With only a year-and-a-half gap since their previous album “Th1rt3en” it would seem that Megadeth are on something of a creative roll, which isn’t really that unusual as frontman Dave Mustaine is a man with a lot to say. Having brought back the intensity for 2006’s “United Abominations” and 2009’s “Endgame”, “Th1rt3en” was something of a step back – a metaphorical taking the foot off the pedal, if you will – and whilst it had its moments, those moments were few and far between and the album generally edged towards the hard rock side of Megadeth’s sound.
Which makes “Super Collider” something of a curiosity as, like its predecessor, it can hardly be called a thrash metal album in terms of its songwriting style but it does improve over “Th1rt3en” by having a tighter production that is at least looking towards those more aggressive albums, if not fully embracing them. Opening track ‘Kingmaker’ has been floating around on the internet for a couple of weeks and, whilst it has a little of that classic Megadeth punch to it, it’s fairly forgettable for a Megadeth album opener.
Something that is rectified for the title track that follows, as Mustaine and co. return to catchy FM rock radio territory with a lightweight and very melodic chorus. To be fair, it isn’t totally terrible but a singer with a smoother voice might have given it the chops it needs to really get those Radio 2 listeners forgetting all about Keane and Coldplay and switching to Megadeth.
Which isn’t likely, as the dark growling and tempo changes of ‘Dancing in the Rain’ and the double-kick drums on ‘Built for War’ and ‘Don’t Turn Your Back’ still have enough of that metal bite to frighten off casual punters but without a sold centrepiece or a single killer track the album as a whole falls short of what we should be expecting from Megadeth, particularly given the form they have shown since reforming back in 2004. They still sound as awesome as they always have in the studio and “Super Collider” as a whole is a good-but-not-great album but the technical wizardry that was all over “Endgame” has been replaced by big choruses and a simplistic approach to the riffing that, if they’re not careful, was what led them down the road to “Risk” back in the 90’s, and we don’t want to go there again, do we?