Megadeth - United Abominations(Reissue) [BMG - 2019]
Originally released back in 2007 United Abominations was the 11th album from Megadeth- it saw the band offering up a blend of old school thrash riff craft, with the more harmonic leaning metal they had focused on in the previous few years. Itís enjoyable, if at times a little uneven ride, which tries to balance the bands key sounds into a heady union. Here on BMG is a recent reissue of the album, and this is the first in the series of reissues of early 2000ís Megadeth releases- offering up either CD or Vinyl versions of the album.
The new reissue has been fully remastered by producer Ted Jensen (Guns Ní Roses, Mastodon, Machine Head, and Trivium)- and this gives the eleven track album a good, balanced enough, and punchy mix- though at times itís does highlight the at times precarious balance between Thrash & more melodic metal elements. The reissue also features a bonus cut- "Out on the Tiles," the bands cover of a Led Zeppelin track
The reissue appears as either CD or Vinyl release- the CD is presented in the form of a glossy digipak, with color sixteen-page booklet- this takes in full lyrics, line-up pictures, and full credits. There are seemingly no new linear notes, as far as I can see- but it looks fine enough. The vinyl, here available for the first time in 12 years- features 180G black vinyl- this is presented in a gatefold sleeve which nicely reproduces the albums fairy detailed artwork, which revolves around a modern take on the three horsemen of the apocalypse, a female angle, bloody & dead politicians, a cut skull more humanoid presentation of Vic Rattlehead, and lots of explosions.
The album opens with "Sleepwalker"- which starts out with acoustic guitars, rising strings, and the suddenly chugging Ďní bouncing riff craft. The main riff is a meaty enough, though a little predictable, but Iím less keen on the chorus which finds clean guitar & harmonizing vocals- itís an ok start, though Unfortunately the theme brought to mind Metallica's "Enter Sandman"( sorry guys), and the rising & swirling harmonies rather lessen its impact. Things start to hot up with the next two tracks- we have "Washington Is Next", and "Never Walk Alone.. A Call To Arms"- the first track features a classic building-to-galloping Megadeth riff, with some effective guitar harmonics & Mr. Mustaine in fine snarling-yet- slightly harmonizing form. The second track kicks straight in with prime thrash riffing, before fairly soon sliding into more harmonic-but- still heavy chorus- the whole thing brought to mind a more pump-up & riff bound take on "In My Darkest Hour". These tracks really show the album at itís best.
After this we have the title track, which starts off with moody tolling & reverbing clean guitar tones, these are fairly shortly added to by a ranting/ if buried spoken word element. When it fully kicks in, it feels a bit too safe & slightly awkward in its blend of semi trashing, & more plain metal riffing. The meatier & mean Megadeth reappears effectively with track number ten ďYour DeadĒ- with itís slipping Ďní sliding chug craft, great guitar licks, and Mustaine spitting out Ďone day I dance on your grave, even if you're not buriedí. The final track "Black Ice" tries to bring together sassy blues-tinged metal craft, slight Thrash touches, with sail & wail guitar atmospheric- itís ok, but once again slightly uneven- and certainly not the best album outro track the band has done. The bonus track a cover of Led Zepplin's "Out On The Tiles", which originally appeared on the 1970s Led Zepplin 2 album- itís ok as covers go, with it having it enough Megadeth-ness about it to make it worthy. On the whole United Abominations is an interesting attempt at blending together different elements of the bands sound, and for the most part, itís listenable enough- and itís certainly more consistent, risk-taking & worthy that much of the output released by the big four of thrash in the early 2000s.
So in finishing, itís great to have United Abominations back in print once more- so it can now be appreciated in the bands wider catalog after it's prior releases. The album certainly hints at what would occur on the bands wholly solid comeback, and their presently last album 2016ís Dystopia- but it stands well on its own too.