“An Apology to Dave Mustaine and Megadeth – ‘Endgame.’” - Album Review.

By Bob Zerull

Dear Mr. Mustaine,

I have been a diehard Metallica fan since my late teens. For whatever reason, I felt it was my duty as a Metallica fan to not like you or Megadeth. All I knew about you was what I saw on either VH1’s “Behind the Music,” the documentary “Some Kind of Monster,” or edited excerpts from what I’ve read in various metal magazines. Most recently I read that you thought your new album “Endgame” was better than Metallica’s “Death Magnetic.” I must admit I rolled my eyes, but I hadn’t heard “Endgame.”

I’ve been writing for this website for just over a year. I review pretty much all the heavy metal mainstream shows that come to my area. Low and behold on December 7th Megadeth will be playing near my back yard at the River Center in Davenport, IA. Not only is Megadeth playing in my area, but I have an interview with bass player James LoMenzo (Black Label Society, White Lion). Being the sell out wannabe “journalist” I am, I went out and stocked up on Megadeth music, including the new album “Endgame.”

Prior to buying these albums, the only two Megadeth songs I had ever heard were “Symphony of Destruction” and “Mechanix.” The weird part is that I liked both those songs and still never gave you or Megadeth the chance to turn me on. Like I said above, I’m a huge Metallica fan and I loved “Death Magnetic.” After doing some research, I figured out that there was more to you than just comparing “Endgame” to “Death Magnetic.” You essentially said that you like “Endgame” better, but that there are other Metallica albums you like better than other Megadeth albums. For whatever reason, that part seemed to be left off of the article I read.

I always considered Megadeth to be the poor man’s Metallica, but I was an idiot. From the second I heard the opening note of “Endgame” I knew that I was an idiot. “Endgame” kicks off with the track “Dialectic Chaos” which is just one long solo trade-off between you and Chris Broderick. The solos are so impressive yet easy on the ear. Then the album kicks right into “This Day We Fight.” What a great metal song. I can already picture the guys in the pit bouncing off the walls. It has everything I like in a song, a monster riff, great lead guitar and a tight rhythm section.

(Courtesy of Megadeth.com)

The album never lets up. I was trying to think of album highlights and I promise you I cannot narrow it down to three or four. “Endgame” is that solid. The next track slows it down a bit, but not too much. The next three songs pull together great riffs mixed with great solos. The title track “Endgame” and “The Hardest Part of Letting Go…. Sealed with a Kiss” are probably the highlights of the album if I had to choose some. I like the story behind “Endgame.” It deals with the fears that much of America had over Barack Obama creating a New World Order once he was elected into office. “The Hardest Part of Letting Go… Sealed with a Kiss” is partly a song to your wife and partly based on an Edgar Allan Poe poem called “The Cast of the Amontillado.”

I didn’t realize you were this accomplished on guitar. I remember watching a YouTube video with Dream Theater playing Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates” on your Gigantour tour. During the chorus Dream Theater would bring out the singer of one of the other bands on the tour to sing the chorus. They brought you out to play the guitar solo, which at the time I thought was weird because it doesn’t get much better than John Pettruci when it comes to guitar players. After listening to “Endgame” beginning to end at least five times now, I completely understand why they brought you out to play the guitar solo.

Which album is better in my opinion? It’s hard to say. I’m a really big fan of the Metallica formula. That said it’s still a formula. Essentially Metallica wrote “Fade to Black.” Then they rewrote it and called it “One.” Then they rewrote it again and called it “The Day That Never Comes.” I love all three songs and they are definitely their own songs, but they follow the same formula. With “Endgame” I hear a band that is just clicking on every level. The guitars are phenomenal. Musically “Endgame” definitely wins. Metallica probably wins in the radio friendlier department. Like I said above there is a formula to Metallica and the mainstream radio world is very much familiar with Metallica’s formula. When it comes to the metal world, I think Megadeth probably wins out. So what do I think? I love them both for different reasons.

