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Megadeth: Endgame (remaster + bonus track)

It always feels a little strange to assess the musical worth of an album when the main person behind it has much bigger issues on their plate, and with his recent throat cancer diagnosis, it’s fair to suggest that Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine has much more to focus on right now than whether I rate his Endgame album and my thoughts are with him as he fights to return to full health. Reissue campaigns are, however, long in the planning, so there’s little doubt that the timing of this three album retrospective of the band’s Roadrunner years is nothing more than coincidental.

Although Mustaine had made a lot of the sibling chemistry of the Drover brothers and the legendary bass work from James Lomenzo for his band’s 2007 United Abominations album, two years down the line it was guitarist Chris Broderick (Jag Panzer, Nevermore, Act Of Defiance) who was standing alongside Megadeth’s mainman for the Endgame album. To be fair, and rather unusually for this band, the rest of the line-up (Shawn Drover (drums), Lomenzo (bass)) remained, as they delivered an album that often splits the opinion of their followers. Many see Endgame as a serious, proper return to the band’s Peace Sells…/Rust In Peace… roots, while an equal amount feel that as an album it’s all too formulaic and reliant on the ‘verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure’ to get its message across. The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between, with Endgame never reaching the heady heights of this outfit’s true purple patch, while anyone wondering why Mustaine was writing choruses people could sing along to hadn’t been paying attention as he had built his reputation.

Broderick was an able addition to the band, expertly steering the songs alongside Mustaine’s succinct six-string machinations as the full, rich yet powerful Mustaine/Andy Sneap production constructed a solid wall of noise that still possessed a host of subtle nuances. Even when they weren’t firing on all cylinders Megadeth always knew how to structure an album and with the explosive instrumental howl of “Dialectic Chaos” giving way to “This Day We Fight!”, hitting the floor at full pelt was once again assured. Things remain just as potent as we dig deeper, with the slow grind of “44 Minutes” faring well when cranked at volume, whereas the more pointed “1,320” really shows off the twin axe attack.

To be fair the recipe doesn’t change much from there but then neither does the energy with which it’s all delivered, allowing “Bodies” to truly hark back to the band’s early days, while “Head Crusher” sits in that staccato situation that always served Megadeth so well. Personally I could live without the strings and atmosphere of “The Hardest Part Of Letting Go… Sealed With A Kiss”, which feels a little ‘written to order’, but “The Right To Go Insane” tightens the nut considerably as the album’s original closer. Here we then get a live version of United Abominations cut “Washington Is Next!” by way of bonus and while it does change the focus from what’s come before, it is a storming version of a good song.

As with all three reissues in this campaign (United Abominations, Endgame and Th1rt3en) there are both vinyl and CD versions available and, as with United…, it’s the vinyl that shines both in presentation and indeed in its fuller bodied sound. The CD still does a great job of conveying the message of an album that seldom fires far from its mark but the vinyl seems to add another aspect that brings things even more readily to life and comes highly recommended. Out of Megadeth’s three Roadrunner albums, for me Endgame is head and shoulders above the other two in terms of class and quality, but other opinions vary wildly!

Track Listing
1. Dialectic Chaos
2. This Day We Fight!
3. 44 Minutes
4. 1,320’
5. Bite the Hand
6. Bodies
7. Endgame
8. The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed with a Kiss
9. Head Crusher
10. How the Story Ends
11. The Right to Go Insane
CD Bonus Track
12. Washington Is Next (live)

Added: July 19th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Megadeth online
Hits: 1213
Language: english

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