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Album Review: MEGADETH “Super Collider” Deluxe Edition (2013)

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Before I begin this review, let me make my biases known.

I am a major-league Megadeth fan. I am a card-carrying member of the Megadeth Cyber Army. If you look at the “about” page of this blog, you will see me happily nestled between the two MegaDaves, singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson.

Naturally, I was very excited about the release of the band’s latest effort, Super Collider.

With Super Collider, you can’t just say something like, “It’s Cryptic Writings-meets-Th1rt3en” and be accurate. SC is truly a culmination of all things ‘Deth, with some flashbacks to their thrashier days, elements of their more melodic and experimental albums like Risk, and the newer 2000s material. If you were expecting Rust in Peace II, you will be disappointed. But if you approach it with an open mind, you might be pleased.

SC kicks off with “Kingmaker”, which was released as a single approximately two weeks ago. It renewed people’s faith in Super Collider after so many had been disillusioned by the previous single, the 70s-road-trip-rock title track. “Kingmaker” is like a cross between Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” and ‘Deth’s own “Sweating Bullets,” a tribute to the band’s own musical heritage while adding the thrash elements Megadeth have become known for.

Then comes the infamous “Super Collider,” in a very stark contrast to the opening song. For those who haven’t heard it, it sounds more like Foghat than Megadeth. It’s a middle-of-the-road hard rock song that doesn’t really go anywhere. Mustaine revealed that the band filmed a humorous music video to promote the lead single, and perhaps his intention behind the song will be known once the video is released.

The title “Burn!” sounds like Mustaine’s yell in “Take No Prisoners,” but the song itself is an average rocker, with a chorus that feels more at home in a KISS, Motley Crüe, or even a disco song (“Burn, baby burn… ’cause it feels so good”).

“Built For War” is definitely the worst song on the album, maybe even Megadeth’s worst song, period. Meme Theater posted a review of the album right after it leaked, and their critique of this track says it all:

“…it feels like there was Megadeth playing a toned down Megadeth song in one room while Dave Mustaine sings an unrelated melody and lyrical arrangement in another room, while a 2ND DAVE MUSTAINE stood in yet another separate room in said ‘Built for War!’ at random times, as bored as possible…”

“Off the Edge” has a very nice, dark intro and segues into an average metal song but with sub-par lyrics, at least for Megadeth (“Lately, it seems the world is going crazy / It won’t be long till they replace me / And nothing seems to faze me, anymore”). Think of “Fast Lane” from Th1rt3en, but with worse lyrics.

“Dance in the Rain” is the turning point of this album. David Draiman (Disturbed, Device) lends songwriting and guest vocals to this amazing song, which is one of Megadeth’s best since Youthanasia. The song is about American politicians/government taking advantage of We The People as we struggle to make ends meet. It reminds me why I love Megadeth in the first place: chugging guitar rhythms, Shawn Drover’s fast feet at the double bass drums, Chris Broderick’s wailing leads perfectly complementing Dave Mustaine’s eternally stark lyrics. The song starts off slow and progressively speeds up, eventually ripping into a blazing riff and brutal drums backing Draiman’s powerhouse vocals. It would be right at home on United Abominations or Endgame.

“Beginning of Sorrow” is another good , somewhat slow song with heavy lyrical content, about a neglected child. Mustaine’s daughter Electra contributes some backing vocals.

“The Blackest Crow” is one of the most anticipated songs on this album, since video previews on the band’s website showed instruments like a banjo, fiddle, and slide guitar being used. There were also talks of country legend Willie Nelson guesting on this track. Though Nelson did not appear, the song does its hype justice, serving as a strange but pleasant bridge between bluegrass and heavy metal.

Mustaine wrote “Forget To Remember” about his mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Though it is an upbeat song for Megadeth, the lyrics are some of their most poignant: “If this is living, what the hell is living for? / You’ve boarded up your eyes, your mind has locked the door”. Broderick’s fills and Mustaine’s voice are beautifully in sync, with the fogginess of some of Mustaine’s vocal lines possibly representing the fogginess of the woman’s memory. This is definitely a highlight of the album, though it is more radio-friendly than most Deth fans are used to.

“Don’t Turn Your Back…” starts off with an impressive bluesy guitar solo and progresses into a badass riff, then into a poppy chorus with more cheesy lyrics (“The best advice I can lend is / Don’t ever turn your back on a friend”). Kinda My Little Pony for Megadeth, even though the musical elements are fantastic.

Though “Cold Sweat” is a Thin Lizzy cover, ironically, it is one of the most Megadeth-sounding songs on the album. Great cover that sounds at home on Endgame.

“All I Want”, the first bonus track, has a vibe similar to Th1rt3en’s “Wrecker” and has obvious KISS influences in the lyrics (“We took off on a rocket ride”). Decent medium-tempo metal song.

