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Megadeth - "Th1rt3en" (CD)

Megadeth - "Th1rt3en" CD cover image

"Th1rt3en" track listing:

1. Sudden Death
2. Public Enemy No. 1
3. Whose Life (Is It Anyways)
4. We The People
5. Guns, Drugs & Money
6. Never Dead
7. New World Order
8. Fast Lane
9. Black Swan
10. Wrecker
11. Millennium Of The Blind
12. Deadly Nightshade
13. 13

Reviewed by on November 2, 2011

"Even with the thrash quotient dialed back, there's plenty to love here, with Broderick and Mustaine delivering their usual high-caliber guitar work and Shawn Drover proving that he just might be the best drummer this band ever had."

After the full-on thrash assaults of "United Abominations" and "Endgame," Megadeth lets off the throttle a bit on "Th1rt3en," for an album that recalls the band's more overtly melodic 1990s output — though with a harder edge and many more guitar solos. The end result is a sound that falls somewhere between "Peace Sells" and "Youthanasia" that aims to please a wide cross-section of fans and, more often than not, will likely succeed in doing so.

As usual, frontman Dave Mustaine and fellow ax-slinger Chris Broderick are a force to be reckoned with on tracks like "Sudden Death" and "Public Enemy No. 1." Though things never quite reach the fever pitch of the "Endgame" one-two punch of "Dialectic Chaos" and "This Day We Fight!," the two have a greater synergy than before. Now, the transitions are much more seamless. Dave Ellefson is back at bass after a 10-year absence and does his usual solid job, as does Shawn Drover, who's on drums for his third album with Megadeth.

Mustaine's never been shy about going into the back catalog for songs. He resurrected the Metallica-era track "Mechanix" on the band's first album, with "Rust In Peace" and "Set The World Afire" both having been written well in advance of the rest of the albums they appeared on as well. This go-round finds Mustaine revisiting tracks from the "Youthanasia" era of the band — namely "Millennium Of The Blind" and "New World Order," which were co-written by then-guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. They're the two weakest tracks on the disc, but are interesting as historical curiosities if nothing else.

Far better is "Never Dead," with its slow-burn intro and jump into blitzkrieg thrash territory. "Fast Lane" recalls "502" and "High Speed Dirt" both in terms of its thrill-seeking lyrics and speedy drums and guitars. It's to Drover's credit that some of the less thrashy stuff — "Wrecker" and "Guns, Drugs & Money," especially — swings to a greater degree than the 1990s stuff it was modeled on did when Menza was behind the kit.

For some, "Th1rt3en" may feel like a step backward for Megadeth after the full embrace of the band's early thrash sounds on the previous couple CDs. Even with the thrash quotient dialed back, there's plenty to love here, with Broderick and Mustaine delivering their usual high-caliber guitar work and Shawn Drover proving that he just might be the best drummer this band ever had.

Highs: "Sudden Death," "Never Dead" and "Guns, Drugs & Money"

Lows: The two Friedman-era tracks, "Millennium Of The Blind" and "New World Order.

Bottom line: The thrash is dialed back a bit, but there's still plenty of snarl here.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)