After the disgrace that was 1999's ''Risk,'' Megadeth have taken a step to recovery with the recently released ''The World Needs A Hero.'' Long time readers might recall my massive distaste for ''Risk'' to which I showed no mercy. I also said I would never buy another Megadeth album. And I haven't. It just so happened I stumbled across a website that was playing the whole album as a preview. I listened to it once. Then twice. And it wasn't half bad.

I didn't have much hope. I had heard five one minute excerpts from ''TWNAH'' a few months back and was not impressed. Dave Mustaine had promised a return to old style 'deth. However that could be 1992 or 1994. I was still interested though. I heard nothing to back these claims up in the previews. Now I see why. In the one minute clips, the heaviest parts were all avoided making me think we had another dud on our hands, which is all we have come to expect in the last seven years. But I was semi wrong. ''TWNAH'' is the band's heaviest work since 1992, but still retains the elements that have seen the band lose all their credibility since ''Youthanasia.'' It appears Dave prefers an even mixture of harder metal numbers with an even dose of hard rock fluff. So where there is a cruncher like ''Return To Hangar,'' there is a lukewarm ballad like ''Promises'' which, although acceptable, is not what is required on a ''return to form'' album. There are more razor sharp riffs this time around.

On the real media player I am listening to it on, they sound rough and grainy. I suspect this might be the quality of the player and the website itself, but I prefer it to sound this way. The riff in ''Motopsycho'' is abrasive but the chorus I could do without. ''One Thousand Times Goodbye'' musically shapes up, but the lyrics, mainly spoken, about an ex-girlfriend on the phone, remind me of some 80s hard rock band, particularly Hurricane's ''Baby Snakes.''

Mustaine really overdoes the manic spoken word bit on this album, especially on the title track, where you get the feeling he is trying to relive his past as an outspoken drug addict. The two most notable moments are the thrash sequences on ''Recipe For HateŠWarhorse'' and ''Return To Hangar.'' The last time Megadeth tried a thrasher or two was on 97's ''Cryptic Writings'' with the disgustingly weedy ''Disintegrators'' and ''FFF.''

Although hardly full-fledged thrashers, the thrash breakdowns in these two songs are forceful. The last minute and a half of ''Return'' contains some shredding riffs, easily putting Slayer to shame. And that's saying something. The collision of these riffs and some sharp drumming make this and ''Warhorse,'' Megadeth's heaviest moment since ''Hangar 18'' itself back in 1990.

Actually the majority of the songs display signs of real aggression and some tough moments. It is hard to find fault with ''Disconnect,'' ''Burning Bridges,'' ''When'' and ''Dread And The Fugitive Mind.''

To the band's credit ''THWNAH'' hit number 16 in its first week on the Billboard 200, although it can be expected to fall rapidly -- Megadeth's commercial heyday peaking nearly five years back. Where the band will go now is anybody's guess. They could continue to put albums out like this forever and nobody would really care. Hardcore fans are still alienated by the recent past and scoff at anything the band does. Newer fans lost interest a while back. Hence, Risk's dismal failure. It is only the fans who still hope for a blinding return to full out thrash that will remain loyal. These are not the hardcore fans, more the thrash rejects rom the 80s. The ones who still listen to Slayer. The ones who put them up there in the first place. But right now ''TWNAH'' is a fine effort. Let's face it, Megadeth aren't going to get any heavier as they get older so we should appreciate this while we can. After all it blew me away from time to time and considering they haven't done that in almost a decade, I think Megadeth has done something right.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online May 30, 2001

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