United Abominations


Roadrunner, 2007


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If there were any doubts that Megadeth was back—and was more deeply following their thrash metal roots—then United Abominations, their 11th studio effort (and first for Roadrunner) erased those doubts.

Make no mistake, Dave Mustaine had learned much from the days of Megadeth’s music sounding more commercial. If anything, that time had helped him craft songs that were melodic, but powerful as well. His vocal sneer proved that Mustaine the pundit was pissed off again at the state of the world, and was ready to convey those thoughts through Megadeth’s music.

While a good effort overall, United Abominations proves to be a bit disappointing in that, like many of Megadeth’s albums past their glory period of the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, the music tends not to be as memorable in the long run.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Things get off to a perfect start with the one-two punch of “Sleepwalker” and “Washington Is Next!,” two tracks that do have the ability to stay with the listener long after the songs fade from the speakers. The constant attack of triplets from the rhythm section—Mustaine, guitarist Glen Drover, bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Shawn Drover—along with the surprisingly effective plan of using lyrics that don’t rhyme—push “Sleepwalker” to being one of the best songs that Megadeth has recorded in a long time. “Washington Is Next!” isn’t quite as strong in comparison, but remains a powerful statement nonetheless. Throw the title track into the mix, and of the first four songs, Megadeth hits home runs with three of them.

This, unfortunately, is where United Abominations falters a bit. Of the remaining eight tracks, precious few have the hooks to capture the listener in the same way that these three songs do. By no means does this suggest that tracks like “Amerikhastan,” “Burnt Ice” or “Pray For Blood” are bad songs. But when compared to the powerhouses on the album, they just don’t stand up as well.

And then, there is the one questionable move—did we really need a re-recording of “A Tout Le Monde” (this one featuring guest vocalist Cristina Scabbia)? What about the version on Youthanasia suggested the original wasn’t as good as it could have been? It just seemed unnecessary to tread the same paths they walked 13 years prior, when there was nothing wrong with the original take.

Make no mistake, United Abominations was a slight step above their previous effort The System Has Failed, if solely for the sheer power and anger that Megadeth brought to the table this time around. But Mustaine and crew seemed to still be searching for the magic potion that made albums like So Far, So Good… So What! and Rust In Peace stand out as classics in the genre. They got a little bit closer to the target with this one, but there was more work to be done.

Rating: B-

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