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Review of the Album Cryptic Writings by American Heavy Metal Band Megadeth

Updated on January 12, 2018

Cryptic Writings: Front Album Cover

Why Did Megadeth Go So Far Down Musically?

I wrote earlier how with the release of 1994’s Youthanasia, American heavy metal band Megadeth was becoming mediocre and a shadow of their former selves. Well with 1997’s "Cryptic Writings", the band gets even worse musically. There are only about three very good songs to listen to on this album. And they are Trust, She-Wolf, and FFF (Fight for Freedom). The same band that brought is songs such as Mary Jane, Tornado of Souls, This was My Life, and Countdown to Extinction, has really lost their creativity and excellence that made them as great as a band. Well you might be asking what happened to the greatness of Dave Mustaine? That’s a fair question and I can only say that he must have forgotten how to stick to writing songs that have actual hooks and melody.

Trust is a very good song but after that it is just downhill for this album

The opening song Trust is a very good song about a relationship that really fell apart because they both lied and deceived each other. Deception is not a healthy quality to help a relationship last that’s for sure. If Youthanasia was the start of this band’s downward slide, Cryptic Writings made this decline even worse heading into 1999 where they may have dropped to their lowest point. Megadeth would redeem themselves with the song 1,000 Times Goodbye in 2001. Use the Man has some cheesy oldies-style singing before Dave’s voice kicks in. It is one thing to experiment with different styles if this experimentation works but in this case, it just does not fit. Within a span of seven years (1990-1997) Megadeth went from one of the elite thrash metal bands to a band that failed and disappointed the majority of their audience. By this point in their career, Megadeth had released what I would say three very good albums, gotten lots of coverage on MTV and Headbanger’s Boll and established themselves as one of the top American heavy metal bands along with Slayer, Testament, and Metallica. But this greatness really dropped.

Cryptic Writings Review Part 3

Mastermind is another cheesy song as Mustaine tries some lower voiced vocals which don’t really work. The Disintegrators is a very fast song but it does not reach the greatness of Poison was the Cure, or elite songs like Reaction on the Remains album. There are few guitarists that can match the greatness of Jeff Waters especially when it comes to rhythm guitars. The slower song I’ll Get Even is about someone that feels that he has been abandoned and thrown to the side of the road. He feels lonely and angry and it is only a matter of time before he gets even with the person that has basically treated him terribly. Some people just cannot even be trusted. The song is just okay. Vortex has some atmospheric sound in the beginning before turning into an average metal tune at best.

The Song Called Trust

The Song Called She-Wolf

Final Thoughts About Cryptic Writings

I know that I will most likely hear from some people that Metallica was worse as a band at this time. No, they were not because Metallica still was able to write quality songs such as Slither, Carpe Diem Baby, and Bad Seed. A Secret Place is about getting into some secret place or location then being unable to get out of it. The politically based song FFF is one of the best songs in Megadeth’s career! This one is pretty obvious what the theme is about. Sometimes we are convinced that we have to fight for what is right and address the injustices that exist in our society. The US gives us the freedom to fight for our country and do what is right to get us back on the right track. Even with the solid last song FFF, this does not save Cryptic Writings from getting a low score. Final score: 60 points out of 100. Note: as of 2018, Cryptic Writings has the same overall score as the album Risk but Risk may be a worse album musically than this one is but that is a tough call.

The song called FFF (Fight for Freedom)

© 2016 Ara Vahanian

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