MEGADETH — Dystopia

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MEGADETH - Dystopia cover
3.93 | 32 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 2016

Filed under Thrash Metal
By MEGADETH

Tracklist

1. The Threat Is Real (4:22)
2. Dystopia (4:59)
3. Fatal Illusion (4:15)
4. Death from Within (4:47)
5. Bullet to the Brain (4:29)
6. Post American World (4:25)
7. Poisonous Shadows (6:02)
8. Conquer or Die (3:33)
9. Lying in State (3:34)
10. The Emperor (3:52)
11. Foreign Policy (Fear cover) (2:28)

Total time 46:46

Japan bonus track:
12. Me Hate You (4:44)

iTunes and Best Buy tracklisting:
1. The Threat Is Real (4:22)
2. Dystopia (4:59)
3. Fatal Illusion (4:15)
4. Death from Within (4:47)
5. Bullet to the Brain (4:29)
6. Post American World (4:25)
7. Poisonous Shadows (6:02)
8. Look Who's Talking (4:14)
9. Conquer or Die (3:33)
10. Lying in State (3:34)
11. The Emperor (3:52)
12. Last Dying Wish (3:49)
13. Foreign Policy (Fear cover) (2:28)

Total time 54:54

Line-up/Musicians

- Dave Mustaine / guitars, vocals
- Dave Ellefson / bass
- Kiko Louriero / guitars
- Chris Adler / drums

About this release

Release date: January 22, 2016.
Label: Tradecraft

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and diamondblack, Unitron, adg211288 for the updates

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MEGADETH DYSTOPIA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Dystopia" is the 15th full-length studio album by US thrash/heavy metal act Megadeth. The album was released through Tradecraft Records in January 2016. It´s the successor to the often criticized "Super Collider (2013)", which many fans felt was too mainstream oriented. Since the release of "Super Collider (2013)" quite a few changes have been made though. Not only to the musical style, but also to the lineup as guitarist Chris Broderick has been replaced by Kiko Louriero (Angra), and drummer Shawn Drover has been replaced by Chris Adler (Lamb of God). The usual suspects are Dave Mustaine (guitars, vocals) and Dave Ellefson (bass).

The changes in the lineup seem to have somewhat reignited Megadeth as "Dystopia" sounds a bit more focused and consistent in quality than many of the post-2000 albums by the band. The guitar tone and the riffs are also harder edged and you´ll find few songs here with mainstream appeal. That doesn´t mean "Dystopia" is an all out thrash metal fest though, and Megadeth still manage to balance the thrashy parts with more melodic inclined heavy metal parts. So it´s more or less like it´s always been, which means it´s in the songwriting quality where "Dystopia" predominantly sets itself apart from the less interesting releases by Megadeth. Out of the post-2000 Megadeth releases it´s closest in style and quality to "Endgame (2009)".

The two new guys bring a lot to the music. Both Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover are arguably skilled musicians, but in hindsight Mustaine might have held on to them for too long, and it´s obvious that Kiko Louriero and Chris Adler provide the music and main songwriter Mustaine with a wind of something fresh and inspiring. Chris Adler´s playing adds a dynamic organic touch to the album (although the drum production could have prosphered from a more organic tone), and Kiko Louriero´s guitar solos are varied, melodic, and shredding, complimenting Mustaine´s more classic blues based shredding well.

"Dystopia" opens with a strong trio of tracks in "The Threat Is Real", "Dystopia", and "Fatal Illusion". All three among the highlight of the album. Not all remaining tracks are as strong or as memorable as the opening tracks, but the quality of the material is generally high. The dark atmosphere, the hard edged thrashy riffs and rhythms, and the trade off guitar solos all work really well along with Mustaine´s distinct sounding voice and delivery.

The sound production is professional, clear, and powerful. The sound suits the music perfectly. So upon conclusion "Dystopia" is a high quality release by Megadeth and certainly one of their stronger post-2000 releases. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Unitron
Megadeth - Dystopia

"Dystopia" is the fifteenth studio album from thrash metal giants Megadeth. Megadeth is well-known as one of the big four of thrash metal, and for creating milestone albums such as "Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?", "Rust in Peace", and "Countdown to Extinction". Unfortunately, while they have had quite a few really great releases since, their discography is a bit inconsistent in quality. I felt like the previous two releases, "TH1RT3EN" and "Super Collider", were pretty lackluster and mediocre with only a few great tracks. So how is their newest release?

