MENZA - Life After Deth
March 31, 2002, 19 years ago
I feel bad for Nick Menza. I really do. After unceremoniously being booted out of Megadeth (depending on which story you believe, it was either a) because he couldn't fulfill tour obligations due to a tumour in his knee, or b) he was trying to write songs for Megadeth and that pissed Dave off), Nick has decided to venture out and release this debut release, Life After Deth, on his own Menza Music. Nick, in his infinite non-wisdom, hasn't put an actual band together like most other solo efforts have done in the past. Instead, he has decided to sing, play guitars, bass, keyboards and drums all on his own, as well as produce the record. So, what's Life After Deth all about? While Nick was an incredible force in Megadeth, his solo attempt is pathetic. There really is no other word for it. Menza has decided to all-out copy many elements of Megadeth (including the band's penchant for stealing other people's songs) on every track. Whether it's the drum intro to 'Take No Prisoners' being played backwards ('Life Back'), performing blatant copies of both 'A Secret Place' and 'Foreclosure Of A Dream' ('One Nation' and 'You Won't Forget Me'), or flat- out stealing the riffs from 'Mastermind' ('Mastervibe') or Metallica's 'Harvester Of Sorrow' ('Monstrous'), Life After Deth is an unoriginal mess from start to finish. Now, had Nick simply copied these tracks and played them ferociously, I might have been able to award points for performance. But, I can't. The "production" on this thing is despicable. Firstly, the sound levels go up and down from track to track. That's a major faux pas. Next, the drums (which sound like a drum machine) are mixed at the absolute front, while the guitars have no room to breathe. But that's alright, because the sad fact is that Nick cannot play the guitar. Finally, the vocals. They sound like a Mustaine rip-off from what I can hear, and they're mixed so low that they are barely audible. It's difficult to listen to this disc because it honestly sounds like the instruments are played randomly with no sense of coherence, time or even awareness of each other. Want proof? Try listening to 'Devices' without cringing in pain. I really feel bad for Nick and his Menza project because it's clear he's invested considerable amounts of his Megadeth money into a honorable medium: his music. But, please... this disc couldn't even pass for a garage-band demo. The bottom line is that there is absolutely nothing redeeming about Life After Deth. Nothing at all.