After starting a new period in their career with the excellent The System Has Failed album from 2004 and continuing in an upward trend of quality with 2007’s United Abominations and 2009’s much loved Endgame, expectations for this new album were very high indeed, it seemed as though the band just kept getting better and better.
2011’s Th1rt3en doesn’t entirely manage to live up to and eclipse the high standards set by that continuing rise in quality but is a solid and enjoyable modern album roughly in the same style that Megadeth fans should certainly enjoy, which delivers everything good that those albums delivered, even if it doesn’t feel as instantly loveable as some of their best records.
The material on the album isn’t all completely new and you may have heard some of it before in older forms if you are a big Megadeth fan. For example, the tracks ‘Sudden Death’ and ‘Black Swan’ have both been available for quite a while from separate releases, and the tracks ‘Millennium Of The Blind’ and ‘New World Order’ are remakes of classic 90s outtakes which many fans will likely have heard the original versions of at some stage.
The album also contains the singles ‘Never Dead,’ and ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ which if you have heard already should be indicative of the style and quality of the album as a whole. Elsewhere, ‘Who’s Life Is It Anyway’ and ‘Fast Lane’ maintain much of the sound from the band’s previous two albums and are all anyone could ask of a modern Megadeth release, whereas ‘Deadly Nightshade’ adds some variety to the mix with it distinct sound and brilliant 1990s sounding staccato mid-section.
Stylistically; the tracks, for the most part, are all brief and catchy, with high quality lead guitar work and an energetic chorus with either a relatively high pace throughout or mid paced verses that pick up the pace a bit for the guitar solos.
Whereas the band’s previous few albums had deliberately tried to incorporate more of the feeling of both Thrash Metal and the Countdown/Youthanasia style into the sound, this album finds the leaning more on their 90’s side and retaining the modern production and guitar focus, which has met with mixed reviews.
When you listen to it all and take it in properly it can either be viewed as Megadeth getting back to basics and delivering only the best bits, or if you are more cynical, as a mildly lazy album with no desire for progress just fulfilling their Roadrunner contract. Personally I believe it is the former, especially based on what Dave Ellefson has been saying about the record.
After the initial few listens just taking in the styles and the similarities and differences to previous Megadeth releases however, the album can grow on you a lot.
Overall; Th1rt3en isn’t the single greatest album in the entire Megadeth catalogue, but is definitely worth giving a try. There are enough good songs and interesting guitar moments to justify the purchase and make Th1rt3en an absolutely worthy addition to your collection, and if you liked their last few albums then you’ll probably like it a lot.