"Dystopia" blows their last three albums out of the water, and it actually has a different feel to it then the majority of their later output. To my ears, it combines Megadeth's classic sound with the more modern sound of "The System has Failed" and "United Abominations". Songs like opener 'The Threat is Real' and 'Fatal Illusion' are classic Megadeth, the latter having a short but killer bassline from Dave Ellefson. The riffing in parts of the song are reminiscent of the band's classic albums. The riffing towards the end of the title track is incredibly catchy, and just try not to get addicted.

The new additions of Kiko Louriero and Chris Adler really help the band's sound, with the guitar and drums feeling a lot more powerful and punchy this time around. 'Death From Within', 'Lying in State', and 'Bullet to the Brain' especially showcase this power. The latter's chorus also has an amazing vocal performance from Dave Mustaine, combining his normal sneer and menacing melodic vocals. These menacing vocals and menacing atmosphere is also really strong in 'Post-American World' which has great soloing. There is also some really beautiful classical guitar work, especially in 'Poisonous Shadows' and 'Conquer or Die'.

The lyrics on the album are classic Megadeth, being centered around politics. While not as strong as "Peace Sells" or "Rust in Peace", the lyrics are still really strong. 'The Threat is Real' and 'Lying in State' especially have some of my favorite lyrics on the album. The cover of Hardcore Punk band Fear's 'Foreign Policy' fits in perfectly with the theme of the album, and is actually one of my favorite songs on the album. It's such a powerful song, and the chants of "Foreign Policy" just punch you in the gut.

Overall, "Dystopia" is easily Megadeth's best album since at least "The System has Failed" in my book if not since "Countdown to Extinction". If you want powerful political thrash with a modern sound, then "Dystopia" is a perfect choice. Hope you found this review helpful.

Feel free to comment!
Nightfly
Released in January 2016 Dystopia is the fifteenth studio album from Megadeth. The first since 2013’s Super Collider which divided fan opinion for not being heavy enough and lacking thrash elements. We have also seen the departure of drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick and replaced by Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler and Angra guitarist Kiko Louriero. Both excellent and exciting players but making it seem somehow less of a permanent solution due to their commitments to their other bands – we shall see.

Dystopia is certainly a return to the thrashier Megadeth style and a damn good album and somewhat better than Super Collider when at its best, speaking as someone who’s a fan of that release. The band plays brilliantly, Loureiro and Adler easily proving their worth and hats off to Dave Mustaine for this inspired choice. Loureiro plays some spellbinding solos and Adler whilst not quite as inventive with his playing as in his day job delivers the goods better than most would and a master of his art. This is the strongest line up since the days of Marty Friedman and Nick Menza.

When Dystopia is good it’s very good to excellent with some captivating moments – the album gets off to a great start with The Threat Is Real with its pummelling galloping riff and some stunning guitar soloing – sure to become a live favourite. The high quality is maintained for a large part of the album highlights being Fatal Illusion, Death From Within, Poisonous Shadows and Lying In State. The title track could however have sat comfortably on Super Collider and not one of the best songs here but the solo section raises it from ordinariness. The energy level is high throughout with plenty of the Megadeth groove but a few tracks rob the album of classic status, mainly towards the end, a couple of lack lustre songs in The Emperor and Foreign Policy – a cover of USA hardcore band Fear – as necessary as their cover of Anarchy In The UK on So Far, So Good…So What! The stuff of B sides.

Despite a couple of weak moments the overall quality of the songs and playing on Dystopia just about place it in the top 5 albums of their career and hopefully this line up will last long enough to make a follow up.
The Angry Scotsman
A standard album for Megadeth over the previous decade: Dave Mustaine has surrounded himself with very good talent, and managed to melt it all into a pot of mediocrity.

While Megadeth's last two albums were increasingly depressing efforts, I couldn't help but find myself intrigued by Dystopia because it's Megadeth...and I was impressed with the additions of Kiko Loureiro of Angra and Chris Adler of Lamb of God. I have long been a fan of Adler's drumming, and after exploring Angra it's no doubt Loureiro is a very talented musician.

