- Genre: Metal
- Release Date: 04/06/13
- Number of Tracks: 11
- Length: 45:14
- Record Label: Tradecraft
- Producer: Johnny K / Dave Mustaine
When I decided that I was going to start doing reviews I knew that every so often I was bound to come across a terrible album, that I would have to subject myself to a few listens of it and then try to stop it being erased from my mind long enough for me to write something about it. I thought I would tackle Megadeth's 14th album, "Super Collider" and lo and behold, after just over a week of reviewing, I have my first bad album to write about.
Writing about music this bad leads to some issues; I want to be taken semi-seriously as a reviewer and so the two word review "shit sandwich" was out of the question, as was trying to crack a load of jokes at Megadeth's expense. Instead I will settle on being honest about how I feel about this album...it's shit.
As of late Megadeth have been really churning out albums; "Super Collider" is Megadeth's 4th album in just 6 years. Truthfully this is the first of those records that I have actually heard so I don't have much reference material. The album starts well enough with "Kingmaker" which, although is not the greatest Megadeth song you will hear, is at least a solid effort to write a semi-decent Metal track and, from other reviews I have read, is considered the best track on the album. Personally, I think that the song isn't that special but is made to look good by the rest of the piss-poor, half-arsed effort that Megadeth seem to find worthy to release under their name. What follows "Kingmaker" are 9 tracks (and a cover) of mid-tempo, riffless, boring as sin songs that leave me with a bit of a dilemma because I find it difficult to believe that all 4 members of Megadeth sat round a table, listened to the album then all agreed that it was a decent effort and fit for release (if the band is indeed a democracy).
"Super Collider" is a very special album in that it manages to make 4 minutes feel like 4 hours. When I first looked at the track lengths I was surprised to see that there was not a single song over 5 minutes; that instantly got me thinking that the album would offer little variety and that is indeed the case. The songs really do drag and it is probably the only time I have ever felt that a 45 minute album is way too long. It feels like everything has been heard by track 4 and repeat listens to the album are laborious. I can totally understand that, after writing 13 albums, Megadeth were not really up for writing another Thrash record and didn't want to re hash old ideas too much. That being said they seem to have fallen into the exact same trap that they fell into with "Risk". It is more than possible for a band to have a little bit of a change in style and to do it sounding fresh and exciting (Mastodon and Opeth, for example) but with "Super Collider" it feels like Megadeth are making the mistakes that they made in the 90s all over again.
I guess now I should delve into what specifically makes the album so bad. First and foremost it seems like Dave Mustaine has forgotten some of the advice he once gave out that myself, as a guitarist, held in such high esteem for a long time. He once said something along the lines of lead playing being 10% of a song and that rhythms were the most important; I couldn't agree more. With this in mind it's astounding that tracks like "Super Collider" and "Burn!" ever got released. Here are two tracks that have no good riffs to speak of and rely on flashy solos to make the song sound exciting; unfortunately this is the case for most of the album.
When I reviewed the new Amon Amarth album last week I said that it was a shame that the great riffs in that album weren't backed up by killer solos and with "Super Collider" it's the polar opposite. Yes, Chris Broderick and Dave Mustaine do have some good lead guitar work on the record but it doesn't make up for the fact that the songs they feature in are boring. It almost feels like Megadeth are taunting their fans by showing some examples of them being really good musicians but doing it to a backdrop of bad, bad music. It's a bit like seeing a delicious cake surrounded by shit.
Another thing that really, really sucks about this album is the lyrics. I don't even necessarily feel the need to comment on them, just read:
Burn, baby burn... 'cause it feels so good
Burn, baby burn... like I knew it would
Fire, I've got the fire
Fire, burning desire... my desire to burn
Built for war, what do you think your fists are for? Built for war!
Built for war, are you looking at me, you want some more?
What do you think your fists are for?
These are examples from the tracks "Burn!" and "Built For War" and I don't think any words are needed. Even worse than that, at one point, Mustaine says Al-CIA-da...no, just no. What's even funnier is that the cover track, thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat" also has bad lyrics! It's like Mustaine wrote a whole album of bad lyrics, covered a song with equally bad lyrics and then didn't at least have the courtesy to sing in a way that half covered it up; every word is very clear and
Moving on from that, the track "The Blackest Crow" is interesting. Interesting because it is Megadeth's "experimental" track and features heavy use of a banjo. There are two things about this song, the first is that it is really, really bad, the second is that it reminds me of Warrant's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to the point that I want to stop "Super Collider" entirely and bang on the whole "Cherry Pie" album. If your music is reminding me of a band that I would sooner be listening to then you are doing something very wrong.
I could honestly talk about how bad this album is forever but I will just focus on one more thing; the production. This album is boxy and sounds incredibly small to the point that it is almost uncomfortable to listen to. It's a little like I'm Uma Thurman (stay with me) in Kill Bill 2 and I'm trapped inside a coffin underground and Megadeth are playing 6 feet above me. It sounds horrible, it feels horrible and it's just...horrible. Production was handled by Johnny K and, you guessed it, Dave Mustaine. I in fact think that Mustaine controlled this album from start to finish and arguably is responsible for the outcome.
My concluding thoughts on "Super Collider" are that, frankly, I don't want to hear it ever again. I think that Dave Mustaine, if he even cares anymore, should focus less on bashing Obama and the US Government and should focus more on his music. At least when Mustaine was angry with Metallica his band were churning out decent albums but now it feels like Megadeth are stale and all but finished, fresh out of ideas and heading for another low period. I would usually conclude with a standout track but in this case the only thing that stands out is the mediocrity of this god-awful album, Rust In Peace it isn't.