Formed in 1983, Megadeth has always been a band that has seemed to follow in the footsteps of their “parent” band Metallica. While both bands are widely successful, Megadeth tries to focus more on the instrumental side of Heavy Metal. Their music utilizes more complex riffs set to a slightly increased tempo when compared to the rest of the ‘Big Four’ of America’s top Thrash Metal bands of the 1980s Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax. Megadeth’s innovative style at the time of their debut in the early 80s lead to four of their first five albums becoming Platinum records in the U.S. market.
Megadeth’s 2013 album “Super Collider,” produced with guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover, is arguably one of the band’s most mediocre albums. The production of “Dystopia” subsequently led to the two being replaced with former Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro and current Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler; it seems that this usurpation of sorts was exactly what Megadeth needed to claw its way out of an era of mediocrity.
“Dystopia” opens with The Threat Is Real, a song that bears much resemblance to Rust In Peace… Polaris from their 1990 album “Rust in Peace.” The Threat is Real looks to be a current concert staple as Rust In Peace… Polaris was for several years. Both songs feature heavy guitar leads that transition into slightly more tame and palatable riffs. This minor transition in both songs is accompanied by the band’s signature bass, rhythm guitar, drum lines, and ever haunting lyrics from the infamous Dave Mustaine.
The album’s title song, Dystopia, opens with a melodic guitar that sounds like it belongs in the famous Ferrari Testarossa chase scene from the 1980s crime drama “Miami Vice.” Thankfully, “Dystopia” soon moves away from the melodic tone into a song that very closely resembles Megadeth’s roots from their albums prior to the early 2000s. Great synchronization from all aspects of the band led to what can be argued as the best title song Megadeth has produced since Peace Sells or their debut album’s Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good.
From there, the album keeps up its pace until Bullet In The Brain where the album starts to fall apart with Mustaine’s preachy, new age, conspiracy theory filled lyrics. The eleventh track on “Dystopia,” titled Foreign Policy, is by far one of the band’s worst songs. Its lyrics and instrumentals sound nothing like the band’s standard or even off-kilter tracks, and the track probably should have been omitted from the album entirely. While the second half of “Dystopia” is largely brought down by Mustaine’s often questionable lyrics, there are a few songs that redeem this half of the album.
Poisonous Shadows and The Emperor are more similar to the band’s roots, and they hold the album strong until the final track: Melt The Ice Away. This is a fantastically distorted cover of Budgie’s original 1978 Rock n’ Roll track.
Overall, “Dystopia” is an album that could very easily open several doors for Megadeth’s future, should they decide to continue making music for the years to come. With some songs seeming more exploratory in nature, and several others staying true to Megadeth’s roots in Thrash Metal, this album earns a solid 7/10.