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Class 6(66)

Megadeth: Risk

21/05/10  ||  Smalley

Introduction

So, in a recent update thread, a couple of GD’ers argued that the Class6 format isn’t just for good albums, since, why else would it have the 1-to-10 rating system unless it was okay to add the bad shit as well? After all, GD’s most notorious review is a Class6 for an AWFUL album (I think you know what I’m talking about), and indeed, “Risk” is very shitty, and on about the same level as the disastrous glam metal of “Cold lake”, the crushing boredom of Blaze-era Iron Maiden, and even the all-around shitiness of “St. anger”. Yeah, I know this is my millionth fucken Megadeth review, but I’m delivering a warning to future generations here; this is important, dammit!!!

Anyway, like I said in the Fuck-Up’s list, Megadeth gradually got poppier and poppier throughout the 90’s, but it wasn’t until “Cryptic writings” that the sense that there was an impending major fuck-up appeared. Unfortunately, “Risk” was the exact fulfillment of that feeling, and Dave Mustaine should stop dissing Metallica 24/7, get down on his cocky, obnoxious Irish knees, and tongue bathe their shoes sparkly-clean for having released “St. anger”, which acted as a shield to absorb a lot of the metal-hate that would have (rightfully) gone towards this instead.

Songwriting

3.5. Inspired (if you can call it that) by Lars Ulrich’s comments that Megadave didn’t take enough “risks” with their/his music, Mustaine took the poppiness of “Cryptic writings” to its logical (but shitty) conclusion, greatly de-emphasizing the heaviness Megadeth was known for in favor of a “catchy”, predictable, rock/dance music hybrid, like on “Crush ‘em” (which Dave reportedly wrote to be played in fucken sports arenas ), as well as lame, easily-digestible radio rock ditties like “Wanderlust”, and the numerous attempts here to sound dark ‘n evil (“Prince of darkness”) come off as forced and phony.

“Cryptic writings” was barely even metal, so you know “Risk” sure as hell doesn’t qualify, and while it can be nice when a band evolves musically, some paths are just a bad fucken idea, period. “Risk”‘s songs are great for German Global Dominators who hab to like dance music (I think it’s a law over there, or at least I hope that’s the case), but as for moi, they don’t do jack shit. Anyway, I think that’s enough Kraut stereotypin’ for one review, eh?

Production

5. Everything sounds pretty slick here, especially the rhythm guitar, which was neutered of a lot of the bite it should’ve had (as was the bass), and while you can hear the occasional old-school, bad-ass ‘deth riff struggling to shine through, they still aren’t heavy enough, and such moments are few and fleeting anyway. The lead guitar sounds fine, if too twangy, but they recorded this in fucken Nashville after all, so that was pretty much unavoidable. As for the drums, the cymbal hits are too loud, and the snare sounds sterile and plastic.

Guitars

4. Besides the rhythm guitar having a too-soft, too-quiet sound because of the production, there’s a lot less riffing here as well, with the focus being shifted more towards the nonsense dance music effects. Besides that, the riffs are less intense, and just basically aren’t very good, unless you’re looking for Megadeth you can dance to instead of headbang (which I certainly wasn’t). As for the lead guitar, the solos are actually played pretty decently, but there aren’t many of them here, and what is here isn’t very complex, so you won’t remember any of them anyway. It’s a damn shame, considering how generally awesome the solos were on all the other ‘deth albums from the 90’s.

Vocals

4.5 Dave continues the trend started on “Youthanasia” of reigning back his vocal intensity, getting farther and farther away from his famous snarl, but what really hurts this section is the clusterfuck of useless, stupid distortion effects (those damn dance music influences again…), and those obnoxious gang vocal parts on Crush ‘em definitely don’t help things either. Besides that, there’s not much to say here, so don’t get mad at him when it’s on to tha the next one.

Bass

6. David Ellefson does manage to put in some decent, sinister-ish bass lines on “Risk”, but most of the time, his work just gets buried underneath all the other nonsense going on, and if all your album really succeeds at is decent bass lines, then you got problems.

Drums

4.5. Mustaine had just fired skilled skins-man Nick Menza while he was laid up in the hospital, and replaced him with some poor schmuck called Jimmy DeGrasso (and trust me, Dave’s used to replacing band members). DeGrasso’s drumming here is pretty stiff and repetitive, and a good deal of the time, just sounds like a drum machine (which I don’t believe was accidental), so yes, this is yet another aspect of “Risk” that fails.

Lyrics

4.5. Some of the lyrics are actually pretty bad-ass, and wouldn’t be out-of-place on any of the good Megadeth albums, but there’s at least as many here that are pretty lame, like on “Wanderlust”: “I’m an outcast/Riding into town alone/I got wanderlust/Branded deeper than the bone”. So, not only does the music of this song blatantly rip-off Bon Jovi’s “Dead or alive”, but even the lyrics do as well. Bleh!

Cover art

7. The image I uploaded up there isn’t the original cover , but that isn’t as interesting, so I choose not to rate it. While the bonus tracks edition cover I did choose is uglier, it does visualize the theme of the record better, which is, like the mouse who lacks the foresight to know he shouldn’t go for that trapped cheese, Mustaine lacked the foresight to know he shouldn’t have proceeded with this record in his annoying little Captain Ahab quest to show up his former band, even when he had already taken a fucken risk with Megadeth’s music, and also went on to just wuss out, and lay all the blame for this disaster on Marty Friedman.

Oh, and having Dr. Evil’s cat nearby was kind of a funny touch (meant to represent Mustaine’s warped, exaggerated view of Metallica, stalking his every move?), so combine that with the aforementioned theme-appropriateness, I actually kinda like this cover.

Logo

6. This is a dumb-ass thing to have to rate/write shit about.

Booklet

N/A. I only downloaded “Risk”, have never officially owned it, and probably never will. I bet it sucks too, though.

Overall and ending rant

If you thought “Cryptic writings” or
So far, so good… so what! “ were disappointments, then baby, you just ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Megadeth haven’t been able to recover their former glory ever since “Cryptic writings”, and “Risk” is easily the biggest nail in in their latter-day coffin. Mustaine better be damn thankful that his band made so much good shit from ’85-‘94 (besides the aforementioned “So far…”), since they’ll probably always be one of the better metal bands for those old records, at least, they will be for me. And remember: 3.5 ain’t on the outskirts of Shitsville, but already took up residence in the city limits, got a wife, and is currently trying to catch up with that bastard “St. anger” next door in terms of status symbols purchased, even though “Risk” will never make it to that level of shit.

3,5

  • Information
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Capitol
  • Website: Megadeth MySpace
  • Band
  • Dave Mustaine: lead vocals, guitar
  • Marty Friedman: guitar
  • David Ellefson: bass, backing vocals
  • Jimmy DeGrasso: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Insomnia
  • 02. Prince Of Darkness
  • 03. Enter The Arena
  • 04. Crush ‘Em
  • 05. Breadline
  • 06. The Doctor Is Calling
  • 07. I’ll Be There
  • 08. Wanderlust
  • 09. Ecstasy
  • 10. Seven
  • 11. Time: The Beginning
  • 12. Time: The End