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19.10.11

Megadeth - 'Th1rt3en' (roadrunner) 4.5/5

What is there to say when introducing Megadeth that's not been said a thousand times already? From Dave Mustanes sacking from an embryonic Metallica, via various run ins with other acts such as Suicidal Tendencies and Pantera, a massive foot in mouth incident that lead to terrorist death threats, MTV bans, near career ending nerve damage, internal disputes and court cases, battles with drug and alcohol abuse right through to Mr Mustanes getting religion and being 'reborn' as one of the golden greats of metal; it is indeed the stuff of legends. So now we have reached studio album number thirteen from Dave and the boys, and the next chapter in the high history of Megadeth is being penned.

So is the story still worth reading? Well I will be honest and declare from the off that out of the 'big-four' Megadeth have always been the act that has held my attention. I never really got Anthrax, Slayer were ok, but never really rang my bell that much and personally I thought Metallica died along with Cliff Burton. But Megadeth were always an act that delivered the goods more or less, OK there have been a couple albums, such as Youthanasia, where I felt they weren't quite on form, but over all I've liked most of their output. And I am glad to say that in my opinion Th1rt3en keeps the side up and doesn't disappoint.

There are no real surprises on offer here, the band haven't suddenly decided to go SKA-core or Happy House, this album is thirteen prime cuts of pure old school 'deth that keeps the spirit of all those classic from the past well and truly alive and kicking. Slip the disc into the player and you get 20 seconds gratuitous trem abuse and another 30 seconds of some gloriously over the top solo guitar masturbation before the main track Sudden Death kicks in, all dagga-dagga riffs  with some typical Dave Mustane snarled vocal that is a joy on the ears. And that sets the stage for the rest of the album, which is pretty much more of the same.

If your familiar with Megadeth you know exactly what I mean, Megadeth are a band who have a tried and trusted formula and can still work well within that framework. Mr Mustane is still grinding axes against the system, still writing killer riffs and still shredding like a jilted mistress in the wardrobe of her ex-lover. All really good stuff.

If on the other hand you are unfamiliar with their trade mark sound and approach ..GO HANG YOUR HEAD IN SHAME YOUR A DISGRACE TO THE WORLD OF METAL FANDOM.

Of the tracks on offer there really isn't a weak moment on offer. My personal fave cuts are the dark and moody Millennium of The Blind, the groove fueled headbang of Deadly Nightshade, the gloriously angry sneer of Drugs, Guns And Money, the viciously satirical We The People.... in fact as I said before every tracks a winner here, not a single weak moment on show at all.

In short Megadeth are already a band of legend, and this latest album is another worthy chapter to the saga, and long may the tale continue. A must have if ever there was.

For fans of... Rock gods, metal mythology and the all time greats

Uneven Structure - 'Februus' (basick records) 3.5/5

It's strange, only a few weeks ago I was saying how I rarely get much French music through my inbox, since then I've had new albums from Glorior Belli, The Crooked Axis and now this one from Uneven Structures. Apparently they are from Metz  and have previously put out an ep prior to this their full length debut

Now I'll be honest and say this one has me stumped. I'm not sure if this one of the greatest things I've ever heard or the biggest musical car crash of all time. Style wise it is an eclectic blend, Meshuggah style death metal, Tangerine Dream or Goblin style ambient trip, King Crimson progressive complexity, Pink Floyd-u-like urgency, even hints of Sky's post classical stylings... its all in here, more often than not at the same time and the end result is certainly interesting if not compelling.

The upside is that Uneven Structures do have something verging on unique going on here, there are some very impressive musical soundscapes. Tracks like Exmersion, Buds and to be honest the whole damn album are well penned and produced and expertly performed. The tracks flow seamlessly together giving the whole work a full blown concept album feel that makes for a good entertaining listen.

The downside is that the whole work comes over a tad confused and a little messy on the ears and a bit lacking in dynamics. The death metal sections come over very tame indeed. After all death metal is supposed to bludgeon and kill, but on this one the deathisms are as menacing as a fluffy kitten with a water pistol. And the chilled out ambient moments strike you as being very restless, like trying to chill out in a bed that has been filled with toast crumbs. The end result is an album that promises much and should be a real roller coaster ride of sounds and emotions ends up less of a roller coaster and more of a local commuter train. Compare this album to Fornost Arnors recent 'Death Of A Rose' opus, and you soon see not only what this album could have been, but also how far short of the mark it falls.

Having said all that after a couple of play throughs it is growing on me slowly, and I'm sure after living with it for a few months I'll be really liking this one. Basically my jury is still out, but don't let that put you off giving it a go.

For fans of... Spires, Fornost Arnor, Fortune Favours The Brave,