If you are a fan of Thrash titans Megadeth things have been looking very rosy as of late. After a short lived hiatus, main man Dave Mustaine brought them back to the fold and since which they have been on pretty fine form with The System Has Failed to United Abominations. This then led to 2009's excellent Endgame; an album which genuinely sits easily with the band's all time classics, and the finest albums of the 21st Century.
Since the release of Endgame, original member David Ellefson returned to the fold, and the band have participated in the highly sought after and historical 'Big Four' shows across the globe, highlighting the band's impressive legacy, longevity and relevance. Megadeth are in one of the strongest positions of their careers, and with the release of a brand new album, the stage is set, are we about to have another classic?
Th1rt3en (which rather cryptically, is the bands 13th studio album), unfortunately is not quite the triumph that Endgame was, but it is a great album none the less. Reverting back to the more mid pace efforts such as Countdown To Extinction and Youthanasia (there are worse benchmarks to live up to) rather than the all out, in your face, 1.320mph shredding approach of earlier gems and Endgame, it is certainly more accessible than those efforts, but not quite as hard hitting as perhaps could have hoped. What is interesting about this album is how many of the featured tracks have either seen previous release or were recorded at differing periods of time: 'Millennium Of The Blind' for example was written in and recorded as a demo in 1991, 'Black Swan' was awarded to fans who pre-ordered United Abominations back in 2007 and 'New World Order' was written on the 1991 Clash Of The Titan's tour. This coupled with the fact that this is the band's final album in their Roadrunner Records contract and that the two parties, while not having a torrid time together have had previous disagreements; it is possible that this album was created in this way to finish the contract and to move on.
Despite these negatives however, Th1rt3en is a very good album and is certainly worth checking out. It opens on a high with 'Sudden Death', a song initially recorded for inclusion on the latest Guitar Hero game, and contains the comforting opening of guitar shredding which we have come to expect from a Megadeth album, before moving into one of the album's true highlights and one of the albums faster songs. Otherwise much of the album (as mentioned before) has a more mild pace; following track 'Public Enemy No.1' a prime example. This is not necessarily a complaint at all however as this a collection of very stellar songs. The aforementioned two are very strong, 'Whose Life [Is It Anyway]' is an instant anthem to which many can relate, and 'Black Swan' is another song definitely worth checking out.
What Th1rt3en also has going for it is that none of the songs are too long and taxing to endure. What has been too common as of late are albums that are far too long and needlessly long songs which do not grab your attention throughout. Th1rt3en on the other hand has only two songs above the 5 minute mark, whilst the rest sit around 4 minutes, and with only 13 (ho ho) tracks it definitely does not out stay it's welcome.
After the grand release that was Endgame, and with big pluses happening for the band as of late, expectations were certainly high for another instant world beater, and while this is by no means a bad record, Megadeth have not quite delivered the true great we could have hoped for. Regardless, this is a great record and very worthy of your time, and is much better than this years' output from a certain other 'Big Four' member.
Recommended: Sudden Death, Whose Life [Is It Anyway], Black Swan