Few bands can say that their 15th studio album became an instant classic, but that seems to be what’s happening with Megadeth and Dystopia. It’s hard to nail down where this release’s inspirational fuel came from. It could have been the fan backlash to the much more “hard rock” sounding previous album Super Collider, or the fresh blood provided by new drummer Chris Adler and guitarist Kiko Loureiro, but Dystopia seems to have somehow combined the songwriting sensibilities of Countdown to Extinction with the brutal heaviness and thrashing power of Rust in Peace, while adding an ever-so-slightly progressive edge.
The 11 track release delivers song after song of the signature blend of crushing yet melodic thrash that Megadeth is known and loved for. All the ingredients are there. Dave Mustaine spits and snarls his lyrics charged with political anger and social injustice. New axeman Loureiro delivers the blistering lead work that Megadeth fans demand, while bringing his own sound and style and setting himself apart from the other shredders that have come before him. Chris Adler brings the aggression needed to support these heavier songs and adds a slightly more progressive edge to the music that may have been absent on previous releases. Adler together with ‘deth veteran Dave Ellefson on bass clear the path for Megadeth’s steel wheels of crushing thrash metal destruction to roll forward.
The fact that this new 2016 album lands in the 4th decade of Megadeth’s career makes Dystopia almost unbelievable. As cliché as it sounds, it’s hard to pick out favorite tracks but standouts include, “The Threat is Real”, title track “Dystopia”, “Post American World” and “Poisonous Shadows”.