Super Collider


Tradecraft / Universal, 2013

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


After four albums in a row that sounded like (a) they had all been recorded at the same time (spoiler: they weren’t), and (b) frontman Dave Mustaine was losing interest in the material at times, it would not be a stretch to suggest that Megadeth needed a change in direction.

Then came Super Collider, their 14th studio release—and fans and critics both collectively shit themselves with rage. They bemoaned the move away from the thrash sound that Megadeth had embraced again following their commercial period between Countdown To Extinction and Risk. The cries of “sellout” again echoed in the halls.

You wanna know something, though? Super Collider isn’t a perfect album by any means, but it also turned out to be a surprisingly good album, and was the creative kick in the ass that Mustaine and crew needed after putting out a few albums that, while listenable, were still relatively cookie-cutter.

Let’s get something out of the way right at the start. Yes, this is a slower-paced album than anything from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The World Needs A Hero on. But anyone who was accusing Mustaine and crew of trying to release a commercial album that would get them on the radio obviously wasn’t paying much attention, as I didn’t hear any songs that would have fit onto any format of commercial radio circa 2013 (or even today).

And anyone who thinks that Megadeth wasn’t as heavy as before because the tempos slowed down a bit need only listen to “Don’t Turn Your Back...” as proof that Mustaine and crew—the same lineup that recorded Th1rt3en—could still slam the listener’s head into the concrete and make them enjoy it. Drummer Shawn Drover’s double-bass work on this one sets the pace, and the rest of the band quickly follows suit.

Why do I believe this was the change of pace Mustaine needed to rekindle his interest in what he was recording? Simple: he sounds more engaged on tracks like “Built For War,” “Kingmaker” and the title track, even if he takes his vocals down an octave to a low growl. The man was in his early 50s, after all, and to expect him to continue a vocal howl like he had when he was 25 is simply impossible. However, the lower timbre of his vocals adds a sinister side to the music that, frankly, has been missing for some time (even if he doesn’t sound nearly as angry as he did on albums like United Abominations).

All of that said, not everything on Super Collider is perfect. It was indeed a stretch to perform a song with some Southern twang to it like Megadeth does on “The Blackest Crow”—and Megadeth is to be applauded for taking such a risk. But the final result falls short of the mark, and while it’s listenable, it’s not their best work. Similarly, “Dance In The Rain” almost underutilizes the guest vocals from Disturbed’s David Draiman… but perhaps I’d be complaining if they had him sharing the vocal duties with Mustaine, so that really is a can’t-win situation. Still, I can’t honestly say that Draiman adds anything special to the mix, and the song itself, while listenable, is somewhat forgettable.

The miscues, though, aren’t numerous, and Super Collider ends up being an overlooked gem in Megadeth’s discography. I can’t say I’d put it on the same pedestal as their classic albums, but it’s one I could easily see myself going back to more often than other discs they put out over the previous five years. It’s definitely a change of pace for Megadeth, but one that you might just enjoy.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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