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Megadeth | United Abominations | review | metal | Lollipop
United Abominations (Roadrunner)
by Martin Popoff
Interesting... You hear about Dave the Christian, but he's also an intense American, addictive, and he's angry (again), and a student of rotten politics, conspiracies, and the flow of the money. A lethal combination, so you get the sense he's cackling wryly at the violence of Islamic terrorism and Iraq, pretty much thinks both sides are wrong and maybe even dizzied pleasurably by the blood. Maybe inevitably then, Mustaine comes up with the curious apocalyptic vision of blasting them all to bits, Washington, the UN, Muslim extremists, maybe the whole Middle East, which would all be pretty metal. The guy comes off as so left wing, he's like an anarchist, and so right wing, he's like a "Left Behind" evangelical or one of those Christians for Israel or whatever they're called, both sorts drumming their fingers waiting for The Rapture, "watching the skies" as Biff puts it, only he was talking about UFOs. Another parallel is with the lyrics of early Trouble, o'er which attempts to brand the band "white metal" kinda wilted under the bloody sword of Eric's fire and brimstone mining of the Bible for heavy metal violence and retribution and Job-like punishment for nothing much at all.
Ergo, there goes Dave, hacking through both wrong and warring sides, along with on the crispy-fried edges, psyches tormented from dark, subconscious, uncontrollable inner thoughts, by revenge, as well as by crystal meth, Dave adding sneering, leering forays (in the time-honored and self-loathing Megadeth tradition) into poisoned relationships. But yeah, on the political front, this is like a new, strange, crazy view of things made up of a crumpling up of all the normal views. Great colors on the artwork too - classy yet metal, and then what of the music?
Dave and his band (bassist James Lomenzo and Canadian tag team Glen and Shawn Drover, guitars and drums respectively), like Slayer, make their own brand of metal, a smooth-drinking, hi-fidelity version of half-speed shred nonetheless pure of metal intent, but accurately sung, politely played, and accessibly grooved, all potential minefields with kvlt metal fans, or indeed, the main age bracket of the genre's buying (downloading?) public, who are simply used to stronger, impacted, growled, blasted stuff all the time. The creamy tones are a joy, as are the highly musical solo steel ballets 'twixt Dave and Drover, who is far beyond having to prove he's no slouch, given his work with King Diamond, but mostly a long string of superlative Eidolon records. The System Has Failed was pretty damn cool, and this one is too, United Abominations adding more of a circular and note-dense Rust In Peace vibe (without that record's frantic uneasiness or its pinkie-in-the-socket recording), the band winding up with a collection some are decrying as lacking in huge standout hooky anthems. But the academic-ness, the obvious high-minded love of guitar sculpture, makes up for this occasional talk of "no songs," United Abominations being a classy, provocative, musician's album that isn't hard on the ears either. This goes for Shawn's drumming as well, which is the beating heart of these songs. His live and lively playing is recorded and mixed beautifully by Dave and Andy Sneap, circa Nick Menza in that sweet spot between, again, Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction.