Summary

Megadeth's 14th studio outing finds the venerable metal outfit parting ways with Roadrunner Records, but not with producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Staind), who brought some much needed sonic heft to 2011's Th1rt3en. Super Collider is indeed big and beefy, but it’s awfully light on flavor. Things start out promisingly enough with the blistering "Kingmaker," a thrashy, cautionary tale about oxycontin that evokes classic Megadeth, but any residual warm and fuzzy feelings vanish abruptly upon the arrival of the surprisingly out of character title cut, a rote, state fair-ready, light beer-hoisting rocker that sounds like a late-'80s/early-'90s Tesla or AC/DC throwaway (actually, how did Megadeth release an album called Super Collider before AC/DC?), which is exactly the kind of thing that the band has not only avoided, but brazenly stood against since its 1983 inception. Also, why is there a painting of Iron Man on the back cover? Things certainly don’t improve with the limp "Burn!," an artless slab of gym metal that finds the normally erudite Dave Mustaine rhyming fire with desire, a desire that "burns hotter than hell." In fact, outside of "Kingmaker," the banjo-led Rob Zombie-meets-Mark Lanegan lament "Blackest Crow" and the outstanding "Built for War," a surprisingly agile, apocalyptic anti-anthem which was co-written with drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick, the latter of whom supplies the cut with some truly impressive riffage, Super Collider is so mired in midtempo drudgery and familiar hard rock (not thrash) tropes that it never really connects. ~ James Christopher Monger