the vile temptations of the three-breasted siren.

"When"--Sounds like "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head for a very good reason.  Everyone in the Big 4 loves the happy hell out of that band, and that song.  Metallica recorded it as the B-side for "Creeping Death," and then again for Garage Inc. a few years prior to Hero.  No doubt Mustaine wanted to do a cover without seeming in the shadow yet once more, and he found a tidy solution.

Certain imagery will always tickle me like a pickle to the privates, and someone being impaled on their own body part qualifies.  Well done, Dave.

The world really didn't need a new Megadeth album as much as Megadeth did.  In the sense that this was a cathartic, cleansing experience for the surviving members of Risk, The World Needs a Hero is a success.  In the context of their discography up to that point, it's simply another in a long line of anemic offerings post-Rust In Peace

The band needed a hiatus; deserved one, really.  The three-year gap between Hero and their next record was thus not very surprising.  That said break was involuntarily imposed, however, sent a jolt throughout the metal world.

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