Loureiro does lay down some nasty solos, (and damn impressive acoustic work), and Adler's drumming is solid, but his unique style has been shoved into the Megadeth formula...and that's really the way I'd describe "Dystopia". Formulaic.

The album isn't bad, though it isn't anything special, there are some great riffs, melodies, solos and moments sprinkled throughout, while the rest is filled with uninspired, generic music. It's modern Megadeth by the numbers: lots of mid temp chugging, mix in speed metal riffs and double bass chain drumming, some unique moments, shred solos and very rare thrashing. There's really just not much about this album that stands out either way.

Mustaine's vocals continue to show signs of age, but aren't too bad honestly. Recent attempts at singing have been abandoned for his trademark gruff, talk-singing style that does remind me of his classic days, though no doubt it lacks its past ferociousness and sarcastic bite.

"Dystopia" starts on a high note with "The Threat is Real" a very solid song, then "Dystopia" which may be the best on the album with its awesome riffs, melodies, solos and song structure...it really moves, never lingers too long or grows boring. "Fatal Illusion" is another good song that reminds me of classic Megadeth: dueling guitars, harmonized melodies, explosive solos and anarchic structure. After this 3 song burst the album goes bland, exception being the instrumental "Conquer or Die". This song competes for best on the album, opening with an awesome acoustic lick before launching into some wonderful dual guitar work. Spidery riffs, blazing yet varied solos all within a slowly building framework. Right out of the classic Megadeth playbook.

So what to make of Dystopia? There are some good songs, but nothing spectacular, which stand out in an album of generic, frankly uninspired feeling, music. Those who worship at the church of thrash shouldn't bother with this, those that enjoy the newer, modern metal style Megadeth, will probably like it. I don't feel it's thrash or nothing myself, I just believe Mustaine is not good at writing non thrash music, which "Dystopia" continues to prove correct. The two best songs sound like good ol fashion 80's Megadeth, while the rest spins its wheels in the mud that has been the band's 4 of their last 5 albums.

Overall, an OK album that won't blow anyone's mind. Fans of newer Megadeth will find it acceptable, and it's certainly better than the disaster that was "Super Collider". You won't find anything new, but nothing really bad. Fans of pre mid 90s Megadeth will find little to enjoy here.

TWO AND A HALF STARS
Kingcrimsonprog
Well, for those fans looking forward to a blistering ‘holy cow’ return-to-form story, there may be some disappointment. Despite the interesting new band line-up with Angra’s Kiko Loureiro and Lamb of God’s excellent drummer Chris Adler; Dystopia, Megadeth’s fifteenth full-length studio album is not necessarily the career highlight that hype and wishful thinking may have lead us all to believe.

The new lineup is great and not gimmicky, but its still the Mustaine show here on Dystopia. Band-leader Mustaine still writes a huge percentage of the music, so despite the line-up, it doesn’t suddenly sound much like Angra or Lamb Of God either, although you can definitely pick up on their involvement during breakdowns or solos if you're paying attention.

With that out of the way, Dystopia is a good album. Of course it is. It’s a Megadeth album that isn’t Risk, of course it’s a good album. Its more or less the same Megadeth album that the last four ones have been, with about the same level of similarity and difference as each of the last four have had with each other. Its slightly heavier than 2013’s Supercollider, its slightly more consistent than 2011’s Thirteen and slightly thrashier than 2007’s United Abominations, but when all is said and done, its relatively similar to them all, especially the less famous mid-album stuff. 2009’s Endgame is arguably the closest record to this stylistically in the Medageth catalogue; thrashy yet modern, ‘fast’ on paper but still varied and with plenty of mid-tempo moments, energetic and revitalized but not necessarily earth-shattering. They're arguably quite similar in quality too, as well as stylistically.

If you’ve enjoyed Megadeth’s recent output, this is good. Its good for me, I’ve been really keen on all the recent albums personally. If you only like a particular period such as the ‘80s or ‘90s however, I’d give up now because despite the hype there’s not that much difference here to anything the band have turned-in since the millennium.

