United Abominations

Megadeth

Review score: 84%

Review Date: August 2012
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

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Back in 2007, Megadeth released their eleventh album, United Abominations. Has it really been five years since this noisy monster of an album entered the world? Oh, man. Megadeth came back on form with this one. Guitars sometimes remind me of their earlier work, and are occasionally reminiscent of Iron Maiden.

The album concept kinda follows on from The System Has Failed. Themes include Iraq, terrorism and all that, with the the U.N. becoming the focal point of the title track.

Boy do the title song lyrics go on about the U.N. Amazingly, the UN went so far as to publish a verse by verse rebuttal on the U.N. Dispatches website. The rebuttal makes an unusual read, in that some of it is factual, other bits are odd, (such as the very idea of UN Dispatches writing and publishing an explanation of the biblical references in metal lyrics, or the number of times Dave's surname is misspelled), and some of it is plain funny, such as "This apparently upsets Mustaine, because he launches into a monster guitar solo!".

(Hey Tali – here's an idea... Let's write a song or poem about the UN and see if they will publish a critique for us... Think of the free publicity... whadaya say? Oh, stop smirking for crying out loud!)

In 2007 Megadeth opened for Heaven and Hell on the other side of the Atlantic. What a great show, you lucky, lucky people. Interesting to read that Andy Sneap had a bit of involvement on this album. Andy previously worked on my favourite thrash metal album back in the day, the quirky Brit pagan thrash masterpiece Dreamweaver by Sabbat.

The album features many guitar solos, and lots of skillfully played, high speed thrash. On the whole the lyrics seem mostly cheesy, which suits the theme just fine. The exception to this is A Tout le Monde, which is just amazing.

Track highlights:

Washington Is Next!

Very interesting. The high pitched intro sounds Maiden-esque, very cool. The song is a conspiracy theorists dream. It took a few listens to figure out what it's about . I reckon it's a moan about the New World Order, and biblical prophecies coming true about oppressed populations (he means us, folks) and the evil powers that control our thoughts and actions. It is also a mighty fine and very catchy metal number, so give it a blast!

United Abominations

You can listen to the song and read the rebuttal and make your own mind about the content if you are interested. I'm more interested in the music. The song is angry, referencing Iraq and 9/11. The ranting spoken intro sets the tone well, then thundering guitars crash in, drowning out some of the spoken words later on. It's a memorable number. I have an occasional liking for angry music when the mood takes me, and this outraged work by Dave and the boys does the job nicely.

Gears of War

Video game tie-in Gears of War is a tough, violent mechanistic metal track. Simple macho lyrics suit the game perfectly and fit well into this album.

À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)

Beautiful, just beautiful. Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia sings backing vocals for Dave Mustaine on this rehash of Megadeth's track from their earlier album Youthanasia. I much prefer this version. Hot Cristina's vocals add to the depth of feeling in this evocative, thought provoking number. Definitely worth a listen, and worth listening closely.

Amerikhastan

Why pick this track out? It is a bit daft, music is good, lyrics seem childish, and yet... it made me smile. Listen to it once for that reason alone.

Cover Art

Not great. I found the cover art to be cheesy, tacky and in bad taste...but then this is a metal album so I guess its...OK.

Conclusion

I play this album a bit too much. What I like is the energy that has gone into the songs. It's mostly angry thrash with some very skilled speed solos thrown in. The redone A Tout le Monde stands out, it sounds very different to the rest. ATlM may not fit in with the theme of United Abominations, but the track is so good it brightens the album. All in all I enjoy United Abominations – partly for being reminiscent of Megadeth's 1980's work and partly for the energy and skill put into the guitar work. Oh, and also for the lyrics on Washington Is Next which took some deciphering. Thanks Dave!

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Track List (may vary)

  • Sleepwalker
  • Washington Is Next!
  • Never Walk Alone... A Call to Arms
  • United Abominations
  • Gears of War
  • Blessed Are the Dead
  • Play for Blood
  • À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)
  • Amerikhastan
  • You're Dead
  • Burnt Ice