Megadeth - Risk Review
by Matt Hensch
A risk is defined as a colossal change or gamble that may lead to great fortune or disastrous results. If there's one band that adopts this definition the most, it's gotta be Megadeth. Back in the 1990's, Megadeth became a daring band by changing their musical style and by making metal that appealed to both the mainstream and metalheads. Everything seemed to be okay until the band decided to ditch metal and play modern rock. Back in 1999, Dave Mustaine was willing to gamble Megadeth's credibility in exchange for mainstream success, and it turned out to be a fatal error. In a band that always seemed to have luck on their side, Megadeth took a chance with "Risk" and they ended up on the losing end of their own bargain.
The overall consensus of this record is that alternative rock has taken over Megadeth. Everything that was once metal has been flushed away into darkness and Megadeth switched over to the alternative mainstream, and it really sucks. The tracks are simple and soft, there is hardly any riff changes, and all the songs have repetitive choruses and modern guitar tones. The songs are so catchy and poppy that it almost drove me insane. I can't emphasis how many times these horrible choruses are repeated! The simplistic "Crush 'Em" is probably the worst track from this standpoint and it could easily appeal to any mallcore kid because of the chorus that repeats for three fourths of the song; it's almost like the entire track is the f***ing chorus! "The Doctor Is Calling" is hardly bearable because Dave doesn't stop singing the chorus. Most of the other songs fall under this category of being way too poppy and repetitive.
It was pretty easy to tell that Megadeth was drifting away from metal on "Cryptic Writings," but at least that had some good Megadeth, vocals and solos, but all of these are gone on "Risk." The guitars are tuned in a way in which they sound identical to an alternative rock band. There is nothing enjoyable about the riffs, it's all just repetitive, radio-friendly rock that mainstream kiddies would blow their loads to. One of the most disappointing attributes of this album is the solo effort. Even though "Risk" has guitar legends like Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman, the solos are plain and unsophisticated. The solo on "Insomnia" has Friedman sluggishly playing a few notes and then simply stopping; none of the solos are epic or awesome like the leads on "Tornado Of Souls" or "Holy Wars;" they instead sound simple and heartless.
Out of all twelve tracks on "Risk," only two stand out from this pile of fecal matter. "Prince Of Darkness" is the only track from this album that sounds remotely metal. It has a nice heavy riff and Mustaine's vocals make it sound somewhat evil, yet it's just okay at best. I'm not sure why, but I find "I'll Be There" to be one of the album's better songs. It has mellow bass lines and a catchy chorus, yet it sounds somewhat different from the rest of the tracks. With that being said, all the other songs are poor pieces of garbage that have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
It seemed that hell froze over during this time. The band that was known for making classic thrash albums like "Rust In Piece" and "Peace Sells...But Whose Buying?" had finally dissolved into a sh*tty mainstream band. Even from a sellout standpoint, "Risk" backfired and it bit Megadeth right in the ass. Not only did Megadeth fans hate it, the sales they aimed so high for just plopped right down in front of them and the LP ended up being a flop. Hell, the band doesn't even do any of these songs live (you might hear "Prince Of Darkness" if you're lucky, but even that's pushing it). "Risk" fits right in with "Load" and "Roots" as one of the most disliked and scorned records of our time. Add this one to the sh*t list; this album sucks.
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