A Review of Megadeth’s Endgame: Their Best Album Since Countdown to Extinction?
Album by: Megadeth
Released: September 15, 2009
Recorded: January 7, 2009–May 19, 2009
Genre: Heavy metal, thrash metal
Length: 44:47 (50:17 with bonus track)
Producer: Dave Mustaine, Andy Sneap
A lot of people are claiming this. They say it’s the best album since the incredible Countdown to Extinction of 1992 or dare I say it, the legendary Rust in Peace of 1990, which is not only considered one of Megadeth’s best, but one of the best thrash metal albums of all time.
Now I’ve been listening to Megadeth for a few years now since I first heard “Trust” off of Cryptic Writings. Since then I’ve gone to collect all of their albums, and the only things I’m really lacking now is the specials like Set the World Afire. I’m not really into the live performances - or at least watching it. If you want live, then go and see it live. I’m more into the crispness of the studio recordings, demos, and even the acoustic and instrumental renditions.
Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction are two of my favourite albums, and Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? is another, except there are only bits and pieces of every song that I like, especially the intros, just like Killing is my Business...And Business is Good!.
Megadeth hit a stumbling block in 1999 with Risk, which had a more mainstream sound to it, and Mustaine has tried to forget about that (there were a few good songs, come on!) as he recruited more and more members to try to go back to their roots. And it wasn't only this, but the fact that Marty Friedman left the band after this album was released, has left many people thinking that nobody could replace him. The System has Failed was hailed as the real return to form for the group, and United Abominations carried on with these generally good reactions, despite some nay-saying from "fans". There were a few good ones on there, though.
It’s so hard for bands to ever deliver anything new these days that lives up to earlier material. That’s how it seems to go: your early years are the best. I take a look at Motorhead. I respect Lemmy and his “this isn’t metal, it’s rock and roll” attitude and their distinct flavour when it comes to music, but most of their memorable tracks are from their golden years - the late seventies and early eighties. And this might be a common trend with many bands.
I find that with Megadeth in comparison, their best stuff was from the mid eighties to the early or mid nineties. The first five albums are usually credited with being the best, but Youthanasia wasn’t that terrible, and has been considered an underrated album of theirs.
Anyway, their latest album, Endgame, which was released last month, is no doubt good; perhaps very good. There are a number of good songs on here, and certainly more polished than some of their other albums, but this comes with more advanced equipment and techniques, and not to mention experience. Endgame may be a strange name to some, but it was inspired by a documentary of the same name by Alex Jones, and due to the fact that there is a song on the album of that name too.
If I had to throw some tracks out there for you to know which ones are the best, I would say that without a doubt, “How the Story Ends” is a great one. In addition to this, “This Day we Fight”, “The Right to go Insane”, “The Hardest Part of Letting Go”, “Bodies”, “Endgame”, and their single, “Headcrusher”, are good ones too.
Most of the good tracks seem to be nearer the end of the album. It gets better as you go along, as we go into more familiar territory. Some of the early tracks fall flat, and I don’t particularly like them that much, maybe only bits and pieces.
This Day We Fight
Bite the Hand
The Hardest Part of Letting Go...Sealed With a Kiss
How the Story Ends
The Right to Go Insane (Japanese bonus track)
Washington Is Next!
Okay, now I’ll do my best for a track by track look. The rating for each track is below it.
“Dialectic Chaos” is the first track, an instrumental song that is supposed to be like “Into the Lungs of Hell” from So Far, So Good…So What, but I don’t think it really compares. It’s okay.
“This Day We Fight!” is a pretty good song. It’s fast-paced, with some good solos, and some typical, smile-inducing, angry lyrics from Dave.
“44 Minutes” features some of that radio chatter from other songs which seemed to start with Countdown to Extinction, and reminds me of a typical United Abominations song, particularly Gears of War. The song is based on the 1997 North Hollywood Shooting. The writing and lyrics for this track is questionable. Not one of their best. The opening for the song is quite good though, but after this I was expecting more.
“1,320” is a track about drag racing, or "funny cars" as Dave puts it. It has a good opening, with some fast paced guitar and drums. It’s not too unusual for Dave to explore these topics, like he did with High Speed Dirt, which was about skydiving. It’s a weird choice, but not too bad.
“Bite The Hand” (previously known as Bite The Hand That Feeds) is song about the downward spiraling economy we’re in, and I like the relevance. It has some good riffs and I think it’s not bad.
“Bodies” (previously known as Bodies Left Behind) is an enjoyable song with a catchy chorus and some more Mustaine venom (just not good friends of mine!).
“Endgame” is a song about the government and Guantanamo Bay, and reminds me of Countdown’s Captive Honor. It has good choruses and the solos are all right.
“The Hardest Part Of Letting Go” is like a revisit to albums like Cryptic Writings, Risk, and The System has Failed. Mustaine shows his inability to hit some high notes in this track, right at the beginning. The acoustic opening is good though, and sets up for quite a decent song with good lyrics.
“Headcrusher” is the first single off of the album, and was released back in July. It’s about a medieval torture device, and many people claimed upon hearing this that it reminded them off the Megadeth of old. It’s certainly different from many of their songs in theme though.
“How The Story Ends” is, in my opinion, the best song on the album. This one and "This Day We Fight" are similar in theme. The opening makes my head tingle. It’s got some great lyrics, and the chorus is the bit you most look forward. I keep listening to this one over and over. (Destroying every town, light it up and burn it down. You may not like it now, but this is how the story ends. Poison the wells and scorch the earth, everything slashed and burnt. You may not like it now, but this is how the story ends)
“The Right To Go Insane” (previously known as Nothing Left to Lose), is one of the better songs on Endgame. It's similar in theme to "Bite the Hand". It has a good chorus.
On the Japanese album there is a bonus live track, "Washington Is Next!", off of United Abominations, their previous album, and okay, so I don't have the Japanese one, but I have listened to this song over and over, and I can say that it is very good.
Endgame Overall Rating: $$$$ - 8/10
Overall, I would give Endgame a good four stars. And to answer the question posed in the title, it comes close, but it doesn't topple the mighty Countdown to Extinction or Rust in Peace. But it is good, and will leave you happy enough with a few good tracks.
What did you think of Endgame?
© 2009 ANDR01D