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Megadeth - Endgame review


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Band: Megadeth
Album: Endgame
Release date: September 2009

01. Dialectic Chaos
02. This Day We Fight!
03. 44 Minutes
04. 1,320'
05. Bite The Hand
06. Bodies
07. Endgame
08. The Hardest Part Of Letting Go... Sealed With A Kiss
09. Head Crusher
10. How The Story Ends
11. The Right To Go Insane
12. Washington Is Next! [live] [Japanese bonus]

The best thrash record in years.

A bold claim certainly, but one that Endgame can back up. Megadeth found their feet once again after a decade that put them on the weaker foot; this time Mustaine and co put their foot squarely on your face and leave you dizzy in amazement at how a band can sound this strong after so long. Yes, in a decade that saw the releases of albums such as Tempo Of The Damned, Formation Of The Damnation and Enter The Grave, Endgame outclasses them all.

Playing to their strengths, Endgame is a guitar-driven record that sees each song pinned down by a solid riff, giving each track a firm basis on which to branch off in disparate directions. As if recognising the inherent folly in trying to rejoin an arms race in intensity they had once led with Rust In Peace, Megadeth realize that time has moved on and that they were likely to bring a knife to a gun fight; that's not to say the album does not pack one hell of a punch when they let rip, but they channel their power through other means. The title track is a good example, it may not have the power to knock you straight over, but by aiming its blow well it can still take you off your feet.

The album is strong throughout, with even the weak links being strong bonds on many other albums. "1,320" reminds me a lot of "502" and is somewhat generic in its topic, but as mentioned prior, the guitar-led musical foundation can withstand these issues and stand surprisingly tall. The other issue is that the lyrics are a far cry from the days of "Peace Sells" or "In My Darkest Hour", either dwelling on the aforementioned generic topics too much or losing their potency in Mustaine's newfound desire to outline issues rather than spit venom like he used to. Apart from these issues, the rest of the album is solid; some tracks may have minor issues here and there, but they are like specks of dust on a bar of gold, barely a blemish on what is beneath it.

Being the musical highlight of this iteration of Megadeth is a somewhat hollow achievement given many overlook any line-up other than the revered groupings of the '80's and 90's, but for me, it was the last line-up that managed to have a personality to it rather than feeling like a bunch of hired hands (which is an achievement, given that they were). Broderick fits the guitar-driven aesthetic well, matching the newfound vim well and providing some excellent solos. LoMenzo and Drover provide a solid foundation that manages to balance the all-out metallic powerhouses a la "This Day We Fight!" with the slower but still interesting "The Right To Go Insane" with ease.

It is this diversity in styles that makes the album such a captivating listen, from the powerhouses of "This Day We Fight!" and "Head Crusher" that remind you that Megadeth can still put the bands that followed in their wake in their shade, to the mid-paced but no less compelling listening ala "44 Minutes", "Bite The Hand" and "How The Story Ends". In between these two, the album has songs that alternate and combine these two elements to great effect; the title track sits well in its groove before springing to life and going for your jugular, whilst "The Hardest Part Of Letting Go Sealed With A Kiss" does this well also.

Andy Sneap is able to capture this newfound lease of life perfectly, giving the songs a vital, powerful yet sharp and clean sound that doesn't come off as abrasive even though the riffs are razor sharp. It is Sneap's work that enables the songs to live up to their potential, allowing the tracks to breathe and prove that sometimes the bark can be just as potent as the bite.

Endgame proved to be a late career renaissance for the band, providing the best moments since Rust In Peace and showing that rather than drifting into the role of elder statesmen of the scene, the band could blaze into view and pull up with the stereo on full blast, pumping out such a potent mix of metal that they sound as vital as they have in years.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9

Written on 17.11.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 53 users
18.11.2020 - 11:37
Rating: 9
Captain Obvious

The late 2000s/early 2010s were a sort of a "midlife crisis" of thrash metal. It seemed like every 80s thrash band was recapturing that energy one last time before age finally caught up with them. You had Endgame, Metallica's Death Magnetic, Testament's The Formation of Damnation, Slayer's World Painted Blood, Anthrax's Worship Music, Kreator's Phantom Antichrist, Overkill's Ironbound, and Exodus's Exhibit albums. It was a great time to be an old school thrash fan.
Did you ever notice that the people who tell you to get a life are normally people who should be dead in the first place?
18.11.2020 - 13:19
JoHn DoE

9.3 is too high for this.
Also the Exodus and Testament albums you mention there are better than Endgame if you ask me.
Well written review anyway.
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
18.11.2020 - 15:47
Rating: 7

^Yeah, I'd rate Tempo of the Damned and Formation of Damnation above this. I enjoyed Endgame a decent amount at the time, but looking back, there's a solid start and a decent stretch of songs 7-9, but the rest wasn't that great. More consistently enjoyable than The System Has Failed or United Abominations, but I'd give this a high 7
18.11.2020 - 20:08
Well written review, indeed a better album than the others you mention. Also best since Rust In Peace like you say, though my personal taste puts it on the same level with Youthanasia (which was not thrash). Smokes all other Megadeth albums of the 20 odd years in between RIP and this one.

For best thrash of that decade, I'd vote The Blackening. Endgame is very close, along with Black Future, Enemy Of God, This Godless Endeavor and M-16. And Ironbound, if we include 2010.
18.11.2020 - 20:37
Rating: 7

Written by nikarg on 18.11.2020 at 20:08

For best thrash of that decade, I'd vote The Blackening. Endgame is very close, along with Black Future, Enemy Of God, This Godless Endeavor and M-16. And Ironbound, if we include 2010.

For some reason I never click in my head that This Godless Endeavor is thrash; yeah, I would probably have to go for that, although I listened to The Blackening an ungodly amount for the year or so after I first discovered it (it made #2 on my favourite albums list when I joined the site, funny how these things change over time, I haven't listened to it in years)
30.12.2020 - 22:25
Rating: 9

Good review, but in my opinion Tempo of the Damned is better than Endgame

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