Megadeth – The System Has Failed
2004, Sanctuary Records
1. “Blackmail the Universe”
2. “Die Dead Enough”
3. “Kick the Chair”
4. “The Scorpion”
5. “Tears in a Vial”
6. “I Know Jack”
7. “Back in the Day”
8. “Something That I’m Not”
9. “Truth Be Told”
10. “Of Mice and Men”
11. “Shadow of Deth”
12. “My Kingdom”
Dave Mustaine – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Chris Poland – Lead Guitar
Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass
Vinnie Colaiuta – Drums
Produced by Dave Mustaine and Jeff Balding
The System Has Failed is one of those situations where it was originally intended to be a solo album for Dave Mustaine but contractual obligations got in the way so it was released as a Megadeth album. This was a part of a very weird time in the band’s history. In 2002, Mustaine abruptly ended Megadeth, citing an arm injury that left him unable to play guitar. He was able to rehab himself to where he could play guitar again but instead of re-starting Megadeth, he set out to do a solo record and recruited ex-Megadeth lead guitar Chris Poland along with Jimmie Lee Sloas and Vinnie Colaiuta to do the session work. I know some people like to say Seventh Star isn’t a Black Sabbath release because that was recorded as Tony Iommi’s solo album but you don’t hear people saying that The System Has Failed is NOT Megadeth. When you’ve got Dave Mustaine playing/singing/writing a heavy metal album (not to mention original Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland contributing guitar solos) — that’s Megadeth. Unlike with Dave’s side-project MD.45, there was no attempt here, conscious or not, to not sound like Megadeth.
After the critical failure of 199’s Risk, Megadeth returned in 2001 with The World Needs A Hero, which was an honest attempt to right the ship and return Megadeth back to its metal roots. The System Has Failed is even faster and heavier and was pretty much well-received from everyone, including me. In fact, I was in love with this album when it first came out and it’s still one of my favorite Megadeth albums. It’s like Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia all rolled into one. The album went a long way to restoring some of Dave and the band’s credibility in the realm of heavy metal. The band just gets heavier and faster from here into the 2010s and it wouldn’t be until 2013’s Super Collider that Mustaine took the foot off the gas pedal a bit.
This one is still a classic Megadeth album for me. There’s so many great tracks here. “Blackmail the Universe” is a powerful way to kick off the album. Nonstop aggression and then “Die Dead Enough” sounds like Youthanasia. “The Scorpion” is another great track and I love the lyrics. Then you’ve got “Back in the Day” which is a lyrical nod to old school metal. “My Kingdom” is the only true filler here.
Of course, Megadeth was back full-force on tour with this album but the official new Megadeth line-up was Dave Mustaine along with bassist James MacDonough, drummer Shawn Drover and drummer Shawn Drover. Mustaine had tried to recruit Nick Menza, Marty Friedman, Chris Poland and David Ellefson back into the group at various points before the tour kicked off. Nick signed on but was reportedly not up to performing and sent packing just 5 days before the tour started and no deals could be reached with the other three ex-bandmates.
Highlights: “Blackmail the Universe”, “Die Dead Enough”, “Kick the Chair”, “The Scorpion”, “Back in the Day”, “Something That I’m Not”, “Of Mice and Men”