Archive for Public Enemy No. 1

Megadeth – TH1RT3EN [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 5th November 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Band: Megadeth
Album: TH1RT3EN
Release year: 2011
Genre: Thrash Metal

Megadeth, one of the big four of thrash metal, have enjoyed a very illustrious and legendary career since forming after Dave Mustaine’s forced departure from Metallica. The band have gone to realise a number of brilliant releases such as “Peace Sells…” and “Countdown To Extinction”. “Th1rt3en” – despite the lame title – has received mostly positive reception from both fans and press alike.

“Sudden Death” demonstrates the thrash-stylised speed that Megadeth clearly enjoy. The bass riffs are outstanding, possibly better than the well-constructed guitar sections. The guitar riffs display the wide of talent possessed by both axe-men in Megadeth. You can literally feel the energy and aggression bursting from the guitars like a tidal wave smashing through a dam. Mustaine’s vocals are as unrefined and untamed as they’ve ever been. “Public Enemy No. 1” – despite its slow paced intro – thrashes its way down a similar vein to “Sudden Death”.

”Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)” is one of the two singles released from the album as part of its promotion. While not displaying the same speed as the last two tracks, it still has the typical Megadeth elements but Mustaine’s vocals do sound different to an extent. The guitar solos are mind blowing to put it simply. The drums deliver a tight, rhythmic assault upon the listener’s ears, making a perfect alliance with the bass. “We The People” starts with a radio voiceover – much like those found on “44 Minutes” and “Washington Is Next”. The guitars and vocals offer up a very progressive-meets-jazz-esque minus the low-end vocals and saxophone solos. The lyrics contain the usually political theme found in Megadeth’s work. The solo is a reminder of some of the guitar work from “Holy Wars” due to the Arabic-like elements used.

The intro of “Guns, Drugs & Money” makes itself heard like the roar of a crazed beast. The guitars are structured well enough though they give off the feeling that they could do with a bit of tweaking in parts. The drums feel limited though this is probably due to the guitars. This is definitely a weak track for the most part and would probably have been better off being pushed to the bottom of a very large bin. “Neverdead”, which was written for the third person action and fantasy game NeverDead, starts with a slow, almost-Gothic introduction before the fierce and unrelenting blitz of fast paced guitars shred their way onto the track combined with merciless inclusion of drums. Mustaine’s vocal work is on top form, his vocals at their finest – Shame that the track probably will be wasted on gamers with no appreciation for Megadeth.

Originally written on the Clash Of The Titans in 1991, but never being featured in full in Megadeth’s back-catalogue “New World Order” starts with an old-Megadeth sounding riff. The vocal work is rough, creating a perfect mixture of “Vitamin Megadeth” with the music. The only bad thing about the song is the awful realisation that Illuminati-conspiracy theorists will probably use it as evidence for Megadeth being one of them. “Fast Lane” is appropriately named as some of the riffs and drum work feel like race cars whizzing past the ears of the unsuspecting listener. Other parts are pretty laid back in comparison. “Black Swan” is featured in its entirety on the album with its high-speed introduction and strong structure. The vocal work is like an orgasm in the ears. The guitars can only be described as a musical Van Gogh.

“Wrecker” has a more technical guitar structure applied to it. The vocals don’t live up to the expectations of the guitars and the drums fit their part well enough. The solo really does put the rest of the song to shame. “Millennium Of The Blind” starts with a melodic sound, which carries on in a different form when the vocals enter the track. Mustaine’s vocals sound quite harsh in the softer parts of the song. The song gives off the atmosphere of a ballad, similar to that of A Tout Le Monde. “Deadly Nightshade” begins with a quick female giggle before the pounding of guitars and drums come in. The song, overall, is pretty solid but feels to be lacking in speed, like a crippled cheetah that tries to move faster but can’t. The bass work has a nice twang in parts, giving it the song more punch.

”13” is the final – and yes, you guessed the thirteenth – track of the album beginning with an oddly calming acoustic section. The metal elements slowly come in after the vocals but overall the song is pretty weak and as light as a feather compared to the rest of the album. The only good parts of the song are the acoustic riffs, the solos and the part where it ends though the vocal sections are pretty strong, compared to the music anyway.

Ignoring the poor choice of the album’s name, “TH1RT3EN” is definitely one of Megadeth’s finest pieces – Being as musically intelligent as Youthanasia, Countdown To Extinction and United Abominations. Hopefully future Megadeth releases will be in the same vein as “TH1RT3EN” – But with better title choices.


Nico Davidson