Dave Mustaine is a bit of a cunt. It is his biggest problem, but is also his best feature and my favourite thing about him. He is like a cartoon villain, constantly whining about Metallica, then saying how ‘over it’ he is and how he loves them all, before saying Lars is a rat faced little fuckrag that couldn’t drum his way out of a wet paper bag, or words to that effect. He had the all-time classic heel-turn of becoming a born-again Christian. He has given interviews about how awesome his new band line-up is, yet he is the only member of the band on the back cover of Endgame. He constantly winds people up and makes them angry, calling Kerry King a big fat shit head-tattooed inbred with gay sunglasses and no ability to play the guitar (or words to that effect) about 30 seconds before announcing a tour with Slayer. For the last decade and a half (at least), people could say that Dave Mustaine was all mouth and no trousers, but with Endgame he has now created and donned a large pair of solid gold trousers with ‘Suck ma plums’ embroidered on the crotch in neon lights.
Whether the back cover represents it or not, Endgame is made by the arrival of the master Chris Broderick on guitar, whose shredtacular talents have forced Mustaine raise his own game much like he did after Marty Friedman joined about 20 years ago. In fact, certain points on this album feel like Michael Angelo Batio, Rusty Cooley, Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert doing a full-tilt bukkake session on your face… and Mustaine is sneering about something in the background. That is a beautiful thing. While there are moments that it seems an overload of notes per second is about to occur, the solos are generally well thought out and tasteful, if you like the taste of guitar rape in your face that is.
If you can manage to put the massive levels of guitar pwnage to one side (unlikely), the album sounds bizarrely like a mixture of Killing Is My Business… and Youthanasia, seeing extremely old school riffs meeting with some thoroughly melodic choruses on many of the songs, though some have a crunchier, modern stomp that some die hard thrash fans might find slightly too reminiscent of shite bands like Devildriver. It’s a small complaint though when you weigh it up as a whole, considering the last couple of Megadeth albums have had more filler than a fleet of cement mixers. In fact, the more I think about it, even the perennially wanked-over Countdown to Extinction had some dodgy tunes on it, so Endgame comfortably slots into the top tier of Megadeth albums, which in turn places it many miles above generic dog shit like Arch Enemy that passes for ‘classic’ style modern metal.
If Mustaine can keep this line-up together (and get fucking Vic Rattlehead back on the front cover!) then I firmly believe that they can go on to leave attempts at proper singing and grooviness and make the true successor to Rust in Peace. For now though, everyone should be grateful that Dave has still got an album of this calibre in him and is still angry enough at everyone else in the world to want to prove it. If you can avoid looking with a rose tinted view of Megadeth past, Endgame should be hailed as a god-like slice of genius. This is a definite contender for album of the year.