MEGADETH - The World Needs A Hero
April 16, 2001, 18 years ago
All metallic ears (ok, most anyway) are currently tuned in to this, Megadeth's latest album, and first non-major label release since their debut, 16 years ago. There's tons of talk of getting back to their thrash roots on this one, after the brutal Risk mistake and the mellower but still enjoyable modern metal/heavy rock of the previous two releases. You know what though, this ain't thrash. I'm not just being a snobby old school purist either, and I'm not saying this is a bad album, but all the talk of it being a return the 'deth of old is a lot of bollocks. The World Needs A Hero is not unlike Youthanasia or a lesser Countdown To Extinction (way lesser): smart, modern and commercial metal. The songs are well-written, sometimes with predictable radio-ready song structures, sometimes with neat ideas that catch you off guard. Mustaine is in prime form, alternately amusing ('Moto Psycho', just for the Muir-ish song title alone), intriguing ('Disconnect', 'When') and annoying (check out the totally middle-school spoken segments in '1000 Times Goodbye', but just make sure no one is around or else you're gonna be feeling really goofy). 'Return to Hangar' is noteworthy, as it is a lyrical and musical reprise of classic Mega-tune 'Hangar 18', and it actually sort of works. 'Silent Scorn' is a spine-tingling brief instrumental, and 'Dread And The Fugitive Mind' would have sounded at home on Countdown To Extinction. 'Recipe For Hate... Warhorse' is probably the album's most intense moment, a creepy tech-emo-metal song that turns into a nice thrasher. Most of the songs cruise along at a comfortable mid-tempo groove, occasionally slipping into a welcome but brief technical thrash excursion or a less welcome ballad-y segment, which the guys pull off with moderate success. Great production, stupid artwork, yes it's way better than anything perma-rivals Metallica have done in years and, yes, the band sounds just fine without Friedman and Menza. However, as enjoyable a listen as it is, do the songs really have the staying power Megadeth is capable of or will it go the way of their last few? Mustaine has been quoted as saying if this record doesn't do well for the band they'll call it quits (sounds like he's really, uh, playing music for the right reasons). What the hell, help the poor guy out and buy a copy, as it's better than most of the crud out there these days.