I ask that you accept my apology for buying into your stereotype and believing it. Please forgive me.

Your new fan,

Bob Zerull


Bob Zerull is a frequent movie and concert goer who talks about his ventures to arenas and theaters more than any person should be allowed to do. Now, he puts them down on paper. Visit: www.cadaverchristmas.com. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.

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Ryan said...

Great review. Glad you were able to finally discover Megadeth. I'm jealous, I wish I could just be discovering them now, so many great albums to enjoy.
As much as I like them, I never thought I'd hear another good record from either Metallica or Megadeth. I just thought they were tapped creatively, but both delivered on their last releases. I have to give it to Megadeth though. Endgame sounds like it could have come out in the late eighties. It's amazing! I think I listened to it on repeat 20 times, expecting the novelty of it to wear off, but it hasn't!

Brian Shields said...

Megadeth has always been 50 times the band Metallica ever was. Metallica has been nothing since Cliff died and they ran out of Mustaine's riffs.

Abdul said...

Metallica and Megadeth were both introduced to me by a friend of mine back in the early 90s. Both are great bands but i chose Megadeth and was never disappointed.
Ever wondered why Risk was called Risk album? And why after Load... there was a Re-Load...?
There was only one Risk Album but i loved it anyway. Mustaine is a great composer and a master of lyrics that keeps u shaking and thinking.

Anonymous Prime said...

Actually, the song Endgame refers to Bush ("The ex-President signed a secret bill..."). Granted, that power carries over to the current administration.
Anyways, the album Endgame is easily the best thing I've heard in at least 10 years. As for Death Magnetic, it's a step in the right direction, but it may take another album or two to truly find their way back. After all, it took Megs 3 albums after Risk to make a real comeback.

Mike said...

I'm not sure if it was you who posted htis on the megadeth forums, but someone did. and dave replied. :D

Mikkho said...

Both are great bands, but it depends on each person's point of view and how people recieve the band's music. I say that there is something different in both bands, like they have these and they don't have these, something like that. But if you'll ask me my own opinion, Megadeth is better. Megadeth is heavier, thrashier, and faster.

Black.Dahlia said...

Excellent! I totally agree with you.
I'm a big fan of Megadeth, and I'm very proud to read this kind of reviews, because Megadeth is a true metal band, and they are in the top right now. Endgames proves it.
The deserve all recognitions, cause they are in a higher level than Metallica, and for me, they have always been.

Congratulations! you've found something great. Welcome to the house of Megadeth, if Dave forgives you =)

Brian said...

Great article. I'm glad you found a new (to you) metal band to sink your teeth into.
As a metal fan, I have to say I like Megadeth better. I think their music just has a little more "personality" than Metallica. And as much as I'd hate to correct you, as a Poe fan, I feel compelled: it's "The Cask of Amontillado", not "Cast".

julian said...

I just can't agree.

I don't know what album people have been listening to, but its just not that impressive to me. I find it jumbled, unbalanced, and all around ill-conceived. There are tons of metal records I'd rather listen to than this. It's not the most horrible thing I've ever heard, there are just so many better things to listen to.

Sorry to ruin the party, guys.

Anonymous said...

I think that Metallica and Megadeth should tour together sometime. It would be epis and it may bring the fans together.

Patrick said...

Great review man... I was once a "die hard" Metallica fan. Back in the past I loved criticizing Dave Mustaine and Megadeth calling them riff-offs to Metallica.

September 2008, Death Magnetic was about to be released I kept bragging that it will kick Megadeth's Ass! Then when I got my own copy and listened to it turned to be yet another disappointment (In my opinion). I felt like eating my own words and that marked a turning point that Metallica was nothing more but a failure to Metal fans.

Then just recently same month a year later, Megadeth released Endgame. The album simply has the feeling of "Now this is METAL!"

My point is Megadeth is way better!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of Megadeth! Seems to me you need to do more research before opening your mouth about more than just Megadeth. The New World Order has been around since before Obama was even born. Washington is Next, another great Megadeth song mentions the N.W.O. and that was written before he was in office, do some research.

emberato said...

What? So you're apologizing for having an opinion? Whatever. I am a fan of both metal bands but Metallica's the better band for one reason: Whether it's good or bad, they experiment. They try different things. Megadeth HAS ALWAYS sounded the same. Mustaine is a great composer but he never leaves his comfort zone. I just don't think the guy can handle criticism. Metallica's last four albums have been different from what came before. Endgame sounds like everything else Megadeth has ever done. Sorry, Magnetic's a better album.

Anonymous said...

quote: Megadeth HAS ALWAYS sounded the same.

So what was Youthanasia?

ajwos said...

i LOVE megadeth. but im sorry. nothing ANY metal band does really touches what metallica did in the 80's and dave mustaine even loosely says this... i hate how people feel they have to CHOOSE which band to like. they are both amazing bands... 2 of the best metal bands EVER. Dave and James are practically two parts of what essentially could be the same person if u look at it the right way. why do u think the "feud" never really had anything super negative between james and dave? people have to quit being fanboys, jealous, close minded, or whatever they are... and just take the time to listen to the amazing things each of them has done, and give their respects that way... no reason why two of the greatest metal bands ever have to fight between fans...

Anonymous said...

Awesome that you've discovered the power of Megadeth! I think Dave is one of the most influential metal guitarists of all time. He pretty much created that thrash metal sound that is imitated even up to this day. A lot of people will say so and so's band is back, well, Megadeth never left! Every album is pure, pounding, unrelenting, pummeling, barrage of riffs with a bluesy American desert rock. I must say there are some Metallica songs I enjoy, but I just prefer Megadeth. I think the clear lesson of this blog is to take the music as it comes and don't let other people's opinions dictate your own. Figure it out for yourself and let go of your biases... you might actually find something new that you'll like! My vote for best album of the year is Endgame!

Anonymous said...

PS: If you'd liked to have a more personal understanding of Dave Mustaine, check out The System has Failed. When Dave had to undergo rehabilitation for his hand, he thought Megadeth might be over, but decided to make a solo album. He realized that the songs that he wrote were pretty much Megadeth songs and restarted Megadeth. Check out the lyrics, you'll find they are very personal and will give you insight on the man that is Dave Mustaine

Anonymous said...

I think what's interesting about the whole metallica vs. megadeth thing, is the revival that has been sparked when it comes to thrash metal. People need to google these groups and see how they compare to early metallica and megadeth: groups are: evile, mantic ritual, fueled by fire, hatchet, bonded by blood, and gama bomb. These groups are very interesting and have made some really solid debut thrash albums influenced by metallica and megadeth.

moffatt said...

im sorry but i've listened to endgame a few times now, i don't see anything special about it. all the songs sound them same. quite boring tbh. Yes i do like megadeth but if you open your eyes they are nothing like metallica are. Death Magnetic is a masterpiece, just awesome i have no idea what the guy who wrote this is talking about, he is obviously not a die hard metallica fan. Any day of the year, i'd rather see metallica than megadeth.

Patrick said...

to moffatt...

Then try to listen to it well! Appreciate the lyrics not just the sound. You'll learn that ENDGAME lyrics makes more sense than any Metallica album out there.

Anonymous said...

"..Megadeth HAS ALWAYS sounded the same. "

For emberato? or whatever you're name is..
so you're telling that the "Risk" album sounded like KIMB? SFSGSW? and Peace Sells.. or any Megadeth albums?

gillin said...

megadeth is way better than metallica.....its a fact.......!!!n ne other ppl wud agree to it

David said...

Dude, I love Megadeth, but come on. Metallica's first 4 albums are the greatest thrash albums of all time. The Black album may be the best overall metal album ever. I'm not a big fan of there newer stuff, but they are the kings of thrash. Don't get me wrong, Megadeth is awesome, prolly the #2 thrash band ever, but Metallica IS thrash metal.


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