It’s no secret that Super Collider is already becoming one of the most controversial releases in the Megadeth discography. While the band has certainly pulled off more, since the 90s, but this album is coming out right after they spent a good ten years reclaiming their thrash metal reputation. But while this album will never be worse in the public eye than Risk, it does prove to be a pretty rocky listen.
It is obvious that this album is different when compared to the last few efforts before it, but it’s hard to tell just how it is different. Unlike Risk or Cryptic Writings, there are no blatant sellouts or dance music experimentations. If anything, you could say that it is just a dumbed version of their signature melodic metal as the tempos are slower and the vocals return to a more prominent position.
Of course, these changes do lead to a somewhat disjointed band dynamic. While some training and honest effort led to fairly enjoyable vocals during their last commercial period, Dave Mustaine’s voice just sounds tired and almost bored in this day and age. Thankfully Chris Broderick gets some good leads in when he can and Shawn Drover’s drumming has its moments, but the limited writing means that the talent is more competent than it is impressive. That’s not even going into the banjo on “The Blackest Crow” or the David Draiman influence, though those elements aren’t as offensively prominent as one would think.
Speaking of which, the writing also feels like a mixed bag and seems to lack the hooks the band had gotten really good at putting together. “Burn!” and “Built For War” would’ve been bigger highlights with smoother transitions, “Dance In The Rain” and “Beginning Of Sorrow” have a few pacing issues, and the title track is the kind of hard rock song that makes one wonder why AC/DC couldn’t have gotten to use the title first…
Fortunately, there are still some good moments on here. The opening “Kingmaker” and “Don’t Turn Your Back” make for solid metal tracks as the former channels some Diamond Head influence and the latter features a particularly tight drum performance. The cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” also makes for a decent closer and “Forget To Remember” actually has a few hooks in there though it could’ve been even better in the hands of a more melodic group.
While Super Collider certainly isn’t at the Lulu level of disaster, it is certainly the weakest Megadeth album since The World Needs A Hero. The best moments are when the band sticks to what they’ve been doing since United Abominations and even some of the other good ideas may have been better with other bands performing them. Seriously, doesn’t the title Super Collider sound like it should’ve been for the best AC/DC album in twenty years?
“Built For War”
“Forget To Remember”
“Don’t Turn Your Back”