Megadeth - Endgame
Roadrunner Records
Thrash Metal
11 songs (44:47)
Release year: 2009
Megadeth, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Whatever you think of Dave Mustaine’s media presence, ably reported on by Blabbermouth who seemingly do nothing these days but watch the Megadeth forums for updates from the great man, the fact remains that his band has been the most consistent and interesting of the big four of Thrash. The lows of even Risk were nowhere near as bad as St Anger (say what you like about Dave becoming a Christian, he never went Nu-Metal) and Anthrax’s lack of ability to hold a line-up together is in sharp contrast to Dave’s sharp business model. Of course, the various feuds with members of Slayer and Metallica are the stuff of (hilarious) legend, Dave the sarcastic flame-haired warrior he always was, yet for many there was a real challenge to be answered when Metallica made their triumphant comeback with Death Magnetic. Metalheads are used to Hetfield and co. underperforming (or overperforming, depending on your view of their skills) so for them to release a post-Metallica album that was universally hailed as not that bad was as much a middle finger in Mustaine’s direction as anything else – or so Dave saw it in his own mind, we can assume. Well, whatever the thought process on the journey to this moment, the destination is more than worth it. The more listens you give Endgame, the better it gets, and it is, without question, the band’s best album in, ooh, fifteen years if not more. It’s quite stunning to think that Megadeth has been in existence for over twenty-five years, and it has to be said, once and for all – this pisses all over Death Magnetic. Without a doubt, if you ever thought that Metallica had something that Megadeth didn’t, Endgame will change your mind.

Endgame isn’t Rust In Peace pt 2, of course, more like United Abominations part 2 in that there’s a mix of song styles, but it’s an improvement on its predecessor in that the songs are uniformly heavier, riffier, and Thrashier. Opener Dialectic Chaos surprises in that it’s an instrumental intro (the last one of them that we saw being on So Far, So Good... So What!) setting the pace nicely for the rip-roaring This Day We Fight. Now THIS is what we’ve been waiting for, boys and girls, the Thrashiest and most classic-sounding Megadeth has been for years, easily defeating United AbominationsSleepwalker in that regard. It’s the perfect mixture of old-school ‘Deth and modern heaviness, subtly epic guitar lines backing the muscular riffing, and the solos! They come in their multitudes, from all directions, and they are uniformly wonderful! My god, Chris Broderick may not be Marty Friedman, but judging him on the performance shown here he’s not far behind at all. The album changes down to mid-pace chugging for 44 Minutes, describing the North Hollywood shootout where over 300 police officers fired at two heavily-armoured bank robbers for that amount of time before deciding that shooting them in their unprotected lower legs might be a good idea. It’s a great song, a long instrumental section more smooth and flowing than anything from the clunky Death Magnetic. The band work together perfectly, Lomenzo and Drover’s rhythm section razor-edged although the album is driven predominantly by the guitars.

1320 follows, and is another winner. No doubt everyone reading has heard it by now, topically returning to Dave’s love of cars and pounding its way into your skull with another great instrumental section towards the end. To be honest, there are no poor tracks present whatsoever, even mid-album tracks like Bite The Hand and Bodies excellent, reminiscent of Countdown To Extinction but with a new energy pumping through Dave’s veins. The title track is full of the sort of paranoid anti-governmental nonsense that you’d expect to find on batshit blogs or Glenn Beck’s show rather than on a Thrash album – Dave’s always been on the lunatic fringe when it comes to writing politics, especially in the post-millennial albums, but this takes the biscuit, referencing everything from mind control chips to the mark of the beast. The silver lining of the fact that your favourite Thrash Metal band’s frontman is a mental is that he sincerely believes that stuff and his vocal performance is thus intense and verging on spinechilling, and it makes for a killer song that sadly fades out when I’d be quite happy with it continuing another few minutes at least. Dave is possibly the only person on earth who could make lyrics like “Refuse the chip? Ha! Get persecuted and beat by the tyranny of mind control, for the mark of the Beast” sound genuinely awesome.

Andy Sneap did an excellent job on producing this, everything sounds great. Heck, even the ballad The Hardest Part Of Letting Go... Sealed With A Kiss, which opens acoustically and is orchestral-backed, has more balls than anything from, say, The World Needs A Hero. Even if you don’t like it, first single Headcrusher storms in straight after and stomps all over you, and the closing one-two of How The Story Ends and The Right To Go Insane are brilliant Metal pounders. Megadeth have always been my favourite out of the big four, closely followed by Slayer, but if Endgame is anything to go by Araya and co are going to have to work very hard indeed to beat this with the forthcoming World Painted Blood. Personally, I doubt they can do it; Endgame is that damn good, undoubtedly one of the best Metal albums of the year and a must-listen for every Thrash Metalhead out there. Hell, it’s a vital experience for everyone, Mustaine proving why we love him despite his personality; you haven’t been second-best to Metallica for a while now, Dave. Endgame, ultimately, is more than just another reason for the ’Deth being held in such high regard - it's a wonderful bit of Metal that makes everyone else look silly, a sure-fire contender come the end-of-year lists.

Killing Songs :
This Day We Fight, 1320, Endgame, Bodies, Headcrusher, How The Story Ends, The Right To Go Insane
Goat quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Megadeth that we have reviewed:
Megadeth - Dystopia reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Megadeth - Super Collider reviewed by Goat and quoted 59 / 100
Megadeth - Th1rt3en reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Megadeth - Cryptic Writings reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Megadeth - Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! (remaster) reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
To see all 18 reviews click here
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