“United Abominations” Megadeth Review

 “System Has Failed” was a tremendous album that followed the theme and style from “Peace Sells” & “Rust in Piece,” but the only flaw with “System Has Failed” is that there was a lack of imagination out of attacking US Politics. “United Abominations” however is everything that was good about their previous album and did a much better job with the creativity handled in this very album. While “System has Failed” focused on mocking US Politics, “United Abominations” instead just went with Dave Mustaine’s fantasy of attacking the US with a new country called the United Abominations. But big pro about Iron Maiden’s albums is that each time they use Eddie the Head, they change his look to fit their theme and Megadeth’s Vic Rattlehead hasn’t changed since “Peace Sell,” but 20 years later they finally changed Vic’s appearance and gave him flesh and is protected by a guardian/dark angel just for this new look for the album cover.
This is the album that critics called Megadeth’s “sound reborn” and it’s remembered as the best metal album of 2007 if not the best album of that year. Starting the track is “Sleepwalker” and already the creativity kicks in with all the problems that could happen once Dave closes his eyes and opening it with disaster surrounding him. But what’s surprising is that the guitar riffs are incredibly heavy that I kept imagining a machine gun firing rapidly that we almost can’t hear the drums and bass. When critics described United Abominations as “sound reborn” they weren’t kidding with this improved sound production that shows that this Megadeth album has entered a new era. It always give me a pleasurable feeling each time Dave sings “No one is safe…when I close my eyes…I come to take you alive.” Next we have “Washington is Next” and the machine-gun like riffs is reduced but it seem as if Dave wasn’t successful in getting US Politics attention with is last album and made this song to go straight out directly attack them. This is where they continue to make lyrics that deal with politics and the state the world is in, but unlike Megadeth’s other works, Dave wrote it like it was his last where he gave “Washington is Next” a apocalyptic feel to make fans appreciate it more. “Never Walk Alone…A Call to Arms” was a great transition to “Washington is Next” like it’s a message and their next song was like Washington responding “They want a war, we give them a war” and the whole album was a chaotic battle with soldiers who die if they’re alone. You can’t come in to this song expecting it to be similar to their other works that deals with war because of the new guitar sound quality have a clear difference. Now we get to the next song “United Abominations,” this song explains what the title and theme of the album is all about. It opens up with a weird recording playing giving the listener to envision of the UN and all the promises they’ve broken and this new UA is built for revenge. The lyrics aren’t anything new, but the guitar tricks and the new sound just keeps the album from that boring feel. And then our worst track of the album, “Gears of War,” let’s be honest here, this song was just made for the video game Gears of War and you should all know that I hate the series because it’s over-the-top & unoriginal concept of gore against aliens. The lyrics are just hennas and the guitar was uninspiring. To be honest, this album wouldn’t be hyped if it wasn’t for this song that commercialized Xbox 360 owners to increase the albums sales. It worked then, but now, how did the lasting impression seem to be so short lived? Again it’s uninspiring.

But things continue to pick itself up with the next track, “Blessed Are The Dead” and it’s amazing that the album jumps from the worst track bouncing to one of the best tracks. It does mock the people who died in war but at the same time you would want to think like that to the enemies you’ve killed. It’s a great song to listen to when you finally exact your vengeance and celebrate your victory. Next I love this following album “Pay For Blood,” which the lyrics are so interesting to listen to instead of the awesome guitar. It’s about attracting crowds if they want action & blood is the only payment as if you’re not coming back. But after two great tracks, we bounce back to a bad track and that is “A Tout Le Monde” Wait! Wasn’t this in Youthanasia? Yeah it was, but this remake just ruins the feel from the original because the new modern sound didn’t fit the structure of the song which eliminates the soul and kept ruining the song with the guest singer, Cristina Scabbia, who has no business being in this album, let alone anything with Medgadeth. I think another big reason why “United Abominations” is so commercialized is because of Gears of War and the remake of “A Tout Le Monde” to wet the beaks of fans that only are familiar with their older work to get into the album. The failure here is that it sounds mediocre. Now let’s bounce back to the good part of the album with “Amerikhastan.” If “United Abominations” is the UN turned evil, “Amerikhastan” is US turned terrorism. Creative move for a song that seeks imagination and I love how Dave picks the hypocrisies of US as them doing the same as terrorists. “You’re Dead” was a surprise return of an old song called “Wake Up Dead” from “Peace Sells” but a little too similar with the instrument notes and the lyrics that demands vengeance. Then finally our last track “Burnt Ice” I admit the lyrics doesn’t make any lick of a sense, but a good song with bad lyrics is without the music and Megadeth play their souls off of this song to display their skills.

At the end, “United Abominations” is remembered as one of the best albums of 2007 and 2007 was a huge year in music. Just check out any best of 2007 albums list and you can see so many albums that came out that year to be instant classics from LCD Soundsystem’s “Sound of Silver,” Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007,” Radiohead’s “In Rainbows,” Battle’s “Mirrors,” ect. With the exception of “Gears of War,” & “A Tout Le Monde”, Megadeth’s decision to use the new audio quality and display them off with highly skillful music-making was a wise one. I will however say that the regular copy is NOT enough because there’s one more track that they SHOULD have put in the regular copy of “United Abominations,” but is only exclusive for the pre-ordered copy is just one really, Really, REALLY great song; “Black Swan.” Even though all the songs in “United Abominations” is so heavy and nerve-wracking (in a good way) “Black Swan” was a step back to old sound and is completely creative with the songwriting. The instrument notes are slow-paced and the lyrics are so clear and depict the horrors of seeing an illusion of the black swan when the guardian angel left. Now before you call rip-off on Megadeth, I like to remind you that this song was made in 2007 and the Black Swan movie was released in theaters in 2010, so it should be the other way around. But I just love to finally hear Dave Mustaine sing lyrics of him (or someone) vulnerable being haunted by this Black Swan creature. It’s soulful, insightful, and so catchy that it has a better lasting impression than ALL the songs in “United Abominations,” and why was “Black Swan” not in the regular copy? I mean this song is so under the radar that it deserves to be in Megadeth’s Top 5 best songs ever! I don’t know, I’m upset that UA was great, but should have been better for just one song missing. Well, if you got the pre-ordered United Abominations, I consider yourself lucky, but for the rest of us, we had to wait till years later when it’s finally released in a hard copy in another album, “Th1rt3en”. Well, just UN alone, it was a great turn for the band and is remembered as the best metal album of 2007.

Track Highlights

  • Black Swan (GOD DAMN IT!)
  • Sleepwalker
  • Blessed Are the Dead

The Top Lister’s album score (for the Pre-Ordered Copy)  –  5 / 5