CD Review of United Abominations by Megadeth

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United Abominations
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: Roadrunner Records
Released: 2007
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I should be calling collect from jail
For the things I commit each night in my head.
- “Sleepwalker”

Don’t give them any ideas, Dave. Megadeth’s tune has basically been the same for a couple of decades now: Front man Dave Mustaine is mightily pissed off about the current political landscape. What keeps fans coming back for more is the fact that the band, even though they are now one of the biggest revolving doors in music, is really talented. The message is consistent, though how it’s delivered may vary.

United Abominations is Megadeth’s best record in at least a decade. The current lineup (Mustaine on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Glen Drover on lead guitars, James Lomenzo on bass, and Shawn Drover on drums) sears with energy and technical skill, and the record certainly boasts some of Mustaine’s angriest material.

The leadoff track, “Sleepwalker,” acts as almost an encapsulation of the entire album. It has a beautiful acoustic intro which promptly turns into a thunderous riff. It has solos, it has signature Mustaine venting, and it’s nearly six minutes. The song names basically speak for themselves, as tracks such as “Washington is Next!,” the title track, and “Gears of War” act as outlets for Mustaine. Musically the band is spot-on. Megadeth sounds as tight as ever, and Mustaine’s guitar interplay with Glen Drover is superb. Of special interest is “Play for Blood,” a new thrash classic that packs in 13 solos in less than four minutes.

The decision to remake “A Tout Le Monde,” the hit off 1994’s Youthanasia, is very curious. The track sounds virtually the same, except Lacuna Coil vocalist Cristina Scabbia has been brought in to the mix. This reeks of desperation for a single to send to radio and it doesn’t even come close to fitting the context of this album. Had it been left off the album probably would have been a stronger listen at ten tracks.

United Abominations may act as a new beginning for Megadeth, although it’s not as if they have ever been inconsequential. If Mustaine can keep the current lineup intact we are likely in for several more excellent albums. Megadeth is a lot like “South Park”: They’ll be around as long as messed up stuff is happening politically. In other words, they can be around forever if they so wish.

~Bill Clark