“A House Divided” should have been released on all versions of the album. It is truly a shame that it is only available on the deluxe edition. It has an interesting trumpet intro by Bob Findley (who played on Megadeth’s “Silent Scorn”), and like “Dance in the Rain,” reminds me why I’m a fan of this band. Once again, Mustaine sings about injustice (“This is a sad day for violence / When speech results in silence”) as gang vocals creepily chant “We all know something’s wrong” in the background. It gave me goosebumps. It is a suiting finale to the new material.

The final track is a live version of “Countdown to Extinction,” recorded in Pomona, Calif. in December of last year. It is a preview of Megadeth’s next CD/DVD release, Countdown to Extinction Live, which should come out this fall.

Super Collider is just one of those albums that is so different, it has to grow on you. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it called “Risk II”. But the truth is, there are so many different elements on SC, you can’t compare it to one single item in the Megadeth catalogue. It stands alone.

Final verdict: 7/10

Track Listing:
1. Kingmaker
2 .Super Collider
3. Burn!
4. Built For War
5. Off The Edge
6. Dance In The Rain
7. Beginning Of Sorrow
8. The Blackest Crow
9. Forget To Remember
10. Don’t Turn Your Back…
11. Cold Sweat (Thin Lizzy cover)
12. All I Want (Bonus Track)
13. A House Divided (Bonus Track)
14. Countdown To Extinction (Live In Pomona, CA) (Bonus Track)

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19 responses

  1. I was really excited about this album but I’m reading so many mixed reviews. Classic Rock mag raved about it, other reviewers have really slated it. You seem to be quite fair and open-minded about it, so this made for really informative reading. Many thanks!

    I’m definitely less excited about this now but, on the other hand, I quite liked Risk! So if if this is Risk II maybe that’s ok by me!

    June 5, 2013 at 4:16 am

    • No problem!

      Yeah, I was slightly disappointed by it but it’s not a *bad* album in my opinion. I like it more than Risk, and I do like Risk.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

      • Interesting food for thought Alec! I think I’ll be buying it for sure.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      • Yeah, it’s not a bad album! Just that tracks 2-5 are very weak. The rest is decent to excellent though.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

  2. 7/10 — that seems to be a theme with this album. I see a lot of 7/10 reviews! Can’t wait to hear Cold Sweat myself, one of the best Lizzy tunes of all time.

    June 5, 2013 at 4:16 am

    • Many reviews I’ve read also rate it at about a 7.0 (6.5-8.0). “Cold Sweat” is awesome.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

      • Awesome. This is on my “to get eventually” list!

        June 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm

  3. Hi you have a good site over here! Thanks for posting this interesting stuff for us! If you keep up this good work I’ll visit your blog again. Thanks!

    June 7, 2013 at 4:57 am

  4. Stone

    “A House Divided” should have been released on all versions of the album. It is truly a shame that it is only available on the deluxe edition.
    I let my 10 dollar un-deluxe Target version keep playing & those songs are on there!? Weird!?

    June 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    • I agree… That’s odd hahaha. At least you got to hear the bonus tracks though!

      June 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      • That’s a pet peave of mine, when a truly great song is only on a limited or deluxe edition. Covers, sure, I can understand why covers make good bonus tracks. But I think there’s a handful truly amazing songs out there that are rarely heard. An example would be Crossing Over by Van Halen, which was on a Japanese CD and a rare single. I reviewed it here for example. http://mikeladano.com/2012/03/30/review-double-feature-van-halen-collector-tins/ It’s an amazing tune and very few people hear it.

        Cool that apparently the Target version has the bonus tracks though. Target often get deluxes but usually they advertize the tracks!

        June 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      • Yeah, I agree. There’s that box set of rare KISS demos & it’s a shame that songs like “It’s My Life” never saw the light of day (at least, not KISS’s version). I’ll take a look at your Van Halen review.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      • Yes!!! Agreed, I have that boxed set (reviewed that one too) and there are several good unreleased songs on there. I thought “Doncha Hesitate” was also great.

        June 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

  5. This is a really fair, well-written review. Kudos! I’m enjoying the album.

    June 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

  6. Pingback: Funny Metal Videos: MEGADETH Warehouse and Cooking With PHIL ANSELMO | The Blog of Shredding

  7. MBV

    Definately the best review ive seen so far. Ive listened to SC over a dozen times now and unlike Thirteen it just keeps getting better. I seriously cant see how anyone can realistically compare this to Risk I think it is far heavier and darker. A house Divided ive only just heard via youtube and I think its fantastic and I cannot believe it was not included on the original release. I would definately be releasing it as the next single!

    June 30, 2013 at 2:44 am

    • Thank you! Yes, I agree. The album has definitely grown on me these past several listens, and I can’t really compare it to Risk either, other than the fact that it’s a diverse album.

      June 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

  8. Pingback: New Music Videos from MEGADETH and GHOST B.C. | The Blog of Shredding

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