As one of the Big Four I’d say Megadeth is a metal band that needs no introduction. Over the last 25+ years Dave Mustaine and a rotating cast of band mates have created some of the greatest metal songs of all time. As with Metallica, I discovered Megadeth after the release of their second album, which for Megadeth was “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?” I was immediately taken with the band name (and spelling) and the image of Vic Rattlehead leaning on the For Sale sign. My very first heavy metal t-shirt was the “Peace Sells” album cover on a white tee that I mail ordered from a black and white paper Metal Disc catalog. My mom intercepted the package and wouldn’t let me have, let alone wear, the shirt. After going a few rounds arguing I eventually got to wear the shirt. Megadeth is an integral part of my heavy metal DNA.
About a decade ago there were a couple Megadeth albums that didn’t really thrill me very much. But you can’t keep Dave down, and eventually he found his way again. The discs since then have all been on par with what I expect from a Megadeth album.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see Dave back on top. The only thing that could have shocked me more than the news that the Metallica and Megadeth camps were now all friends again, would be peace in the Middle East. I never thought to see those two bands together. Ever. Can world peace be too far behind? If anything could bring the world together, metal could. I’ve seen there are readers of this site from just about every country in the world, and heavy metal music is the common tie between them all. If only that bond could translate into something even bigger.
Pipe dreams aside, there’s a new Megadeth album hitting stores today, their thirteenth in fact, and it is appropriately named “Th1rt3en”. This album marks the return of Dave Ellefson, long-time Megadeth bassist, who left the band for eight years after a disagreement with Mustaine. That’s another mending of fences that I am glad to see.
Dave’s musical inspiration has always seemed to feed off of the political and social issues of the day, and it seems he’s had plenty to get angry about lately because on “Th1rt3en” his disdainful snarl sounds sharp and ready to draw blood. The riffs and solos are equally as sharp; I don’t think anyone has ever been able to combine frenetic fret board gymnastics with catchy, melodic and above all rhythmic riffing in such a way as to compete with Megadeth. You may be faster, or more melodic, but nothing quite compares to the Megadeth riff catalog (see "Train of Consequences" from "Youthanasia".)
“Th1rt3en” I’m not surprised to report, also has thirteen tracks. I like some songs better than others but I don’t think there’s a bad one in the bunch. Right now my favorites are the ones we’ve been hearing for awhile now, “Sudden Death” and “Public Enemy No. 1”. In the album closer, “13”, Dave acknowledges that he has been to the well thirteen times, yet after all these years we still want him to bleed. But he refuses to die. Cool track.
I recently heard Dave was having back troubles that almost caused them to not play the Big Four show in New York. Hopefully Dave is back in fighting form soon and takes this show on the road. I’ve seen them a few times in the last few years and the show was always incredible. It occurs to me that I’ve seen Megadeth perform in three different decades, and that seeing them again would mark a fourth decade. Man, we are getting old lol.
Some people may consider thirteen an unlucky number, but it doesn’t seem to be showing any ill effects for Megadeth. It certainly hasn’t slowed them down any.