September 2, 2009 - "ENDGAME IS THE ALBUM FANS HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR"
Getting to the nitty gritty of things, MEGADETH has emerged victorious over their eighties rivals other than SLAYER throughout the course of time if you want to consider the abundance of albums attributed to Dave Mustaine and company, or simply Mustaine if that’s how you view things. Though everyone may be tired of discussing the long-ago METALLICA-MEGADETH feud (no more than Mustaine and the Metallidudes themselves, assuredly), you have to congratulate those having lurked beneath the MEGADETH banner for keeping the band productively ahead of the pack.
Endgame in title would insinuate Dave Mustaine has reached his final hour of need, however he’s far from calling it quits, even if he nearly did so earlier in the decade whilst selling off a generous portion of his gear and resting his aggravated hands. If anything, the rejuvenated Mustaine has lately gained an upstanding reputation in the metal revival as engineer of the annual Gigantour fest, not to mention crowd-pleasing albums following The World Needs a Hero, which fell mostly on the ears of strict diehards.
Continuously plagued, however, with a veritable turnstile of supporting cast ever since longtime bassist David Ellefson led the way out, MEGADETH 2009 ushers in yet another lead shredder to accompany the always-talented Mustaine. Replacing Glenn Drover in the guitar hotseat is former NEVERMORE and JAG PANZER slinger Chris Broderick. Undoubtedly fans are going to be as equally pleased with Broderick’s arrival as Mustaine, considering the liner notes for Endgame disseminate the whirlwind solos both players prolifically gust from their windy wrists.
Without exaggeration, Endgame is the album MEGADETH fans—old and new—have been patiently waiting for. Though seldom few itched about MEGADETH’s previous outing United Abominations, Endgame is almost twice as effective as its predecessor. Vaulting in theory from Killing’s My Business…and Business is Good to Cryptic Writings, this album is pure MEGADETH across its own board, most happily yielding vengeful thrash modes ala the first two albums and Rust in Peace on “This Day We Fight!” “Head Crusher” and the breathtaking final stanza of “Bodies.”
There’s the gleeful piston popping of “1,320’” a song about funny car racing and the politically-barbed title track which propels into a galvanized prod. “How the Story Ends” is not much different than how Mustaine has been writing from the mid-nineties on up, yet it still sounds fresh, particularly with a flamenco-spiced acoustic solo introducing sonic fret dancing and a monster chugged bridge section. The album actually ends not there, but with the banging strut of “The Right to Go Insane.” Along the way, Mustaine and the gang take an experimental trip with “The Hardest Part of Letting Go…Sealed With a Kiss,” which reminds of the Risk album’s dicey moves, yet this time Mustaine’s so confident in his songwriting and his current house band this tune masterfully works around the 12-string quietude to amp up to a galloping rhythm and tougher-than-tough riff blares.As fair a job as METALLICA did with Death Magnetic, Dave Mustaine still gets the better of them (if you want to hold onto the grudge in place of the actual participants) with a highly focused engine of finesse. Endgame’s solos are spectacular, its beats are some of the greatest since Nick Menza’s tenure and the songwriting is full of adrenalized determination. If this lineup can hang about the MEGADETH camp for awhile, we’ll really have something special to cling onto for yet another decade under the shadow of Vic Rattlehead…. (RVH)