Written by Alex Stojanovic
The Threat Is Real
Death From Within
Bullet To The Brain
Post American World
Conquer Or Die
Lying In State
Foreign Policy (Fear cover)
Release Date: January 22, 2016
Label: Tradecraft Records via Universal Music
Dave Mustaine - Vocals & guitars Kiko Loureiro - Guitars David Ellefson - Bass & vocals Chris Adler - Drums
The album is an early, but very strong contender for album of the year. It brings back the fury of Peace Sells, So Far, So Good...So What?, Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction as well as some of the recent records like United Abominations and Endgame. Literally everything from the violent riffs, amazing solos, rampaging drums, bulldozer bass and Dave Mustaine's unmistakable snarling vocals gets your adrenaline going. Mustaine's vocals probably sound more menacing than ever. With the injection of new blood in Megadeth with Chris Adler from Lamb Of God on drums, who is living the dream of playing with his favourite band of all time, and Kiko Loureiro from Angra on guitar, the band is reinvigorated and sounds tighter than ever.
The band set the time machine to the 80s on tracks like "The Threat Is Real", "Fatal Illusion", "Death From Within" and "Lying In State". David Ellefson proves once again why he's one of the greatest bassists in metal with the bass line in "Fatal Illusion" being just one of his several highlights on the album. He and Chris Adler together bring back the thunder that seemed to be lacking on Super Collider and Thirteen. "The Threat Is Real" contains some vehement riffing reminiscent of Peace Sells and it's a perfect way to start the album. "Post American World" carries a big Countdown To Extinction vibe with it's straightforward but destructive sledgehammer groove akin to "Symphony Of Destruction", that is perfect for a live setting, especially at a festival or in an arena, so I hope they will incorporate this track into the set.
The album is not just a full thrash assault as there are some slightly more melodic tracks such as the instrumental "Conquer Or Die", which puts Kiko in the spotlight with a majestic acoustic piece that starts the song off before exploding into a showcase of tasty soloing. The perfect combination of light and darkness on "Poisonous Shadows" make this track one of the best songs on the album. Adler's machine-gun double-kick bursts locked in with Mustaine's quick warp-speed chugs give the song a huge dose of extra punch. The title track carries a big Rust In Peace feel as it is easily comparable to "Hangar 18" in terms of arrangement, where it starts off melodic and gets heavier as it goes on and finishes off with a lengthy solo section after the second chorus.
I get a big vibe of So Far, So Good...So What? on "Lying In State" with the relentless double-kick attack and chugging riffs. The song sort of reminds me of "Set The World Afire". "The Emperor" is a bit more of a straight ahead rocker, although I think lyrically, it sounds like a song left over from Super Collider, making this the only flaw on the record, but the music is excellent. Closing the record is a great cover of Fear's "Foreign Policy". Dystopia is an amazing return to form for Megadeth and it's the album that fans worldwide have been waiting for. There are plenty of old-school moments to satisfy the fans who have been waiting for an album in the vein of Peace Sells or Rust In Peace. As a drummer, I'm going to have a lot of fun playing these songs and they're sure to give guitar players' hands and fingers a good workout.
Highs: Fantastic production, great songwriting, song-structuring and performances. Standout tracks include "The Threat Is Real", "Fatal Illusion", "Death From Within", "Post American World", "Poisonous Shadows" and "Lying In State".
Lows: The lyrics in "The Emperor"