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Album Review: "Risk" One of the Most Controversial Releases in the History of Megadeth

Updated on August 7, 2022
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.


The Album Risk is an Album You Will Like or Not Like

Is Riskthe 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. I can think of no other Megadeth album that has come under as much scrutiny as Risk has but I’m here to say that if you give this album a chance you just might appreciate something totally different from 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 re-mastered version of the album has a few bonus tracks in it. The cover also symbolizes the risk that the band took by making this album.
The re-mastered version of the album has a few bonus tracks in it. The cover also symbolizes the risk that the band took by making this album.

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.

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?

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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. 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 and After

Risk is a totally different type of album that was really hard for me to get into for years. But in 2020 and beyond, Riskfeels 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.

If you just give this album a chance, you just might really enjoy it. Even songs such as the atmospheric sounding “The Doctor is Calling” is a good setup for what comes later. Lyrically, the song is about a patient that is confused and in a dark room and he has no idea what is going on. Meanwhile, the prescription he has been given has the potential to affect him adversely.

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


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