These days, the Big 4 are usually in the music news for either joint festival appearances or controversy of some sort. Their music only gets covered with consistency if it’s inherently bad or long-awaited. There’s little appreciation for the consistency that one-quarter of the Big 4 exhibits. I am, of course, referring to Megadeth and the four great albums they’ve released since 2001. No disrespect to Slayer, whose three albums during that time were also good, but Megadeth is the one group among the Big 4 that has put out quality material on a regular basis this decade (emphasis here on the regular basis part). Today, they’re expanding on that streak, with their fifth album in ten years and thirteenth overall. Twenty-five years ago, who would have guessed that Dave Mustaine would be the one guitarist among the Big 4 to be maintaining his musical career in a positive, mostly drama-free way at this point? Virtually no one, I can assure you, and kudos to Mustaine for being at that stage of his life and career.
There are many other albums that will attract your attention today, most of which are quite good. A pair of great reissues, a much-hyped glam metal party fest, and a ground-pounding greatest hits collection from a group of hardcore veterans will keep your speakers fresh and loud. There is also one album that is…well, let’s just say that it’s appropriate for it to be released today, given what yesterday was. Let’s just leave it at that and dive into the list.
Megadeth, TH1RT3EN (Roadrunner)
The leet-speak title of the album aside, TH1RT3EN, is the closest that Megadeth has come to Rust in Peace or Countdown to Extinction in a long time. There is a lot of genuine thrash attitude on this record that will have old Megadeth fans rocking out like crazy, while teaching new fans where all the young thrash groups got their inspiration from. The fact that original bassist Dave Ellefson has returned to the lineup plays a big part in the strength of this album, and I join Megadeth fans everywhere in the hope that Ellefson’s tenure with the group continues uninterrupted from now on.
Steel Panther, Balls Out (Universal)
When Feel the Steel appeared two years ago, the writing was on the wall, and now it seems pretty obvious that glam metal is making a comeback. And while metal purists panned the album for taking their humorous attitude too far, other critics with an active sense of humor and just a casual appreciation for metal loved Steel Panther’s balls-out style (pardon the pun). Clearly the group is doing something right, when you consider the fact that Corey Taylor, M. Shadows, Scott Ian, Justin Hawkins, and Allison Robertson all appeared on Balls Out as guest performers. Although I have to say, I really hope the inspiration for the cover art wasn’t this…
Sick of it All, Nonstop (Century Media)
The list of New York Hardcore diehards is a list that could go on forever. I’m not talking about the fans, mind you, although that list also goes on forever. I’m talking about the BANDS, because there are so many that no one could hope to cover them all. Agnostic Front, Madball, Cro-Mags, Biohazard, 108, H2O…so many veteran groups have made lifetimes of a musical movement that is as lively and dominant as the region from whence it spawned. Sick of it All have been doing it with the most consistent lineup of anyone, having only made two lineup changes since they began. And on the wake of their 25th anniversary as a band, the group is celebrating with an album’s worth of re-recorded classics from their storied career. Seminal tracks like “Clobberin’ Time”, “Scratch the Surface”, “Ratpack”, “My Life”, and many more get new life on this face-ripping collection. A must-have for any Sick of it All or NYHC fan.
Slipknot, Iowa: 10th Anniversary Edition (Roadrunner)
Slipknot may be one of the founding nu-metal groups of the 1990s, but when Iowa arrived in 2001, it became clear that there was much more to the group than just more fusion of rap and metal. There was something evil about this record, and those that heard it recognized that evil from the first note to the last. Even a decade later, the madness that this record symbolizes is still obvious to those that listen to it, and its reputation among the nu-metal scene is unparalleled. This anniversary edition of Iowa gives fans new and exciting ways to celebrate this beastly record, with a live disc that features the audio from the “Disasterpieces” concert in London in 2002, and a DVD documentary on the making of the record. With Slipknot’s future still uncertain, this record will likely be required material for all self-stylized “Maggots” until that future is decided.
Lou Reed and Metallica, Lulu (Warner Bros.)
While I completely agree Bram and Zach’s opinions on the album, I’m not sure that I agree with the description of Lou Reed as Metallica’s mascot. If anything, he seems to be more of a cheerleader on this album. And now that I’ve introduced the revolting image of Lou Reed as a cheerleader into all of your minds, I will just say…Happy Halloween, readers!
Also being released this week:
Terror, Keepers of the Faith Special Edition (Century Media)
Krisiun, The Great Execution (Century Media)
Illogicist, The Unconsciousness of Living (Willowtip)
Vallenfyre, A Fragile King (Century Media)
Throne of Katarsis, Ved Graven (Candlelight)
Trillium, Alloy (Frontiers)
Next Week: It’s the week of the ridiculously heavy! Be ready to headbang along with some of the most intense hardcore, deathcore, and melodic death metal that you could ask for in a week! Be ready for anything!