Megadeth – United Abominations – A return to form

Megadeth - United Abominations

I’m always excited by the prospect of a new album by one of my fave bands, but with Megadeth this time round it was to prove a little more interesting. They had produced a stunning album with ‘The World Needs a Hero’, and then the ‘self destruct’ button was pressed! Dave Mustaine had sustained a freak injury to his left arm whilst asleep in a chair with his arm over the back of the chair, causing injury to the radial nerve. Unable to play, Megadeth was disbanded, and that looked like it, the end of an era at least going out on a high. Then it just got more bizarre, as Dave managed to re-teach himself to play, and before you knew it, Megadeth were re-forming, but not with the previous line-up, and amazingly no Junior (Dave Ellefson). What had started as a solo album for Dave Mustaine became the new album – ‘The System has Failed’. Personally I wasn’t overly impressed with the offering, and so wasn’t holding out too much hope when the new album was announced, and the release date moving out got me worried.

As the release date finally drew near, the Megadeth website featured the video for the re-recording of ‘A Tout le Monde (Set me free)’, previously featured on the Youthanasia album, which was now a duet featuring Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil. Apparently Dave had always heard this song in his head as a duet, and I have to say I prefer it to the original recording, which I find surprising as my initial reaction when hearing about it was ‘Why?’, not believing songs should be re-visited. Just goes to show perceptions can be changed.

Next up was a sample of ‘Washington is Next’, which showed some return to the old style reminiscent of the Youthanasia days, with some interesting guitar melody underpinning the song. Some surfing also turned up some tracks from the Tour on YouTube, so I had a sample of ‘Gears of War’, but it didn’t really do it justice.

So now my expectations were a bit higher as United Abominations was released featuring Dave Mustaine, Glen Drover on guitar, Shawn Drover on drums and James Lomenzo on bass. The album kicks off with a nice clean guitar, before a very typical Megadeth guitar riff kicks in, and a second quickly builds over this before kicking into the song main for ‘Sleepwalker’. It is very much a typical Megadeth song, until 3:20 when the guitar suddenly kicks in with a riff very reminiscent of ‘Holy Wars’ before hitting the guitar solo and building to a nice crescendo for the finale of the track. The next track is ‘Washington is next’ which I’ve already mentioned, and we then move on to ‘Never walk alone… A call to arms’, which in places brings ‘Tornado of Souls’ from ‘Rust in Peace’ to mind. Track 4 is the title track ‘United Abominations’ which builds from a clean guitar with a nice drum line over a spoken word intro, and the guitars gently come in to a standard gallop rhythm, there’s a nice pre-chorus and melodic chorus but it’s not a stand-out track. ‘Gears of War’ features an almost grandiose guitar and keyboard intro, and then gently simmers before hitting a very ‘Go to Hell’ tempoed main rhythm, and Dave’s voice has a nice snear to it on the vocals. The double time chorus is nicely executed, and the slightly laid back solo features a nice initial harmony. ‘Blessed are the Dead’ starts with a nice bass rumble and is standard Megadeth fair, whilst ‘Pray for Blood’ bruises in with a lovely groove, almost bluesy, and deserves to be cranked up and played LOUD with some nice double bass. The previously mentioned re-recording of ‘A Toute le Monde’ follows, with ‘Amerikhastan’ next up. This is a nice mid paced stomper, with some good old fashioned blistering from Dave. ‘You’re Dead’ starts with an interesting descending riff, and when the vocals kick in harking back to ‘So Far, So Good’, the chorus really stands out on this track, with an interesting guitar squeal/dive in the background over the doomy ascending riff. Official album closer ‘Burnt Ice’ is a slight disappointment at first, but after the first guitar solo it hits 1:36 and suddenly picks up as it moves up a gear into a nice stomping riff, before hitting the second set of solos as Dave and Glen exchange solos, dueling towards the end as the song picks up pace.

The featured bonus track is a Led Zep cover – ‘Out on the Tiles’ (Note – the album was recorded using the late John Bonham’s old kit).

Overall the album is very much in the vein of the glory days of ‘Rust in Peace’, ‘Countdown to Extinction’ and ‘Youthanasia’, and I’m sure will feature regular playing over the coming months. I’m glad to see Megadeth back where they should be, all be it a bit sad that Junior doesn’t feature, I might even be tempted to see them live again.

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One Response to “Megadeth – United Abominations – A return to form”

  1. Duncan Says:

    Just Great album! By the way, here is some useful
    website devoted to the
    United Abominations album: http://megadeth-united-abominations.info/

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