Throwback Album of The Week is posted every Wednesday
For last week’s Throwback review I looked at the universally hated St. Anger by Metallica; this week we are looking at the biggest flop by fellow Big 4 band Megadeth. While Metallica’s worst effort was due largely to under production and being extremely un refined, Megadeth’s worst album kind of had the opposite problem. Megadeth’s 1999 album Risk strayed far too close to mainstream rock, mixing in a lot of Alternative Rock and Industrial elements that made a lot of Megadeth fans very angry. Dave Mustaine has said before he believes if the album had not had the Megadeth name on it, it would have been a huge success; today I aim to put that to the test.
As I have never really been a huge Megadeth fan I feel that I can be impartial in looking at this album as it’s own entity. Honestly I kind of see what Mustaine meant, listening to the first couple of tracks it doesn’t really sound bad so much as weird. The first track Insomnia has a definite Nine Inch Nails sound to it, with some driving synths under some downright nasty sounding guitars. The thing that will sound familiar to Megadeth fans here is Marty Friedman’s epic guitar solo on the bridge of this song.
Moving on to Prince of Darkness I’m seeing a very specific style for this album, kind of a blend of old school Metal and 90’s Industrial. Prince of Darkness is really close to Insomnia in style, but as the album goes on tracks start to feel more Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden influenced. One track in particular sounds like it draws heavy influence from a particular Thrash Metal band by the name of Metallica. I’m honestly surprised no one has brought this up before but The Doctor Is Calling main riff sounds extremely similar to Metallica’s One. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s kind of shocking that as petty as Metallica fans can be that no one brought this up.
Honestly though, I kind of dig parts of this album. Not going to try and say this album isn’t still pretty bad, but it’s nowhere near as bad St. Anger. The biggest issues on this album is that this style isn’t Megadeth, it feels like a half hearted attempt to sell out by incorporating popular elements such as Industrial and Alternative Rock without going full bore into those genres. On top of that, a lot of the lyrics and deliveries on this album are really cheesy without the full bore Metal attitude that would normally cover that up.
For comparison to Metallica I’d say this is better than St. Anger but worse than Load and ReLoad, mostly because Metallica went a little more hardcore when it came to jumping around new genres and ideas on Load and ReLoad. So I’d say Risk would have been an average album by anybody else, but from Megadeth it’s confusing and kind of disappointing.
Album on Google Play
Album on ITunes
Album on Amazon