Megadeth - _The System Has Failed_
(Sanctuary Records, 2004)
by: Brian Meloon (5 out of 10)
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.


(article published 29/7/2004)

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