Megadeth - _The System Has Failed_
(Sanctuary Records, 2004)
by: Brian Meloon (
After Metallica's _St. Anger_ [CoC #63], one should've expected that
Megadeth would record an album that goes back to their roots. And after
hearing the MP3 of "Kick the Chair" from their website, I had reasonably
high hopes for this album, as that song sounds like something that might
have come off my favorite Megadeth album, _Rust in Peace_. But instead
of returning to the sound of their pre-sellout albums, Megadeth's latest
offering is a hodge-podge of elements from throughout their discography. Aside from the fact that it's professionally produced and played,
this isn't a very good album. One major reason for this is that there
just aren't very many good riffs here: most of the riffs are either
derivative or cliché, and the only ones I find decent are the handful
that remind me (usually very strongly) of riffs from _Peace Sells_ or
_Rust in Peace_. Another main problem is that it lacks consistency,
so it comes off sounding more like an anthology than an indivisible
body of work. For example, three of the early songs use samples, but
none of the other songs do, and three of the last songs feature religious
overtones, yet none of the others do. I frequently found myself wondering
which album each song might have come from, and finding that some songs
contained elements of a few of their albums. Strangely, they also seem to
have picked up influences from outside their discography, such as "Tears
in a Vial", which sounds more like early Tesla than any Megadeth album.
Given all of these influences, it's hard to find any new elements that
they've brought to this album -- so what we're left with is a rehash of
their old ideas, arranged and packaged as a new album. Still, this is
an improvement over _Risk_, for example. But while it restores some
of Megadeth's sagging credibility, I think it's too little, too late to
win back many of the fans of their earlier albums, myself included.
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