By Ellen Eldridge
Leave it to me to completely miss the countdown, slow stream of singles and sneak peaks leading to one of my favorite bands’ 14th album, Super Collider. I had seen flashes of criticisms and the typical call outs “MegaDave” on Facebook, but as I powered through the laundry list of things in my life, I just ignored the usual hyped-up hate. Megadeth founder and front man, Dave Mustaine, gets harsh backlash almost anytime he says or does anything.
I’ve long believed that—guess what—Mustaine is just a man; a human who makes mistakes and changes his mind about everything from the direction to comb his hair to a controversial political debate. He has every right to voice his opinions and even more right to change them, change and ultimately grow.
Super Collider, released on Mustaine’s own label Tradecraft and released through Universal Records, pulls away demonstratively from the balls-to-the-wall thrash as soon as “Kingmaker” shows its pop melodies, which Megadeth showed the world last month (at least those who were paying attention). So, this release shouldn’t have surprised too many megafans with its changes. We were warned.
Since the days of high school drama, I’ve always held a fear of being exposed as a “poser” not because I really need to seek approval from the masses, but because I fear contradicting myself or being called out for insincerity. Well, I’m ready to admit that I have often needed a few complete revolutions to get into Megadeth albums.
Endgame released in 2009, showcasing the skill and passion of lead guitarist Chris Broderick; an album full of high-powered riffs and intricate solos categorized by its single, “Head Crusher.” Seriously, what could be more metal than a song called “Head Crusher”?
Megadeth followed up strongly in the thrash vein with 2011’s Th1rt3en. As I stated in my review, it took some getting used to. Maybe I’m not the right kind of fan in some people’s eyes but I’m confident to know what I like and I can usually extrapolate why I like something.
Super Collider won my affection with its title track, more melodic and toned down some may say, but I believe this is the perfect direction for Megadeth. I really wasn’t that excited for another balls-out thrash album rehashing what had already been done so well. Maybe that’s why the announcement of this release got by me until last minute.
“I’ve got a sickly feeling, my life is standing still” in the third track, “Burn,” sums up the sentiment of Super Collider : this is the 14th album in a decades-long career by one of the most influential thrash metal bands. One of “The Big 4,” Megadeth has earned its right to take off in new directions and try to please its members as much as their fans—new and old. Innovation truly is the key to moving forward and staying inspired. When you’re playing just to pay the bills, you get burned out. “Burn” contains an element of risk (ha ha) that screams in its lyrics to the danger that brings us closer to enlightenment.
Broderick gets writer credits on two tracks and David Draiman (Disturbed, Device) lends his voice to “Dance in the Rain” and “Forget to Remember,” which is one of my personal favorites on the album.
As a longtime fan of Megadeth and a “MegaDave” supporter/commiserator I will continue listening to Super Collider and reevaluating my opinion in light of every new experience and every rehashed album by bands who should just end their careers if they don’t plan to move forward. In moving forward, the band still takes a look behind by closing the album with a Mustaine-styled version of Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat.” Megadeth’s skill exudes in this cover; I mean, did you ever have any doubt these boys could play? Let them do what they do best and trust in the direction because Megadeth is moving forward, not standing still.