Megadeth return with their 11th album, United Abominations, which sees them sticking with the old style they returned to with 2004’s The System Has Failed. But with a frankly shoddy grasp of international relations, has the fifth member of Metallica failed to live up to even his second rate standards?
It starts with the artwork. Call me hyper sensitive, but I would argue the world has seen enough of flaming missile holes through skyscrapers in the past few years. Ok, so it’s only an apocalyptic vision of the future, I can deal with that. But when the title track harangues the UN for apathy, ineffectiveness and not investigating claims of sex attacks by its own troops, it seems just a tad invalid coming from a proud American whose government has withdrawn its support for the International Criminal Court which exists to deal with exactly such issues.
“The UN was asked to asked to join the war in Iraq; the US invaded, there was UN.” Uh, well yes Dave that’s because the ‘invasion’ was illegal even by your own nation’s standards. The tragic beauty of democracy is that you can’t always have things your own way. It all rings a little hollow to hear songs about how futile the United Nations is when it’s the US that vetoed Security Council resolutions against nations who happen to slaughter innocent civilians in Palestine rather than Iraq.
So if you’re pissed off with the UN and its apparent apathy Mr Mustaine, that’s fine. But if you’re going to attack anyone over the its inadequacies; do your homework and realise the Number 1 Devil’s advocate at the UN’s table has the Stars and Stripes pinned boldly to his chest. Aggressive and violent but directed anger is something this band have done so well before (Peace Sells, Holy Wars) and it’s a shame that they’ve digressed to Fox News levels of cynical political infancy.
Aside from the atrocious political misgivings, this is for the most part a mighty good selection of Megadeth tracks. The solos are bountiful and blistering and the melodies are of anthemic status. Even the re-recorded balled A Tout Le Monde far out classes its original, thanks in part to the sweet tones of Lacuna Coil’s Christina Scabbia.
Oh but wait, Dave gets all System Of A Down on us again with Amerikhastan (do you see what he’s done there? He’s joined up the words America and the generic ending of an Asian county as part of a very clever social observation; witty man). Unsurprisingly we witness more unenlightened drivel surmising that terrorists are by default uneducated individuals, and should be stopped by sending in the likes of the Israeli secret service. Meanwhile the tongue in cheek one liner “Hey Jihad Joe, we’re coming to get you!” will no doubt serve plenty of US marines with a pumping soundtrack to their trigger happy antics in the Middle East. Cheers Dave.
If you are someone who doesn’t give a second thought to what’s being sung over your metallic grooves, you should. But, if you don’t then you’ll probably love this album. Heck, I hope I’ve misinterpreted every line and that this album contains more provocative antiwar sentiment than Machine Head‘s recent return to form. Sadly though, I suspect it might just be a great musician who’s written some not so great songs with lyrical efforts much akin to the soft, warm brown matter that is secreted from the rear of cattle worldwide.