There are two types of metal fans in the world: Those who like Megadeth and those who don't. Ok, that's a generalisation, but it works for the purposes of this article. One of the most successful metal bands of all time, Dave Mustaine thrilled many thousands of people when he announced in Buenos Aires during the final show of the Megadeth "farewell" tour in 2005 that the band would actually continue (anyone who wants to see that epic show, it's available to buy on DVD as the "That One Night in Buenos Aires" DVD).
Megadeth - A Guide To The Comeback Years (2004 - 2012 / Present)
Since Megadeth made their comeback from Dave Mustaine's medically induced hiatus, they've put out a very respectable four albums in around eight years, which is album production at a respectable clip and puts many other bands to shame, not least their big four contemporaries Slayer and Metallica who've managed two albums and one album and an E.P. respectively in that time (and that's if we overlook the ghastly Lulu, but that's a subject for another article). Like most albums, each of the Megadeth albums released since the comeback has its good points and bad points, so for the uninitiated or any interested parties I thought I'd try and pick out the best Megadeth songs from Megadeth round two. Obviously everyone will have their own opinions, but hopefully people find this a good starting point.
Blackmail The Universe (The System Has Failed, 2004)
As comeback songs go, there has probably been few better than this one by anyone. This song has everything, from the "this is breaking news" news report intro to the galloping drums to Mustaine's fiercely political lyrics (among his best ever in my opinion) to the guitar work all Megadeth fans know and love, this was one hell of a start to the comeback.
Kick The Chair (The System Has Failed, 2004)
Another song noteworthy for some thunderous drumming from Shawn Drover (the only member of the original comeback lineup still with the band other than Dave Mustaine), some short section, rapid fire guitar work makes this song stand out as quite different amongst some of the newer Megadeth material. Sadly this seems to be the only song from The System Has Failed to get a live airing in recent times, which is a shame as whilst it's a good song, I think some of the others mentioned (particularly Blackmail The Universe) are better.
Back In The Day (The System Has Failed, 2004)
A thrash song which is something of a throwback as it's title suggests, albeit with modern production values, Back In The Day is amongst mainstream thrash at its best. The main riff is simple yet brilliantly effective and very catchy, the solo is great and Mustaines snarling vocals are perfectly well suited to the music. A short sprint of a song, it's among my favourites of any Megadeth song since the comeback.
Sleepwalker (United Abominations, 2007)
As one will discern from this post, something MegaDave and friends have become extremely good at since returning is knowing how to open up an album. Sleepwalker is no exception, and is on a par with Blackmail The Universe if not even slightly better. A wonderful melodic guitar intro preceeds one of the heaviest, most full force Megadeth songs since the return. A photo of Mustaine and Shawn Drover performing Sleepwalker on the Priest Feast tour in 2009 can be seen below:
Washington Is Next (United Abominations, 2007)
A song which covers a wealth of topics in its lyrics, from politics to prophecies, it is also another riff fest from Mustaine and friends and in addition it features a fantastic solo, although the solo is beaten by the next song on our list. A live favourite during the United Abominations touring years, it would be nice to see this one return to the live setlists.
Burnt Ice (United Abominations, 2007)
The most rediculous solo'ing and guitar work award in this list goes to Burnt Ice, the last quarter of which has some shredding so mental that it might even make experienced guitarist fingers bleed and is definitely most of the technically complex songs of the newer Megadeth era. The rest of the song isn't bad either. "High Speed On Burnt Ice" indeed. If you love crazy solo's you will love this.
Dialectic Chaos (Endgame, 2009)
The third opening track to make this list, Dialetic Chaos is an instrumental piece but rather than being a low key intro, its a two and a half minute display of guitar playing and musicianship that will please all fans of high quality six string work. It's also an excellent mood builder as you couldn't fail to be hyped up after seeing it live and also leads perfectly into our next song.
This Day We Fight! (Endgame, 2009)
One of the darker songs on the list, returning to one of Mustaine's best lyrical themes of war, mini solo's punctuate the verses at every turn. Shawn Drover's drumming is an unrelenting pummelling reflecting the lyrics perfectly as Mustaine angrily spits out subject matter concerning secret missions and victory. The guitar work of Mustaine and the recently added Chris Broderick is top notch, even for Megadeth (a fair reflection on the fact that Mustaine regards Broderick as the best guitarist Megadeth have had since the Rust In Peace era). Another song which is short, sharp and to the point, headbanging is guaranteed.
Headcrusher (Endgame, 2009)
A song that is accompanied by a brilliantly entertaining video of Megadeth playing over a rather attractive lady kicking some serious ass in a cage fight, Headcrusher is one of Megadeth's most distinctive songs since their return and has become a firm live favourite, inciting absolute chaos during their last appearance at Donington Park during Download 2010. It is another song with all the classic Megadeth ingredients, great riffs, some superb widdly guitar work (in this case straight from the first bar), a couple of changes of pace and Mustaine amongst his snarly best. The video is included below for your viewing pleasure.
Sudden Death (Th1rt3en, 2011)
A song written to be the "final boss" song on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock will tell you something about how this song is constructed. A very complex low key solo forms the intro before the full band kick in. The vocals are also slightly lower key that on some other songs on this list which is a nice contrast, although that briefly changes with the main chorus cry of "Your Sudden Death From Above!". There's also a particularly good mini solo about half way through, followed shortly by another one which is considerably more substantial but both as effective in their own ways. Anyone trying to emulate Megadeth either by computer game or real guitar will have had a lot of fun and challenges with this one.
Public Enemy Number 1 (Th1rt3en, 2011)
The first single from Th1rt3en, Public Enemy Number 1 (or PEN1 for short) finds Megadeth on their commercial thrash best ala Headcrusher with a song about the world's most wanted fugitive. Another song guaranteed to incite circle pits and mass headbanging live, this is a great example of a fun, modern thrash song with no hugely standout moments but where everything just fits nicely together.
Never Dead (Th1rt3en, 2011)
The song with the most subtle of all beginnings on this list, a slow, marching band-esque drum beat builds this song up slowly before being joined by an eeriy sounding guitar tone before taking a violent leap into full throttle with one of the best riffs of modern Megadeth to date as the song tells a tale of living in limbo. There's nothing that you wouldn't expect with Never Dead but its immensely enjoyable all the same.
So there are twelve newer Megadeth songs to kick things off with in terms of the more recent Megadeth material. I'm sure most people will have different opinions on this list but I hope this serves as a useful guide for anyone who's either lost touch with Megadeth in recent years or hasn't yet started with them at all. Comments & feedback of any nature (that isn't trolling) are always welcome.