Megadeth - TH1RT3EN

edited July 15 in year-2011

ARTIST: Megadeth
LABEL: Roadrunner
SERIAL: RR7700-2
YEAR: 2011

LINEUP: Dave Mustaine - vocals * Chris Broderick - guitar * Dave Ellefson - bass * Shaun Drover - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sudden Death * 02 Public Enemy No. 1 * 03 Whose Life (Is It Anyways?) * 04 We The People * 05 Guns, Drugs & Money * 06 Never Dead * 07 New World Order * 08 Fast Lane * 09 Black Swan * 10 Wrecker * 11 Millennium Of The Blind * 12 Deadly Nightshade*

RATING: image


This time 17 years ago I remember being more excited for any new album than I ever had been previously when Megadeth released 'Youthanasia'. Would they return to the thrash of 'Rust In Peace' and abandon the slower style of 'Countdown To Extinction' two years earlier?

That burning question was dispelled some 50 minutes later as pure fantasy and nearly two decades later I'm still sitting here waiting for Megadeth to sound meaningful in some way again. Simply put '13' isn't it.

Whereas the last two Megadeth albums at least toyed with thrash, while remaining mostly tepid, '13' doesn't even try and the worst asset about it is at least 7 of the tracks are recycled from past demos and bonus songs from older albums.

Whether Mustaine has finally run out of ideas I'm not sure, but this is hardly essential in anyone's book.

The Songs

Lead track 'Sudden Death' appeared more than a year ago for a 'Guitar Hero' game, so longtime fans are surely already familiar with it. This newer version isn't much of an improvement, with a heavy intro but the obligatory excursions into softer melodic areas. It's still far heavier than much else that follows, but having heard this sometime ago it's hard to get excited about.

The galloping riff to 'Public Enemy No. 1' has some bite and the hook has some melodic appeal but Mustaine's voice is so worn out that it hurts the track. There's a faster tempo for 'Who's Life (Is it Anyways?)' but it's too light to be labeled thrash. There's something really weedy about the sound, much like the horrific 'FFF' from 1997.

Mustaine has a rant about the state of society on 'We The People', not an entirely new theme for the band, but musically it's mid-paced and devoid of anything memorable. Take my word for it. Throw 'Guns, Drugs and Money' into that category too. Where's the musical vitality? Why do I get no feeling from this? I have absolutely no urge to ever listen to this ever again, that's how dull it is.

'Never Dead' is a notch better, faster to some degree, but in reality just another routine Megadeth track.

Making for interesting listening is 'New World Order', originally recorded in 1991 and meant for inclusion on 'Countdown To Extinction'. It was released some years back but the band re-recorded it for this album and the end result is clearly inferior to the original. Listening to the original you can hear the power this band had in their heyday, but two decades later it's missing. This really says everything about Megadeth in 2011.

Mustaine explores his fetish with speeding on 'Fast Lane', another song easily dismissed. There's nothing going on and this is the musical equivalent of thin air.

'Black Swan' dates from some four years ago, while 'Millennium Of The Blind' goes back 20, but unlike 'New World Order', has no speed or anything to recommend it, which is why it was probably unfinished for so many years.

Describing 'Wrecker' or 'Deadly Nightshade' would be too tedious, but what is definite is the gulf between the older songs and the ones written specifically for this album.

'Deadly Nightshade' is another 90's demo come to life, but as it dates from 1994 onwards it automatically qualifies as a loss. The title track is a six-minute epic, agonizingly slow for the most part, with Dave ruminating about his '13' lives that he has somehow survived.

In Summary

Remember when Mustaine was young, dangerous and cutting edge? Maybe that's why it's difficult for me to reconcile what he was once capable of compared to the mostly drivel of the last two decades.

Somewhere Mustaine truly lost his edge. At his age now it's too late to ever capture the ferocity of the 1985-90 years and this mediocre release confirms that.

'13' is heavy metal at its dullest, surely. I don't expect a full-on thrash album, but this really needed more of that element.
Instead shades of 'Cryptic Writings' are everywhere and while it's nowhere as awful as 'Risk', it isn't much more convincing either.

Of course when the time comes for the next album Mustaine and Ellefson will be throwing out quotes like 'it has the intensity of 'Rust In Peace', or 'it's going to be our most aggressive album ever.' I think by now we all know the truth.

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