Let’s be up front about it: Dystopia is a record that has a lot to achieve. After Super Collider’s failure to launch and half the band exiting – it seemed like Megadeth was having yet another close call with disbanding. Between that, and Mustaine repeatedly making headlines for some comment or another- some could argue the odds are against the record. And then, in walks Angra’s Kiko Loureiro and Chris Adler of Lamb of God- who both stepped up to record Dystopia. And let’s not forget how Adler did double duty when Megadeth toured with Lamb of God last year. And while Adler’s influence is apparent throughout- some things never change. It sounds like Megadeth. Even further, it sounds like Megadeth should in 2016.
Dystopia is angry. It’s aggressive, and fueled by Mustaine’s many political rants. And while that could seriously detract from it, it doesn’t (for the most part). Dystopia is a record that is not only about a future world, it takes serious observations from society today. The title track talks of war both abroad and at home while “Bullet to the Brain” takes on prison reform. It’s a political record. And that could go either way with fans. Putting politics aside, it has some solid tracks. Look out for “The Emperor”, “Post American World” and “Look Who’s Talking.”
While it’s got some potential hits on it; there are some major flaws. “Conquer or Die” is an odd, stormy (mostly instrumental) track with some lyrics thrown in the last 30 seconds. In addition, the end of “Poisonous Shadows” incites a reaction something along the lines of: “Is… is he reciting poetry?” Yikes. Also worth noting: Mustaine’s voice is a bit off. He’s made a career on his voice, and while it’s his trademark to sound like he’s forcing himself to sing- it’s more evident on some tracks.
Dystopia is a powerfully entertaining example of how a cornerstone thrash band evolves over 30 years. Some tracks are flops, but it brings a forceful sound that only Megadeth could bring to the table. While it’s true to them, it doesn’t sound exactly the same as everything else they’ve ever released.
Dystopia is available now via Universal Music Enterprises.