July , 2013
Review by Mike DiQuinzio
Since their hiatus, Megadeth version 2.0 has enjoyed a steady upward trajectory that reached its peak with 2009's Endgame, an album so full of their signature fury and disapproval of the state of the world that it could easily have been released between Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. It is that good. Megadeth's recorded output prior to their hiatus had always been inconsistent to say the least, with albums ranging from brilliant (Rust in Peace) to mediocre (Youthanasia) to what-the-hell-were-they-thinking (Risk) and everything in between. Because of this, the announcement of each new recording is always met with equal amounts of anticipation and skepticism.
This was definitely the case when it was announced that their fourteenth studio release, Super Collider, would be released this summer. This was in no way helped by the fact that the album's first single, the title track, is quite possibly the worst song the band has released in nearly fifteen years. Fortunately, despite the ups and downs of the Megadeth discography and the misstep of the lead-off single, this one is a keeper.
The album's opener, "Kingmaker", is a strong track that kicks everything off in much the same way that "Sleepwalker" did on United Abominations. With its heavy riff and dueling guitar solos, it is the first of many tracks that remind us why we love Megadeth in the first place. Songs like "Burn", "Built for War", and "Don't Turn Your Back" all rock with the intensity that we have come to expect from one of the greatest metal bands to ever grace the genre.
Megadeth also takes some chances on Super Collider that pay off better than the album that made "risk" a four-letter word. Most notably, the banjo intro to "The Blackest Crow" does not sound nearly as awkward in the context of the album as it does when mentioned in the same breath as Megadeth. They also cover new ground by tackling the topic of Alzheimer's disease in "Forget to Remember", which is not quite as touching as one would hope due to the upbeat nature of the music, but it isn't a failure by any means. Finally, their version of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat" works extremely well when given the Megadeth treatment and is tons more fun to drive to than their other well-known cover, "Anarchy in the UK".
The real gem here is "Dance in the Rain", a collaboration with Disturbed's David Draiman that sent Megadeth fans into a tailspin of negativity and pessimism when word of its existence leaked prior to the album's release. The song is a slow-burner that builds up to one of the best climaxes in the band's catalog thanks to a riff that sounds like it came straight out of 1988 and the best demon-from-Hell vocals that David Draiman has ever recorded. As the longest track on Super Collider, "Dance in the Rain" is the perfect centerpiece and the track most deserving of repeated listening.
While Super Collider may not be the return to form that fans of Peace Sells...-era fans yearn for, there is plenty to like on Megadeth's latest offering. Just be sure to skip the mid-tempo bore of the title track.