"United Abominations" is an album that throws back to the sound and energy of classic albums. With songs like "Washington Is Next!" and "Amerikhastan" it is a commentary on today's tumultuous world and the United Nations.
Nearly 25 years after its formation, Megadeth is making its most brilliant work, a feat that some acts find unthinkable––maybe impossible––after half that time. When Mustaine sings about politics it's never in the abstract, faraway sense; his lyrics are riddled with references to the here and now––the boundaries and bombs that make the threat of war––or the threat of doom–– real. So it's no real surprise that this release features lyrics liberally peppered with references to Afghanistan, 9/11, NATO and the like. Of course, no one buys a record or a ticket to a show specifically to hear five-minute polemics and that's where Mustaine's real talent––a talent for creating ear-perking riffs and solid, carefully constructed songs––comes in. The album may require that you read the newspaper on a regular basis but it also allows you to let loose with abandon and excitement. "Never Alone... a Call to Arms," "Gears of War" and "Play for Blood" are remarkable because they recall the classic metal of Judas Priest, Diamond Head, and the like and prove that there's nothing quite like an overdriven boogie-based riff to excite the most primitive impulses in the listener. Mustaine makes a bid for commercial radio by revisiting Youthanasia's "A Tout Le Monde (Set Me Free)" with Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia. It's his most emotionally honest vocal performance to date and one that will no doubt finally earn him wider critical recognition. ––Jedd Beaudoin
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