After over 20 million albums sold worldwide, metals legends Megadeth return with their latest album United Abominations. It's an album that throws back to the sound and energy of classic albums like Rust In Peace and Peace Sells But Who's Buying?; but it's also an album that sounds as fresh and contemporary as anything out there today. In true Megadeth fashion, it doesn't shy away from controversy or political commentary; it embraces it. With songs like Washington Is Next! and Amerikhastan it is a commentary on today's tumultuous world and the United Nations. Beyond the political commentary lies an album full of classic Megadeth music from the sinister Sleepwalker to the infectious Gears Of War. It is lead by the first single Set Me Free (A Tout Le Monde), which originally appeared on Megadeth's 1994 album Youthanasia, but has now been fully realized the way Mustaine has always wanted it. Joining him on the single is Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia whose vocals help create a haunting track.
Nearly 25 years after its formation, Megadeth is making its most brilliant work, a feat that some acts find unthinkablemaybe impossibleafter half that time. When Mustaine sings about politics it's never in the abstract, faraway sense; his lyrics are riddled with references to the here and nowthe boundaries and bombs that make the threat of waror the threat of doom real. So it's no real surprise that this release features lyrics liberally peppered with references to Afghanistan, 9/11, NATO and the like.
Of course, no one buys a record or a ticket to a show specifically to hear five-minute polemics and that's where Mustaine's real talenta talent for creating ear-perking riffs and solid, carefully constructed songscomes in. The album may require that you read the newspaper on a regular basis but it also allows you to let loose with abandon and excitement. "Never Alone... a Call to Arms," "Gears of War" and "Play for Blood" are remarkable because they recall the classic metal of Judas Priest, Diamond Head, and the like and prove that there's nothing quite like an overdriven boogie-based riff to excite the most primitive impulses in the listener. Mustaine makes a bid for commercial radio by revisiting Youthanasia
's "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" with Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia. It's his most emotionally honest vocal performance to date and one that will no doubt finally earn him wider critical recognition. Jedd Beaudoin