Blogger and Writer Phillyrockradio.com
Of course, every metal fan knows Chris Adler as he has been one of the mainstays for the world renowned metal band Lamb of God. However; when fans heard the name Kiko Loureiro they were like...Huh, who??? Well, after the release of Dystopia, these people are not saying who anymore but WOW! That's right, Kiko is spot on throughout this entire record and you can actually feel the energy that this talented musician brings to the table. For those who are not familiar with Kiko, he played lead, rhythm, and classical guitar along with keyboards for the Brazilian metal group ANGRA. They are a very popular band that plays in Japan and Europe.
Well, leave it to Dave Mustaine to always find the best of the best when it comes to guitar players. Dave reminds me of Ozzy in that respect as Ozzy always had the best guitarists to showcase during record after record. Many critics argue that Dave is stubborn and rigid and that he creates his own chaos. Although this may be true, Mustaine always seems to make the right decision on picking up the pieces and moving forward. The same can be said in his personal life as evidenced by his struggles with addiction and childhood trauma. Needless to say, Dave has hit a home run on this new album.
Dystopia is Megadeth's fifteenth studio album and this record was produced by Dave Mustaine along with Chris Rakestraw. The album has achieved success on both the international and domestic levels. It charted in the Top 10 in a dozen countries and was #3 on the US Billboard Top 200. The album sold over 49,000 copies during the first week. This also marked the second highest chart position in the United States for an album after "Countdown to Extinction", which placed #2 in 1992. So through all of the constant turmoil that Mustaine seems to endure, he always seems to have a recipe for success. The band endured a departure of two key parts of the band, swirling rumors of a reunion with former members Marty Friedman and Nick Menza, and even a rumor that Megadeth may completely disband while they were still able to execute a successful record.
First of all, the album is tight and to the point at 46:51 minutes in length. Dystopia also moved away from the radio oriented sound of the previous album and back to the traditional thrash sound of the classical Megadeth era. In fact, the entire music and stylistic approach of the album is heavier and tighter than any of their more recent material. Dave has also claimed that some of the songwriting was influenced by his guest performance with the San Diego Symphony back in 2014. Needless to say, the addition of Kiko not only added talent and depth at guitar, but also to the entire music component. Kiko can play keyboard and piano which you can hear on "Poisonous Shadows."
The album begins with the hit single "The Threat is Real" and the listener is immediately treated to a beginning multiple solo intro before the song goes into the first verse. In typical Megadeth fashion, the entire song is full of stellar guitar playing by both Dave and Kiko. The album then continues with the title track "Dystopia" which is an onslaught of classical "Rust in Peace" type of Megadeth riffs. The definition of Dystopia is an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, like a totalitarian or environmental society. The videos for "Dystopia" and "The Threat is Real" are both done with virtual reality technology. The entire album is full of spark and the tracks are above average to stellar from top to bottom.
The artwork and cover of the album are well done. The bands mascot, Vic Rattlehead is depicted in robot form. This is the first true frontal picture of Vic on any artwork of a Megadeth album since "The System Has Failed" even though Vic was pictured backwards on Thirteen. The mascot also shows up throughout both videos that have been released thus far. The rest of the artwork is impecable as you would expect from any piece of work produced by Dave Mustaine who is always Mr. Perfectionist. The lyrics are masterful as well as powerful; however, some of the lyrics have been criticized because they portray "offensive politics" and "islamophobia" which are both part of Dave's repertoire. Needless to say, Dystopia puts Megadeth back on the map. I would definitely recommend everyone to make this album the next addition to their collection.
1) The Threat is Real *****
3) Fatal Illusion
4) Death From Within
5) Bullet to the Brain
6) Post American World
7) Poisonous Shadows
8) Conquer or Die
9) Lying In State
10) The Emporer
11) Foreign Policy (Fear Cover)