Review: Megadeth "Risk" One of the Most Controversial Releases in the Band's History
The Album Risk is an Album You Will Like or Not Like
The band Megadeth was already on a downward spiral as a band with the album Cryptic Writings in 1997, easily one of the poorest efforts of this band. In 1999, the band released the album Risk which is a total kind of experimental album and different from even Countdown to Extinction. Risk represents one of the worst albums in heavy metal (at least it has been that way for me for a long time). There are two songs that we could classify as “good” in the musical sense. They are the very heavy "Prince of Darkness" and the song Ecstasy. Is Risk the worst album in the history of Megadeth? As of September 2018, I am giving it another listen and readers shall see if the feelings about Risk have changed. Risk is a sort of mixed bag when it comes to analyzing and trying to appreciate something so different for the band Megadeth.
Risk is an experimental kind of heavy metal album that is just flawed from the beginning Or is it?
By 1999, the band was a shadow of its former self. Nick Menza was no longer a part of the band being replaced by Jimmy Degrasso on drums. As a music fan, I wonder how it is possible that one of the most famous American bands does so well to start its career only to have such a steep drop in songwriting quality. It is one thing to release an experimental album but it is one thing to take a risk like that and have it not work out. It was a risk to release this album and sadly, it is another one of Megadeth’s weaker albums. From the first song in the album, I got the sense that something was really going to be wrong about this album. And I was proven correct at least for most of the 2000’s and 2010’s.
At least at the time that this review was composed I felt as if there was something horribly wrong with this effort. For updates on the album Risk, you will see them at the very end.
Risk is a sort of experimental album that was hard for me to really get into for the longest time, but countless listens and perseverance enabled me to get a deeper understanding about the album.
Risk has its heavy moments but the riffing is still more mainstream and tuned down a little bit if that makes any sense.
A photo of the back of the album cover for Risk
The song Insomnia is a Poor Start to the Album Risk
The first song Insomnia is a very cheesy attempt to describe someone that cannot get himself to go back to sleep because he is trying to bury his past. He is feeling guilty because of the bad judgement he used and the mistakes that he made. The song can also be an indication of Mustaine’s own troubled past. The song is a total flop! The non-re-mastered version of the song starts with some weird sounds followed by a violin before getting into a song that tries to be heavy. Meanwhile, Dave Mustaine keeps on singing that he can’t sleep. I don’t think that this is the way that Marty Friedman wanted to leave the band. Maybe that was a good thing that Friedman left because he might have known that Megadeth was declining as a band.
After the Song Prince of Darkness the Album Shifts From Bad to Average
The next song Prince of Darkness is one of the better songs in this album and it is about what Satan has tried to do to mankind. The short introduction called Arena leads into the song called "Crush Em." The song describes the kind of environment that is possible when there is a sort of wrestling match in an arena. This is one of the worst songs in the band’s career. The song "Breadline" is about someone that has no car, no job, and he is now homeless even though he thinks that his life is just fine even though it is not. The song is average at best. So the album Risk by this point is in a state of fluctuation.
"The Doctor is Calling"
Weakest album in the career of Megadeth
Which one of these albums is the worst in the career of Megadeth?
Risk the Rest of the Album As of 2017 the First Review and Analysis
The song called I’ll Be There has a guitar tone similar to what the band used back in 1986. However, this does not really make the song good. The song describes lovers that have always been there for each other even when the skies have been dark and there has not been any sunshine (hope). When there is true love, this true love is what can get a couple through both good times and bad. The song Seven is another bad attempt by Megadeth to sound heavy but they fail miserably. The song is about someone that has succumbed to greed, gluttony, and selfishness. Time: the Beginning and Time: the End are two songs after what had been a really disappointing listening experience for a long time and they are songs about the fact that time is our most precious resource and we cannot afford to waste it. The song called Ecstasy makes reference to the same drug that can have detrimental effects on the body.
Strong and Average Songs on the Album Risk
What are the bright spots about such an experimental album like Risk?
- Strong songs include Prince of Darkness
- Average songs are Breadline, The Doctor is Calling, and Ecstasy
Updated Thoughts About the Album Risk
Well it turns out that Risk is now no longer the worst album by Megadeth and the album with that distinction in this writer’s opinion is Cryptic Writings. Megadeth has survived ups and downs while Pantera is no longer a band, unable to solve their conflicts. Megadeth can still be ranked on a Top 20 list of the best heavy metal bands of all time.
Opinions about albums can change and Risk is no different. Reading over some of the comments about this album, there is one that caught my attention on YouTube. The person said that everything else that Megadeth has done since is like gold. That’s a debatable statement but if we take a look at Megadeth’s career as a whole, there is no doubt that they are still one of the best heavy metal bands overall. It is just that Risk was an album that came under a lot of criticism.
"Prince of Darkness"
Dave Mustaine Makes a Surprise Admission About Risk
Dave Mustaine himself revealed in an interview written for the online magazine Blabbermouth,net that Risk should have been released as a solo album instead. Risk actually did quite well on the charts, reaching as high as #16 on the Billboard music charts. I still say that Cryptic Writings is the weakest Megadeth album of all the ones that I have heard, Risk is a totally different Megadeth album, not having the thrash metal sound that we heard on the band’s first four releases.
"Seven" Re-mastered Version
How It Feels Like to Listen to Risk In 2020
1999 was one of my favorite years in terms of heavy metal releases because there were quite a few from Lacuna Coil's In a Reverie, Burning Bridges by Arch Enemy, and Hatebreeder by Children of Bodom, but Risk is a totally different type of album that was really hard for me to get into for years. But in 2020, Risk feels like that album that at first was a family member you could not get along with at all but now feels like you can coexist with. Even if Dave Mustaine did not particularly like this album, I did and I'm glad for the change of perspective.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Ara Vahanian