Record Reviews

Album review: Megadeth “Dystopia”

With a new line-up, Dave Mustaine has breathed new life into Megadeth and produced a great album that won’t disappoint the fans and will win the band some new ones.

The guitars! The guitars – again! The drums! The songs! The production! Mustaine and David Ellefson have really improved the band with the addition of a new guitarist and a new drummer, both of them handpicked Megadeth fans that are well-known world-class musicians.

Having seen Megadeth live both in 2014 (with the old line-up featuring Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick) and in 2015 with Kiko Loureiro (of Angra fame) on guitar, it is rather obvious that the Brazilian guitarist is by far the best guitarist the band has had since Marty Friedman was in the band in the 1990s. And on this new album it is very obvious Mustaine has hit a homerun with the addition of Kiko. Chris Adler’s drumming is also, of course, top class.

The “Dystopia” album manages to sound like proper old-school Megadeth and very fresh and innovative at the same time. This is melodic, technical thrash metal with great lyrics combined with Mustaine’s distinctive vocals. The lyrics are your typical Mustaine’s critique of the state of the world in general and the US in particular.

“Lying in State” is one of my absolute favourites on an album that remains strong throughout. “The Emperor” is another great track and so is “Post-American World” and the title track “Dystopia”.. The strong opening track “The Threat Is Real” is classic Megadeth and will quickly become a live favourite.

Top production, great songs – some of which are up there with best of the Megadeth classics – and great musicianship. The energy is back in Megadeth. Somehow I think I can hear that Dave Mustaine is very happy with his new line-up. I hope it will last. There is still very much a question mark over Chris Adler’s future in Megadeth as he is a full-time member of Lamb of God. When I saw the “new” Megadeth perform here in Japan last October, Adler was away on duty with his other band and Megadeth had Tony Laureano (ex-Dimmu Borgir, Belphegor, 1349, Nile) as a great stand-in. Time will tell if Adler will be in Megadeth properly and for the long term.

Metallica – the pressure is on. Megadeth has managed to deliver a great, relevant album of new music in 2016.

Megadeth – band members

Dave Mustaine – vocals, guitar

David Ellefson – bass

Kiko Loureiro – guitar

Chris Adler – drums /