There are a few interesting moments here and there, such as a touch of piano and spoken-word at the end of ‘Poison Shadow’ or some Spanish guitar at the beginning of the instrumental ‘Conquer Or Die’ but again, nothing you haven’t heard before from a band with such a long and storied career as Megadeth ...who have covered a lot of ground already in their time. Apart from having a cover of Fear’s ‘Foreign Policy’ at the end, which admittedly fits in well thematically with the majority of the rest of the record’s tone anyway, the album doesn’t particularly have any stand out moments or obvious hits, it isn’t an album of highlights and filler, it feels very consistent, and benefits from being absorbed in a single listening session rather than picked and chosen from. That’s a good thing though, this is a good album that works well as an album, that is good all the way through and that feels like a complete ‘whole.’

With all of that being said, its then understandably hard choose favourite tracks from Dystopia; for me ‘Lying In State’ is one of the strongest, a track which sounds very close to the style of the faster stuff on 2004’s The System Has Failed, and has lead guitar lines that don’t sound much like any previous Megadeth material. Another noteworthy track would be the fun, bouncy ‘The Emperor’ which feels like the better Thirteen material and would sit rather nicely beside ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?’ in concert.

Overall; Dystopia is another post millennial Megadeth album of strong quality that satisfies on every level, but that probably won’t go down in the history books. The guitars are sharper, the vocals have more snarl and the lyrics are a bit more politicized than Supercollider for example, but I think ‘business as usual’ is a fairer summation of the record than ‘best album since…’ because, for me at least, Megadeth have been dishing out high quality, enjoyable, entertaining albums of this quality all along.
Vim Fuego
What’s the first thing you can say about “Dystopia”? Well, it’s no “Super Collider”, thank all things metallic and unholy.

Since 1990’s “Rust In Peace” Megadeth’s musical output has been incredibly inconsistent. MegaDave seems to constantly be torn between chasing Metallica-like commercialism (“Countdown To Extinction”, “Risk”, the afore-mentioned “Super Collider”) or remembering what made him famous in the first place- metal (“Endgame”, “United Abominations”, "Th1rt3en"). Thankfully for anyone who remembers the Megadeth of the 80s, this is the latter.

That’s not to say “Dystopia” is a new “Rust In Peace”, or that boring old cliché, a “return to form”. No, this is what Megadeth should have been doing all along. Yes, their glory days are long gone, but there is still plenty to be explored in the metal oeuvre. This isn’t the band’s best album ever, and far, far from their worst. It’s good, solid metal, which isn’t going to earn the band any new fans, and should hopefully bring a few back.

First track “The Threat Is Real” starts with a riff straight out of 1988. Yes, this is proper fucking metal, the way it used to be, with sharper, harder 21st century production values.

And the snarl is back. Dave Mustaine is at his vocal best when he’s sneering rather than when he attempts straight singing. The vocal melody on “Fatal Illusion” harks right back to “Devil’s Island”, Megadeth’s oldest song. The lyrics are a bit on the paranoid conservative Christian side. Just look at the song titles like “Post American World”, “The Threat Is Real”, and even the album’s title, but if you are really bothered by such things, you shouldn’t be listening to Megadeth in the first place.

There’s a bit of filler, like “Bullet To The Brain”, but it’s not obviously half assed. “Poisonous Shadows” drags a little. The acoustic intro to “Conquer Or Die” has all been done before too, but is by no means bad. And some songs, like “The Emperor”, while not an out-and-out thrasher, has that effortless, understated drive first introduced to Megadeth’s sound on “Countdown To Extinction”.

While Dave Mustaine’s personality might be quite abrasive, leading to a high turnover of band members in Megadeth, one of his great strengths is an ability to spot a great musician. Latest additions Kiko Louriero (guitar) and Chris Adler (drums) mesh well with Dave and Dave Jr. There’s some damn good drumming and excellent guitar duelling, always present on good Megadeth albums anyway.

The whole thing is wrapped up with a cover of Fear’s “Foreign Policy”, a great choice as a closer for its manic, desperate energy, and thematic fit to the rest of the album.

With expectations very low after the lacklustre “Super Collider”, “Dystopia” is not a game changer, but at least it shows there’s still some life left in one of thrash’s pioneers. Unlike some previous “file-and-forget” albums, “Dystopia” is an album which warrants replaying. And it’s great to see Vic Rattlehead back on the cover again too.

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